And so, Dick Grayson Appreciation Week draws to close. I spent a good chunk of the week rereading Prodigal, Batman & Robin: Reborn and finally last night, Batman: The Black Mirror.
I mentioned way back a million years ago, or on Monday, that Dick’s time in the cowl was among my favorites and was what cemented him as my favorite character.
After slogging through it, I can’t really apply that belief the Prodigal anymore. It comes on the tail end of Knightfall, which I really like when I first read it, but is so long. The dynamics Prodigal are still fun however, even if it is so hopelessly 90s. It presents the Dick/Tim bromance in a fashion that’s frankly completely adorable, and it has some of my favorite Tim moments ever.
Basically his astonishment at Dick’s abilities to function as a normal human by performing basic household chores (He cooks! He does laundry! He can use a broom!) is the single most adorable thing in the history of bored genius rich kids who decide to fight crime instead of buy hotels and psychologically manipulate their girlfriends. (I’m just saying that if he lived a world with Batman, there’s like an 85% chance Chuck Bass would have been a Robin…or possibly a villain called, “The Scarf…”) While this arc does give Dick a nice little redemption story by allowing him to beat Two Face, it simply way too of it’s moment to really grab me.
Also, I’m sorry. That hair was a huge mistake.
But the next time it happened was in Battle For The Cowl, which I didn’t reread because I’ve already read it 17 times, just about. It’s spectacularly great, but I just didn’t have it in me to tackle it again, and frankly, I just really wanted to move on to Batman & Robin, because in case I haven’t made it clear, it’s my absolute favorite comic, ever, ever, ever!
If watching Tim and Dick man flirt is great, it’s nothing compared to watching him and Damian give one another a hard time. (Though we’ll get back to that dynamic later with Black Mirror) They fight new villain Professor Pyg, almost get killed by Jason a whole bunch, although it takes them a little too long to figure out that it’s him. And given the snarky nature of the book, I’m always shocked that Morrison didn’t just have Dick flat out say, “Homicide is no way to express your middle child syndrome Jay. Can’t you just start fights by being passive aggressive at Thanksgiving like a normal person?” They bring back an evil zombie version of Bruce, who it talks like Bizarro if Bizarro was super drunk, Dick hits on Kate Kane. (It’s funny, cause she’s a lesbian!) Talia mind controls Damian to kill Dick and calls him “Circus Boy.”
Then Bruce comes back, and Batman Incorporated starts, and I don’t want to think about that, because then Damian dies and I get sad.
But then there’s The Black Mirror.
There is just about nothing wrong with this story, which, I did not realize was the beginning of Scott Snyder’s run on Batman. Everything about The Black Mirror is fantastic, from the paranoia the Dick faces due to being drugged, the seemless integration of the Gordon family into the story. The truly brilliant Dick and Tim and Dick and Alfred beats, Barbara’s fight back against her brother, that moment where Dick holds her and promises her that everything is going to be OK…
Sorry, fell a little deeply into fangirling there.
It’s awesome, is what I’m saying. It feels like a classic Batman and isn’t at all held back by the fact that it didn’t feature Bruce Wayne in the lead. Not even Beyond for all of it’s brilliance ever managed that. Terry is always tied to Bruce, both figuratively and often literally. This is a new Batman, and Bruce isn’t even a presence in these books. Dick does things his own way, and it’s always a lot of fun.
To that, Prodigal fails. Bruce’s shadow is everywhere in that story, but that’s sort of the point.
Thanks for coming on the ride with me this week. We had fun right? And so many things happened this week that I didn’t even get to comment on. So, looking forward to next week, where we will talk about new Harry Potter details, Mockingjay teasers and how the new Batgirl is already being compared to Veronica Mars…
Oh, and also, if issue #1 was any indication, Grayson is going to be giving me a lot more to fangirl over as it unfolds.