“I’ll need a time traveler, a memory restoring machine, and a sandwich because I missed lunch.”

Ever since posting that Comicstorian commentary on Tim Drake being redundant as part of a series of videos against the “family” style team, and my response that it’s the writers that are the problem, I’ve been thinking about just how each member of the Batman Family actually fits among the Gotham City protectors. I don’t believe that anyone needs to be redundant among the family. Namely because I don’t believe Batman needs to, or even can, do it all alone. With modern writers trying to blow up Gotham City every four issues because they’re infected with Eventitis and needs every story to be epic like a movie instead of continuous but episodic like a TV show, you’d think the lone wolf who has been on four hero teams at the same time may want a little back-up. Some of his cases even take him out of Gotham City and someone should be there when he’s doing Justice League or Outsider business. The man’s busy and unless you want to make Bruce a Gary Stu a little help is required.

And unlike the two unrelated media projects called Gotham Knights (the video game and TV series have nothing to do with each other outside of “Batman’s dead and we’re still in Gotham City”) you don’t need to kill off Batman to give them a spotlight. I just went over the times he’s out of town, plus it’s a large city and each member of the Bat-Family has their own unique skills, lives, and personalities that they all could handle aspects Batman can’t because he’s not tied to any of those experiences. So I thought it would be fun to go over each member of the team and see where they can fit in and what they bring to the Bat-Family.

This isn’t a complete list. All I know about The Signal and the two (?) Batwings are they exist. So I really don’t know where to squeeze them in, but based on the rest of my list maybe some of you out there can find them a spot on the team? Let’s start with the obvious.

“You’re going to pay back that $5 and admit your team sucks!”

Batman: The All-Purpose Leader

Just as I don’t buy into the notion that Superman, my favorite superhero, HAS to be the most powerful being in the universe…as a matter of fact I reject the notion because being Superman isn’t about his powers but what he does with them and how he treats others…Batman does not have to be the bestest at everything. “World’s Greatest Detective”? Time catches up to everyone no matter how sharp his brain remains. He won’t be up on all the modern slang and terminology out there. He’s old. The younger members may be there to help but imagine Bruce sitting there trying to understand a particular meme because it’s a huge clue in a case.

“So there are pictures all over the internet of me slapping Robin. What is this telling me?

Sorry, couldn’t help myself. Anyway, Bruce is more “jack of all trades, master of none”. That was how he learned stealth and fighting techniques, so he could form something uniquely his own. He’s learned numerous forensic methods, meditations, creating his own weapons, knowing every part of Gotham…nobody can hold that much information in their brain. Batman is the leader. Everyone follows his lead and came here in some way because of him and his mission to protect Gothamites. They believe in him or his symbol and offer their special set of skills to the team. Batman is awesome at a lot of things but he doesn’t specialize in anything. The rest of our list does have heroes with a specialty, which can only benefit as a team-up or even replace Batman depending on the case.

“I’m not sure about this new body armor.”

Nightwing: The Agent

The name is Grayson. Dick Grayson. The original Boy Wonder was originally created so that National could soften Batman a bit to extend their readership to kids, who really seemed to be getting into him. You go where the money is, which may be a lesson today’s DC needs to do as they started pushing kids out sometime in the 1990s, though at least back then they had an alternative…but I’m getting off-track. Point is Dick dropped the Robin identity for Nightwing and started having his own adventures. In relatively recent years he became an agent for Checkmate (undercover), did an undercover assignment trying to find a woman who murdered her husband, and I think this could be his purpose. He’s the “secret agent”, the one who takes on the assignments that bring him closest to the people he’s fighting or investigating. He’s the one with the most connection to a “normal life” because part of him wants that, even though he keeps getting dragged back to the superhero life.

It’s taken a long time for him to have these kind of adventures and it’s been an exception but why not hone in on that? The “Nightwingmobile” used different chassis so the same car wasn’t seen everywhere in Bludhaven. He’s good at investigating, and his acrobatic skills can also come into play as he is the most acrobatic of the bunch. And the gadgets just kind of come with the turf. I say have Nightwing here to infiltrate organizations, get close to targets, and all that other stuff James Bond does with his pants on.

