Batman’s Latest Mission Proves What Nightwing Does Better Than Him
Nightwing has proven to be surprisingly better than Batman when it comes to employing a very specific set of skills.
WARNING: The following article contains spoilers for Legends of the Dark Knight #15 by Che Grayson, Belen Ortega, Alejandro Sanchez, Aditya Bidikar, on sale now.
A mission to stop a new gang of thieves operating in Gotham City forced Batman to find new targets when it became apparent that the thieves were acting, not out of malice or greed, but simply to survive. His decision to let their young leader go was one of sympathy and an attempt to find true justice. But in the process it reveals just how far Batman is willing to go to help those in need. He helps, but not as much as he could. This isn’t done out of apathy, but because it’s necessary to maintain the image he has carefully cultivated. His original partner, Dick Grayson aka Nightwing, has proven to be much better than his mentor when it comes to going above and beyond to help those in need.
A new group calling themselves the Ghost Dogs had been committing various heists from jewelers across the city. They were quick and professional, leaving virtually no trace and making it nearly impossible to catch them. However, Batman is not like most detectives. He caught most of the perpetrators after their latest heist before pursuing their leader. But he was stunned to discover that the thief, Ghost, was a teenager still in high school.
Ghost explained that she and a number of others had been left homeless thanks to their landlords intentionally setting fire to their buildings in an effort to collect the insurance money. Once they had been forced into homelessness, Ghost and her crew became thieves in order to survive. Batman had her return the jewels she stole, but let her return to her people, with a rather pricey necklace that he let her believe he didn’t know about. He then directed Gordon’s attention away from the Ghost Dogs and on to the jewelers.
While Batman showed kindness and sympathy to the young thief, he didn’t do as much as he could have. While he let Ghost off the hook and began focusing his efforts on the true cause of her suffering, he didn’t address the real problem that she and the others were facing. Although the Dark Knight’s actions (or lack thereof) can be ascribed to his need to maintain his fearsome image, it does not change the fact.
In contrast, Batman’s original partner has mastered the art of helping people through more than just his detective work and fists. In Nightwing #79 by Tom Taylor, Bruno Redondo, and Wes Abbott, Dick Grayson inherited a substantial amount of money, but had no idea what to do with it. That changed when he encountered a homeless family asking for change. Inspiration struck and he invited not only them, but all of their friends who needed a meal to a local pizzeria for a big dinner.
It was kind and gracious and it didn’t even require a mask. It also highlights how Bruce Wayne could help the people of Gotham more effectively, and how much different he and his former partner really are. Nightwing has always been about fostering strong ties to his community in an effort to better serve. He understands that he can’t do everything alone, so he tries to empower the people he protects. Batman is more brutal, preferring to maintain the image of the frightening, yet emotionally distant protector of the city. It isn’t a particularly bad approach, but it is far less personal and endearing to the city he loves.
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