With Bruce Wayne’s exit (and now trapped in the past – paging Booster Gold) there’s a Bat-shaped hole in Gotham City, and one thing that’s always been true in the Bat-verse, is that without Batman things go downhill in Gotham fast.
In the various bat-titles we’ve already started to see the fallout, with Robin and Nightwing trying to keep a lid on things during RIP and now with Bruce gone, DC once again is lining up a successor.
But who should it be? Well, it goes without saying that its got to be either Dick or Tim as far as I’m concerned. Back in the 90s, Knightfall came under heavy criticism for the perceived slight to Dick Grayson by Bruce choosing Jean Paul Valley to replace him (of course, that was necessary for the story they had planned) and I can’t see DC doing the same thing twice. Its got to be either Dick or Tim.
I’d say I still think Tim’s a bit young for the role. In my ideal world, Dick will become Batman (once again, having already taken on the role during the Prodigal), with Tim taking over Dick’s role as Nightwing. However going by the various interviews etc floating around, I’m thinking the Nightwing identity is going to be found in the Superman titles exclusively, rather than having two Nightwings running around. That being the case, I can see Tim ending up in the (over-hyped and Countdown-damaged) Red Robin suit instead.
But who would be Robin in this scenario? Well, I’d like to see Dick and Tim take Damian under their wings, out of respect for Bruce, with Damian taking up the Robin role (something he was keen to do in Batman and son, seeing it as his birthright). Damian would probably be pretty reluctant and rebel against them trying to look out for him, but it could work.
However, the teaser image shows Damian holding a bandage that’s wrapped around the leg of someone who looks like Bruce. Most people are taking it as granted that this is Hush (having recently had plastic surgery so he looks like Bruce Wayne), so this leaves open the possibility that Tim will retain his Robin identity, while Damian works alongside Hush to go after his birthright in another way (Wayne Enterprises for a start). I can see Damian attempting to undermine Dick and Tim’s attempts to live up to Bruce’s legacy, as I mentioned before Damian sees that legacy as rightly his, and being able to block anyone else from Bruce’s holdings would be a big blow to them.
About the only real problem I’ve got with this direction is that both the Nightwing and Robin solo books had finally found their feet after floundering around for several years. We know that whatever the outcome of Battle for the Cowl is, that its ultimately going to be temporary. So I just hope DC haven’t torpedoed those two books for this event.
I’m definitely going to be selective in what titles I pick up for this. The 3 issue mini that launches the new direction I’ll be picking up, but most of the Battle for the Cowl one-shots I suspect I’ll skip (especially with me probably still picking up a couple of the New Krypton Superman titles). Once Battle for the Cowl is over, I’m unsure what books I’ll continue to pick up. Going by the NYCC announcements, the line of Bat-books is going to look radically different, so I’ll wait and see what the solicits look like I think. Affecting this could well be the use of the Birds of Prey characters, as I’ve always had a soft spot for them. A book with Huntress in it is probably something I’m going to be interested in.