Nightwing has proven to be surprisingly better than Batman when it comes to employing a very specific set of abilities.
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 band of robbers operating in Gotham City forced Batman to find new targets when it became clear that the robbers were acting, not out of malice or greed, but simply to survive. His decision to let his young leader go was one of sympathy and an attempt to find true justice. But in the process, he reveals how far Batman is willing to go to help those in need. It helps, but not as much as it could. This is not done out of apathy, but because it is necessary to maintain the image that you have cultivated with care. His original partner, Dick Grayson, aka Nightwing, has proven to be far better than his mentor when it comes to doing whatever he can to help those in need.
A new group calling themselves the Ghost Dogs had been committing several jeweler heists across the city. They were fast and professional, leaving virtually no trace and making it almost impossible to catch them. However, Batman is not like most detectives. He caught most of the perpetrators after his last robbery before going after his leader. But he was shocked to find out that the thief, Ghost, was a teenager still in high school.
Ghost explained that she and others had been made homeless after their owners intentionally set their buildings on fire in an effort to collect insurance money. Once forced to be homeless, Ghost and his team turned into thieves in order to survive. Batman made her return the jewelry she stole, but he let her return to her people, with a rather expensive necklace that he made her believe she did not know. Then he turned Gordon’s attention away from the ghost dogs and onto the jewelers.
While Batman showed kindness and sympathy towards the young thief, he didn’t do his best. While she let Ghost out of trouble and began to focus her efforts on the true cause of her suffering, she did not address the real issue that she and the others were facing. Although the Dark Knight’s actions (or lack thereof) can be attributed to his need to maintain his fearsome image, it does not change the fact.
Rather, Batman’s original partner has mastered the art of helping people through more than just his detective work and his fists. On At night # 79 From Tom Taylor, Bruno Redondo, and Wes Abbott, Dick Grayson inherited a substantial amount of money, but he had no idea what to do with it. That changed when he encountered a homeless family asking for a change. Inspiration struck and he invited not just them, but all his friends who needed a meal to a local pizzeria for a great dinner.
He was kind and courteous and didn’t even require a mask. It also highlights how Bruce Wayne could help the people of Gotham more effectively and how different he and his former partner are. Nightwing has always tried to foster strong ties to its community in an effort to serve better. He understands that he cannot do everything alone, so he tries to empower the people he protects. Batman is more brutal and prefers to maintain the image of the terrifying, but emotionally distant protector of the city. It’s not a particularly bad approach, but it’s a lot less personal and appealing to the city you love.
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