WARNING: The following contains spoilers for the story “A Carol of Bats” from Batman: Urban Legends #10, now on sale
Batman has always been a grim figure — with even the happiest versions of the character being driven by immense loss to dedicate his life to an endless mission. This commitment also has been having an effect on Batman’s closest allies — and could end up driving them further apart.
In “A Carol of Bats” from Batman: Urban Legends #10 by Meghan Fitzmartin, Alberto Albuquerque Jimenez, Nick Filardi, and Pat Brousseau, Robin discovers that Nightwing has given up hope on Bruce Wayne ever becoming a healthier person — suggesting that Batman’s dour view of himself and the world might end up fracturing the Bat-Family.
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“A Carol of Bats” focuses on Tim Drake and his bond with Batman. Despite his recent victories, Batman has returned to his typically dour view of the world. Tim approaches Nightwing to seek his advice on dragging Bruce back into a more positive place, but the original Robin refuses to engage Bruce on that level. As he explains to Tim, Nightwing has tried everything to bring Bruce back from the edge multiple times. His mission brings him back to that dark place over and over again. No matter what the Bat-Family does, they can’t force Bruce to be happy on a permanent basis. Nightwing has accepted that he’ll never be able to permanently change Bruce and isn’t willing to sacrifice his own happiness on a doomed cause.
Although Nightwing reaches out to Batman and the Dark Knight helps affirm his bond with Drake, it’s clear that Batman will never truly escape his grim view of the world — and that even with the Bat-Family, he’ll always be partly alone on that front. It’s a heartbreaking thing for Tim to accept, and the end of the story — while an optimistic bonding moment for the pair — still suggests Bruce hasn’t truly escaped the grim view of the world that concerned Tim in the first place. Batman has had plenty of victories over the years, most recently during “Fear State.” But like Gotham, the demons that plague the Dark Knight will never truly leave him be. There will always be a new threat, a new crisis, a new problem for Batman to solve.
It’s the dark side of Batman’s mission to become a symbol who can fight a neverending battle against crime and corruption: the battle is neverending, and the ideals of Batman have cost whatever chance at true peace Bruce Wayne could have ever known. It’s one of the longstanding differences between Batman and Nightwing, as Dick Grayson has learned to move past the loss of his family and accept a better place in the world — while Bruce Wayne can never truly let go of his mission, regardless of the personal cost. It’s also quietly another blow to their long-standing relationship. Batman and Nightwings’ differences have become more overt since Nightwing’s restoration following his period as Ric Grayson — with the pair even debating the purpose of their mission as superheroes.
Nightwing revealing that he’s more or less given up on making Batman a better person is a major blow to the cornerstone of the Bat-Family, suggesting that even the original Robin isn’t sure if there’s any hope for the Dark Knight to ever escape the darkest aspects of his mission. Considering the issues already present between them and their differing views on their similar mission, it could be an even darker portent of future conflicts to come — if the Bat-Family is already this divided in the aftermath of a major victory, then a future conflict could further drive them apart. While it might just be a minor holiday story on the outside, “A Carol of Bats” could be another step towards a genuine rift between the Bat-Family over their role in Gotham and their duties to one another.
from Ultimate Comic Blog https://ift.tt/3GOKfF7