Why Nightwing Didn’t Take Over as Batman After Bane ‘Broke the Bat’


Despite Batman agreeing that someone needed to fill in for him after his back was broken by Bane, Bruce somehow didn’t ask Nightwing to step up. However, a private moment between Bruce and Tim Drake reveals the sad reason why.

In the most humbling moment of the Dark Knight’s career, Batman was severely injured after a face-to-face confrontation with the hulking, yet incredibly calculating threat known as Bane. After deducing the identity of Gotham’s Caped Crusader, Bane orchestrated a plan to wear the hero down mentally and physically. To exhaust Bruce, Bane frees the worst of Batman’s rogues gallery from Arkham Asylum. After expending his energy putting his villains away, Batman is forced to fight Bane directly in the Batcave, where the villain easily defeats him. With a devastating blow to Bruce’s back, Bane did something no other enemy had done and put Batman out of commission.

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And once the bat was broken, Bruce had to make the call for someone else to don the cape and cowl. But strangely enough, he didn’t ask one of his oldest crime-fighting partners, Dick Grayson, aka Nightwing. The reason why is explained in Batman #498 by Doug Moench and Jim Aparo. Batman’s back has just been broken by Bane, and the hero is laid up in Wayne Manor recovering from his devastating failure. As the Bat-Family deals with the fallout of Bruce’s injury, Bane is tightening his hold on Gotham in the wake of his victory. After having Bruce looked at by a medical professional, the gravity of his situation begins to sink in. Tim talks with Bruce about allowing someone else to fill in as Batman, to which Bruce agrees. However, when Tim suggests Nightwing, Bruce declines, saying Dick has his own life to lead.

Granted, Nightwing does come around to fill in for Batman after Azrael cracks under the pressure of replacing Bruce. And oddly enough, despite being his own hero, Dick later stepped up to become Batman on his own volition after Bruce was presumed dead after Final Crisis. But Batman’s passing over Dick may be less of a snub and more of a desire to protect his son from a similar fate.

Despite being the original Batman and Robin team, Bruce and Dick haven’t always seen eye to eye. And around the time of the “Knightfall” story arc, there was a bit of tension in their relationship. However, no matter what hard feelings they had, Batman wasn’t going to put Nightwing in danger by asking him to put on the Batsuit. Bruce knew that someone like Dick would absolutely try to fight Bane and that the villain could critically injure or even kill Nightwing. It seems that Bruce’s near-death experience opened his eyes to what was important, and he couldn’t risk his children going up against a monster like Bane. While it might seem like Batman passed over Dick, he did it in order to keep Nightwing safe from Bane.

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