Has there been much of a backlash about Dick taking up the mantle of Batman again?
I haven't seen any backlash, to be honest.
Some of that could be situational. There wasn't a backlash against Dick at the time of Prodigal
, per se, but there was the sense of, "A new Batman? Again?" We'd just had Bruce broken, Jean-Paul in his new costume, Jean-Paul's descent into madness, Bruce coming back, and suddenly Dick is shoved into the costume. Plus, we knew at the time that Bruce was, eventually, coming back; not just because he was alive and well, but because Jean-Paul had been a short-term Batman.
I realize, in retrospect, that Jean-Paul was never meant to be a permanent Batman, but that wasn't the way it was pitched to the audience. Reading Knightfall
at the time, it also felt like the writers were going out of their way to sabotage Jean-Paul. (Denny O'Neil says that was deliberate; readers weren't supposed
to like Jean-Paul as Batman. The problem, of course, is that we had a good eight or nine months of three books starring a character we're supposed to hate, which makes for a genuinely unpleasant reading experience.) After that experience, any backlash against Dick as Batman was to be expected; the well had already been poisoned, and the poisoning was still too recent.
Now, it's a lot different. Bruce is, from all appearances, out of the picture entirely. (What Tim believes in Red Robin
is the only crack in that facade, and even then, Tim's belief doesn't make a hell of a lot of sense.) DC is making a real investment in Dick-as-Batman, with two new series launches (though I think of Streets of Gotham
as a continuation of Dini/Nguyen's Detective
, just under a different name), plus adding Dick to the new Justice League line-up. There seems to be a real weight behind the idea that this new status quo
is going to last.
Will it last? Yes, I have no doubt that Bruce Wayne will be back. And he may even suit up in the cape and cowl from time to time. But unless Dick creates a fourth
identity for himself (after Robin, then Nightwing, and finally Batman) or Dick is killed or maimed, I think it's unlikely that Dick will cease to be the Caped Crusader. Given that this is all part of Morrison's masterplan, and given Morrison's penchant for drawing on obscure Silver Age continuity, I could see Morrison cementing the legacy idea that was floated in Silver Age Batman stories in the present day. It's strange that in an era were Geoff Johns has scrapped the legacy nature of The Flash and Green Lantern by restoring the Silver Age, that Morrison could restore the legacy nature of Batman by, likewise, mining the Silver Age.