Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Why Grant, why?

I may have mentioned before that I either love or hate Grant Morrison's work.

I might even have commented that I'm not a big fan of his recent Batman work because I don't think he shows Dick Grayson the respect that he's due.

Well I've just finished rereading the year plus long run he's had on Batman And Robin and I can now say without any doubt in my voice that I absolutely HATE his work on Dick Grayson. Everything about the way that he writes Dick seems meant to underscore the differences in Dick and Bruce (he does use Damien to reflect Bruce - so we aren't deprived of that aspect of the book) and completely neglects that Dick would understand how important it is that people not be so easily able to distinguish the difference between himself and Bruce.

Let's agree that the only reason for anyone to put on the cowl after Bruce's death is because the legend is so much more important than the man. If you're not going to pretend to be Bruce, and to send the message to anyone and everyone that Batman is alive and continuing his battle with crime, then there isn't any point in becoming Batman. You simply remain Nightwing, or Robin or whomever else you are, and fill the void as best you can. Once you decide that necessity demands that you assume the mantle, then everything you do centers around making sure the illusion in perfect.

Grant's writing feels too much like Dick is comfortable being different (while in costume) from Bruce. I don't care if it's a world class detective like Jim Gordon or if it's an obsessive maniac like Two-Face or The Joker, there is no excuse for Dick Grayson to be acting in any manner different than the one he nows Bruce would act in. Yet there he is, book in and book out, acting like a rank amateur when it comes to imitating the man that he knows better than anyone else alive (save, perhaps, Alfred.) Grant is either calling Dick incompetent, or stupid, and I'm not sure which it is.

I just know that I don't like it at all.


Rude39 said...

I would argue that, to some extent, Dick has to be different to Bruce. They're different people, despite having so much in common. Without having read any of it, I can say that how Dick would react to a situation is not exactly how Bruce would.

Just look at their dispositions, Dick is far more optimistic than Bruce is, in most portrayals. Clearly, some of who Dick is has to show through in the writing, or he just becomes a proxy with no real distinction between himself and Bruce, which would devalue the both of them.

Then again, I haven't read it, so I could be completely off base.

The 4th Man said...

I think the important distinction is that I'm not asking for Dick to act like Bruce, I'm asking for Batman to act like Batman.

The writing, in my opinion, should distinguish between the two in the internal challenges of being like Bruce, despite being against Dick's nature. There is also ample time to use Dick as himself when out of costume or interacting with Damian or Alfred.

But once Dick puts on the cowl, to have him act in any way other than exactly like Bruce did under the cowl is to call him either incapable, or stupid. The whole point of becoming Batman was to make sure nobody knew Bruce had died. If you're going to act like Robin playing dress-up, that makes putting on the cowl pointless.

I think Grant blew it on this.

Dick's better than this. If he didn't want anyone to know the difference (and he wouldn't - that's the point) then nobody would know.