“How do I get down from here?”

Batgirl: The Investigator

People forget that Barbara stopped being Batgirl BEFORE being shot and paralyzed by the Joker, believing she could do more in Congress than in costume. After being shot she left politics for some reason and became Oracle, the secret informer of the Gotham protectors. She could monitor the city and do all the big research while the others did the field stuff, or she sent her “Birds Of Prey” out to do the field work and backup the others. Then the New 52 happened and they made her Batgirl again…because.

Barbara Gordon is the daughter of the police commissioner, trained by Batman, and spent time as Oracle. Now she can do her own field work because she can walk again, so make her the team investigator. She knows what questions to ask and is rather inquisitive in some incarnations. Lean in on that. She’s the most easy-going of the group but can still kick butt, so have her do the interrogations in addition to her research skills. She can put good people off their edge so they relax and answer her questions. Use the skills she’s picked up over the years to get the job done.

Jason killing? Fine. Huntress killing? How dare you? Jean-Paul Valley…

The Red Hood: The Dirty Jobs

Yeah, that’s the only image I currently have for Jason Todd as the Red Hood. He’s not a character I was given a chance to gravitate to and mour question still stands as to the fans’ interest in him. Still, he’s here so let’s use him. Jason Todd is the most willing to kill criminals. I’m not supporting that and I’m pretty sure Batman isn’t happy about it but he’s still on the team. So why not have him doing the stuff the others are too moral to do but has to be done. Mess up the criminal operations, if not the criminals themselves? The biggest issue with someone like Amanda Waller isn’t that she does the questionable jobs but how she does it and who she uses.

So just have Red Hood be the guy you send in for the heavy violent stuff. We won’t see him as often but if we can talk him into a lower body count it could work. I think in Gotham Knights they make him use rubber bullets or something. There has to be a place for this guy in the ranks.

Yes, I actually like this costume. Just not the name that Tim used. Still beats “Drake” though.

Tim Drake: The Modern Detective

Is he back to Robin or is he going by Red Robin or Drake now? Some fans have suggested Redbird, after his car, and I happen to like that one, though Damian drives it now in the Batwheels show. Is Redwing too close to Dick’s codename? All DC talks about now is how bisexual he is and how they don’t have a use for him. The heck you don’t. Tim figures out Bruce and Dick’s identities on his own. He’s also shown hacking skills that rival Oracle’s. We live in an age of computers and they’re Tim’s playground.

So if a case involves modern technology or a level of putting clues together that has even Batman stumped and a fresh perspective is required, you call in RedbirdRobinDrakeWing.

I have even less pictures of Damien.

Damien Wayne/Robin: The Apprentice

There are a number of things that Damien could bring to the bat-table. He was raised by the League Of Assassins, so even if we’re talking him out of killing people, which is why he doesn’t hang out with cousin Jason, he has to have some mad stealth skills and for his age some decent strategic ability. He brought together his version of the Teen Titans by basically capturing everyone.

However, Damien is still the youngest and next to Jason is the least in touch with the group’s moral structure. He needs to learn how to be a protector instead of a killer and the 8 ball says his future is still murky. So he’s here to learn from the others how to be a superhero while reminding them not to underestimate anyone, even a “kid”. Plus he used to be the one who dragged Jon on missions before they aged up and ruined his character so he can learn to be better–or else he would have not bothered Superboy simply because their dads were besties.

That might not be Cass’s current outfit but I think it’s cool and I couldn’t find an Orphan photo that wasn’t her dead daddy.

