Dick Grayson is one of the most optimistic DC characters, a trait that was challenged when confronted by Gotama’s dark belly.
Dick Grayson is very different from Bruce Wayne: he is optimistic, casual and very kind. Opposed to a dark city like Gotham, Nightwing shines like a lighthouse.
When Grayson faced Gotham City’s darkest corners, his brilliant optimism was significantly challenged.
Detective comics # 871-881, Scott Snyder, Jock and Francesco Francavilla investigated Dick Grayson as Batman. In fact, when Bruce Wayne recruited Batman Incorporated, Dick took over the Dark Knight’s cloak. These eleven editions saw Dick solve some of the darkest cases of his career. Dick’s torturous adventures began with a three-part arc called the “Black Mirror”. During this story, the rich Gotamites got hold of dangerous accessories for super-villains.
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Dick found the equipment back to the “Dealer,” a criminal who auctioned super-villain devices to the highest bidder. Uncovering one of the auctions, Grayson saw how perverted the people of Gotham could be, proudly possessing sinister parts of Gotham’s history. Batman’s veil was later blown off and then spilled with fear. Angry citizens chased after Grayson, who saw them all as wild animals, barely saving his life.
Eventually, however, Batman overcame his fear and confronted the Merchant who transformed into a giant monster. As Dick won the fight, the dealer disappeared when his plane crashed. The horrible nature of this case shook Grayson to the core. Later, when Batman and Tim Drake faced a gang of poachers, Grayson continued to suffer the effects of fear, pointing out how deeply his last case affected him.
In the next port, the “Hungry City,” a killer whale remained on the floor of a prominent bank. It is shocking that a dead body was found inside the whale. This corpse belonged to Sonia Zucco’s assistant. Sonia was the daughter of Tony Zucco, the man who killed Dick’s parents. While Batman was chasing criminals like Roadrunner and Tiger Sharks, this case was also very personal for him. Grayson’s history left him uncertain about Zucco’s true loyalty. As it turns out, Sonia deliberately got Batman to follow the Traveler, even though Tiger Shark was the real culprit of the whole case. Zucco intended to eliminate both enemies from Batman, obstructing justice in the process.
At the same time, Commissioner Gordon dealt with the return of his son James Gordon Jr. Although James was seemingly reformed, the dark history left Gordon largely uncertain. James had very great sociopathic tendencies which made him very young in murder. Eventually, it is revealed that James tortures people and turns his antipsychotics to make him even more psychotic than ever. James intended to use this drug to infect an infant food facility.
The parallel lines of Dick Grayson and Commissioner Gordon eventually merged as the two heroes faced some of James ’most horrific crimes. Both Grayson and Gordon worked to bring hope to the dark city, despite everything they saw. For example, Gordon’s ex-wife Barbara was also attacked, seemingly by the Joker. Still, Grayson revealed to his shock that James had gone after his own mother.
Yet when James kidnapped Barbara Gordon, called Oracle, Batman and Commissioner Gordon set out to stop him. James revealed that he knew Dick’s secret identity and that he had worked with The Dealer to shake Dick’s hope and empathy for others. Batman, however, did not waver, for he and Gordon stopped James and saved Barbara.
Despite all the adversity and darkness he endured, Dick remained hoping for Gotham’s future. After being spilled by terrible gas, thrown into a car compactor, kept in an underwater aquarium and attacked by a childhood friend, Grayson continued to struggle to protect the people he loved, including Barbara. While both Bruce Wayne and Dick Grayson’s Batman are fighting for Gotham, Grayson’s Batman was a much more empathetic, caring fighter. This empathy is illustrated by the profound effect of Gotham’s darkness on Grayson. Bruce may not be bothered by some of these heinous crimes, but Dick’s inherent faith in others is incredibly strong, making him sensitive to some of Gotham’s darker aspects.
Yet Grayson’s relationship with other people is also his greatest strength. Throughout the story, Dick worked step-by-step with Commissioner Gordon, keeping Jim up to date so they could work on their cases. That came in especially handy when Dick and Gordon confronted James Jr. at the end of the story. Dick’s Batman also worked with Oracle and Tim Drake, relying on them in a way that Bruce otherwise wouldn’t.
Even after facing some of Gotham’s darkest corners, Dick Grayson remained a hopeful, empathetic Batman.
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