In his Batman run, Grant Morrison three times had other people quote Bruce Wayne saying "The victory lies in the preparation." (Wingman quoted that once, Damian -- not verbatim -- twice.) Then, as RIP drew to a finish, when we saw Bruce in two losing situations at once, it turned out that he'd already gotten out of them with a plan that was in action. (He'd switched cups with the monk; he'd taken a number of countermeasures against the Black Glove.) Given this way Morrison handled the last Batman, with what similarities and contrasts is he handling the current one? At the end of RIP, Nightwing's entrance into the final fight is greeted by Bruce with "Nightwing. Nicely timed. You never let me down, did you?" That was right after he had been one moment away from a lobotomy when he snapped the straps holding him down and blocked Le Bossu's pick which was en route to his forehead. Dick's stint as Batman starts with shortcomings, the encounter in the police station going somewhat poorly in #2. Alfred's pep talk to Dick concludes with "Everyone's waiting for the hero to take the stage." And when he's next in action in #3, Dick arrives to save Damian at the moment that Pyg has a club hoisted in the air, ready to bring it down. This saves Damian's life. Later, Dick and Damian get dressed in thirty seconds before the webcam in the Red Hood's headquarters activates. They storm Flamingo a moment before he would have shot Jason Todd. As the Evil Clone Batman has flung Damian from the top of their penthouse, Dick arrives from a transatlantic crossing to catch him mid-air, announcing "With me, it's all in the timing." Explaining the rampage of the clone, he says "I don't like to plan. I work without a net. I'm not Bruce." And now, in #10, he happens to fall through the rose trapdoor just as Damian's sword is about to lop off his head. (It may be that the taking of the sword is exactly what opened the trapdoor; Dick had told Damian to look for a mechanism.) Timing isn't Dick's only distinctive trait. His gymnastic ability has been credited since his origin in Detective #38. He's also funnier (saying "Wupps!" when he's trying to convince Toad that he might be dropped) and wears his heart on his sleeve, asking Damian "Aren't you just a little bit excited?" This is a Dick Grayson who's hard not to love -- a ten-year-old who had fun being Robin, and is still having fun as Batman. In a Newsarama interview coming at the beginning of Morrison's run, he bemoaned the "grimness" that Batman had gotten into and said that the need to get him out of it was "urgent". Anyone reading that in 2006 must have expected that somehow Bruce would end up less grim -- and maybe that's what's coming after The Return of Bruce Wayne -- but in the short run, he's accomplished it quite easily by making Dick Grayson the man behind the bat-mask. But where are things going? As noted in another post, Batman #666 shows a future without Dick Grayson, one in which Barbara Gordon blames Damian for the death of "a good friend". Grant Morrison has stated that #666 will "form the basis for the final three-issue arc of year one of Batman and Robin". The length of the first "year" has been padded out to sixteen issues, so we don't know which issues that corresponds to now, but definitely to some part of the next five issues. Morrison further said that #666 fits in with Batman and Robin "considerably". #666 moreover refers to Batman dying. Right now, Dick is Batman. The pattern established by Morrison with Bruce ("preparation") is nothing short of a declaration that Dick's primary attribute ("timing") is going to carry the day in the climactic battle. Dick's other distinguishing attributes will probably shine through, too -- while Bruce was resolute, Dick's light-heartedness has to be part of the finale. We also know that Hurt is back to try what he tried before. And so, given that Hurt's many attacks on Bruce tried to pry apart his psyche, it's worth looking at Batman and Robin in the same light: a sinister circus (Dick's boyhood gone wrong), Jason Todd (the boy Bruce chose to replace him), and a sinister version of Bruce himself -- in three story arcs, three nightmare versions of his life so far. And yet, Dick seems not even a sliver damaged by the experiences. Hurt tried to break Bruce and failed because Bruce is so strong. But if he's trying to break Dick Grayson, he'll fail even more surely because Dick's so loose. He's not only unbroken -- he's still cracking jokes. I hope we get to see Hurt try to break Dick -- it's only going to end up funny. But timing is suddenly what's called for. While Dick's trying to decode the mysteries of Wayne Manor, a task that you would think might sit back and allow a superhero to be patient, all hell is breaking loose. Damian is no longer trustworthy. In the final pages of #10, the communication link with Alfred has failed. Talia is sending her "executioner" after Dick, and "starts calling in favors" with other villains to get him. El Penitente's attack squad has followed Oberon Sexton to the Wayne cemetery, which is suddenly, based on things Alfred is trying to tell Dick, full of added significance. The acrobat is going to have to start to perform now.