Batwoman: The Trainer

I was going to do Stephanie next but I really need to step up my media library. Nothing came up for her so if there’s a picture in there I don’t have it listed right. And yet I have a picture of her as both Batgirl and Robin. More on her in a moment, but this old comic reminded me what Batwoman could be to the team. As an Army veteran she could teach the others updated combat skills and is a good combatant herself. You want her along in a fight. However, she was recently put into the role of training the younger heroes and the reforming Clayface…whom I just read was killed in a long story. Too bad. I was going to make him the “master of disguise” on the team. Any of the ones I’m missing filling this role?

There isn’t much else to say about Batwoman because frankly she’s almost more redundant that Comicstorian thinks Tim is. Her role is “lesbian” but I want her to actually have a purpose. She could also use her military contacts to get information but everyone has secondary roles based on age, contacts (Barbara may know people in the government), or whatever. I’m focusing on main roles for the members while still having their own adventures. In Batgirl’s case it’s keeping the team in shape and focused.

The Spoiler: Infiltrator

Look what I went and found.

Admittedly I know more about events Stephanie Brown has been a part of rather than her actual skill set. Still, judging by what little I do know, her codename, and a position that needs filling I could see Spoiler being trained to boost her stealth game. Actually, while doing some research I decided to check her fan wiki page and she already has “excellent stealth skills”. Her computer skills are close to Tim’s so she could get in, get the information, and Tim could break into the encrypted file later. She’d basically be a ninja. Spoiler could easily get in and swipe stuff or set up some sabotage.

Gotham Girl: The Super Powered Backup

A superpowered villain is loose in Gotham City. It happens sometimes. Batman doesn’t like calling on Superman and his crew for help and Superman has his own city to protect. So, call Gotham Girl, a hero with powers not unlike Superman and Supergirl who is no longer dying from her own powers. This is even easier than deciding what to do with Jason and Tim.

I know it’s not what she wears not but I love this costume more than her Orphan one. Plus I don’t have that one in the media library.

Cassandra Cain/Orphan: The Protector

Forget the pickpocket from…that movie. Cassandra was born from and raised by assassins to become the ultimate assassin. She was denied learning to read, write, and talk in place of body language and understanding how to choose her target. This backfired when the eight-year-old was given her first victim and the reading of his death movements so traumatized her that she decided this wasn’t for her. Long story short, she came to Gotham during the time an earthquake cut it off from the world and took up a protectorate at Batgirl. Afterwards she’s take up other identities, currently as Orphan.

A lot of the stories I’ve seen has her either learning those denied literacy and vocal skills or protecting others. With her abilities to predict and match her opponents, her own stealth skills, and her martial arts prowess (plus knowing how to stay silent and communicate by necessity) Orphan, or maybe Batgirl again according to my research, could be the one you send to protect or at least watch over a prospective victim. This seems like a great role for her given her history. And finally…….

Alfred Pennyworth/Penny-1: The Heart

KILLING ALFRED WAS A HUGE MISTAKE! Bruce’s loyal butler was the heart of the team. He kept them fed, he helped them from going over the edge or pushing themselves too far (most of the time), he made sure their secret identities were intact, and he was the voice of reason. Alfred made sure the humanity and the non-super part of their lives were still important. Bruce’s stand-in father and everyone else’s stand-in grandfather, with his own talents as a secret agent and actor in the past also coming into play. BRING ALFRED BACK!!!!!!!!!!!!


These are the roles I think the team could serve either alone or backing up Batman in these areas. I’m sure The Signal could also serve a purpose on the team but I know so little about him beyond being part of a former Robin-inspired group of kids. I don’t even know who Batwing is right now or if he’s even back in Gotham City. These are the heroes I know are operating in Gotham as part of the Bat-Family and not Batman Incorporated and none of them are “redundant”. All have a purpose as specialists while the balanced Batman serves as team leader and calls on one of the others to benefit him in a specific area, or on a personal level with a specific group. It’s not that hard to figure out how to use them. Look at what they can do and what they can contribute while liking Batman rather than worshiping him.


About ShadowWing Tronix

A would be comic writer looking to organize his living space as well as his thoughts. So I have a blog for each goal. :)

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