Batman: Prodigal

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If you could say one nice thing about the whole mega crossover extravaganza event called ‘Knightfall’, ‘Knightquest’ and ‘KnightsEnd’ – it’s that it had a monumental epilogue that every Batman fan (I think) wanted to see: Dick Grayson stepping up and putting on the cape and cowl to become Batman.

I really like this cover, and it's companion cover which comes up next

I really like this cover, and it's companion cover which comes up next

I love how Dick Grayson as Batman is posed, and then Tim Drake as Robin is in the same basic pose/position on a different cover

I love how Dick Grayson as Batman is posed, and then Tim Drake as Robin is in the same basic pose/position on a different cover

Prodigal refers to ‘prodigal son’, which Dick surely is. He was the first, the best. When Batman was broken, it should’ve been him that put on the cape and cowl and took over protecting Gotham. That it wasn’t Dick, was a travesty and I think Bruce/Batman learned a lesson.  He probably didn’t say that he learned a lesson, probably didn’t even acknowledge it except by handing the city and the outfit over to Dick, which spoke volumes.

Above I have two of my favorite covers from this whole mega-series thing (Check out the captions and note that the comic covers also have the two sides of Two-Face, who is part of both Dick and Tim’s background and origin stories).  Several of the covers were done this way – in the first we have characters posed a certain way, then there’s a followup where different characters are posed in the same way later on.  Case in point – In Knightfall, Bane looms over a beaten Batman in the Batcave, with bats flittering around in the background:

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Later, in Knightquest: The Crusade, the new Batman takes a similar, looming pose over the beaten Robin:

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…but I digress.

In Prodigal, we see a return to the past: Batman and Robin, together again, solving crimes, doing detective work. Refreshing after the mess created by Jean-Paul Valley’s tenure in the outfit.

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Together with Tim as Robin, Dick works to fix the relationship between Batman and Commissioner Gordon (it’s a start, but a slow one and Gordon realizes that he is talking to a third man behind the mask, which he does not care for in the least), between Batman and Gotham (the city is a mess and normal people are just as afraid of Batman following Valley’s more brutal reign as the criminals) and to finish bringing some of the escapees from Arkham back to their cells.

Overall, I liked this so much more than the whole Jean-Paul Valley/Azrael story.  Dick Grayson is a favorite character of mine because he didn’t do what was expected of him and, more importantly, because he grew up. I love it when they actually do an arc on a character, where we can watch them not only grow, but GROW, if you know what I mean. Dick went from ‘ward’ to full grown man – sure, it took forever, but it did happen.

He and Bruce butted heads because, as Dick grew older, he needed to become his own man and start figuring things out forhimself, make his own decisions and his own mistakes.  Eventually, this lead to his taking off the Robin outfit in favor of the Nightwing costume.  He reinvented himself, went his own way.  Really, it had to happen because he and Bruce were so alike – there had to be a clash, had to be a moment where one or the other said enough was enough.

Prodigal ushered in a return of ‘classic’ Batman stories featuring Batman and Robin, and set the stage for the return of Bruce Wayne as Batman following the NEXT mega-crossover event extravaganze called ‘Zero Hour’ – which I don’t know that I’m going to talk about right now.

Instead, I’m going to tackle another favorite of mine – The Green Lantern.  That’ll be Sunday, so be sure to stop by and check it out.

~P