When Batman was apparently killed by Darkseid during Final Crisis, there was a power vacuum in Gotham City. A new Black Mask appeared and began a campaign to accumulate power in the city, a new Azrael arrived and broke into the Batcave, and Jason Todd, still a self-styled crimelord, took up the mantle of Batman. Dick Grayson, formerly Robin and Nightwing, could not allow this to continue. He beat back the pretenders and became the new Batman and worked to honor Bruce’s legacy.
Dick Grayson was always a far lighter and more upbeat character than his mentor, so he would naturally be a different Batman. As a result he accomplished and botched things Bruce Wayne would never have.
10 BEST: Keeping On Damian Wayne As Robin
Keeping Damian Wayne as his Robin may have been one of the best choices that Dick made as Batman. Damian is the perfect foil for Dick Grayson. Dick is easygoing, light-hearted, and forgiving; Damian is intense, angry, and vengeful. This means that Dick has someone to push him forward if he is going to go easy on the killers and crimelords of Gotham, and Damian has a role-model that isn’t Bruce Wayne, Talia al Ghul, or Ras al Ghul. Damian is just as intense and angry to this day, but one imagines he could have been worse without someone like Dick Grayson around.
9 WORST: Not Helping Tim Drake Look For Bruce
This one is an understandable decision on behalf of Dick, but it does seem silly in hindsight. Tim Drake believed he had a lead on Bruce Wayne still being alive, and Dick didn’t support him. Of course, we now know that Bruce was alive all along; he was merely flung backward into the timestream. Red Robin wasn’t the one who found him in the end: it was the combined efforts of Booster Gold, Superman, and Hal Jordan.
8 BEST: Stopped Invading Crime Scenes
Dick Grayson doesn’t have the ego or quite the same audacity as Bruce Wayne, and one way that really shined was in Dick’s reticence to invade active crime scenes.
This helped build a better relationship with the GCPD, and it allowed them to collect more evidence and records that would help later in the case. This was intended also to help the GCPD close these cases and ensure convictions once things made it to the courtroom.
7 WORST: Not Coordinating With Batwoman
While this one was an act of respect for Katherine as opposed to any kind of spite, it would have made sense for Dick to try and coordinate with Batwoman in their fights for justice in Gotham City. Systems and plans improve when people work together; that’s just a basic fact of life. A Batman/Batwoman team-up could have helped Gotham and would have even been a precursor to the Detective Comics Gotham Knights idea. Plus, despite her training, Batwoman was still a novice with a ton of anger issues at this point and could have used the ability to rely on a peer.
6 BEST: Joining The Justice League
The Justice League has almost always had a Batman, but Nightwing was never a hero who fought end-of-the-world threats outside of the rare occasion on the Teen Titans and the Outsiders. It seemed unlikely that a Dick Grayson Batman would step up to the big leagues in the JLA, but Dick still did it. It was a good and surprising decision for Dick, and it certainly helped him grow as a hero.
5 WORST: Allowing The Vigilante To Remain At Large
Bruce Wayne would not have allowed the Vigilante to continue operating in Gotham. However, when Dick Grayson confronted Vigilante as Batman, they came to a mutual understanding and Dick didn’t bring him in. Vigilante isn’t an outright villain, but he was still a gun-toting individual out for lethal justice. A Batman can’t allow that, and this one definitely shouldn’t have.
4 BEST: Taking On Hush
The question of what to do about Tommy Elliot became a complex one after the death of Bruce Wayne. Hush had reconstructive surgery to make him look like Bruce Wayne and stepped into his position at Wayne Enterprises after it appeared that Bruce had died.
Dick and Damian couldn’t risk exposing that Bruce Wayne was dead at the same time as Batman lest they risk revealing the identity of all members of the Bat-Family. So, they used Hush to an advantage. They allowed him to continue his masquerade as Bruce but kept him under strict control so that he couldn’t damage Wayne Enterprises, the Bat-Family, or Gotham City.
3 WORST: Allowing Black Mask To Get That Far
The new Black Mask that arose shortly before Dick Grayson took up the mantle of Batman became a major new threat in Gotham City. It took a long time for Dick to take this Black Mask on, and it got to the point that the National Guard was having to cordon off a portion of Gotham to keep Black Mask in check. Eventually, Batman and Robin did take this Black Mask down and revealed him to be Jeremiah Arkham. However, it does feel like Bruce would have kept it from going this far.
2 BEST: A Tale Of Two Batmen
When Bruce Wayne did return, that didn’t mean that Dick Grayson stepped down from the role of Batman. For a while, there were two Batmen operating in Gotham City, and that’s actually a good thing. Batman has more equipment and power as a symbol than Nightwing, and there being two Batmen also adds to the supernatural perception your average lowlife has of Batman. They could be anywhere and everywhere, and that is a powerful fear to instill in a potential criminal.
1 WORST: Trying To Reanimate Bruce Wayne’s Body
This act both had consequences and was morally questionable from the get-go. After Bruce Wayne’s body seemed to be reanimated by Nekron and the Black Hand during Blackest Night, Dick, Batwoman, Knight, and Squire tried to reanimate this Bruce Wayne in a Lazarus Pit in London. This goes awry immediately, and this “Bruce” turns out to be a clone of the original article. It takes a lot of effort to stop it, and it really seems like a bad idea from the get-go. There is the obvious fact that they were playing god and messing with forces beyond their mortal understanding, but it’s also worth mentioning that Jason Todd became the murderous Red Hood after being resurrected in the same manner. Dick really should have known better.
Dick Grayson was always a far lighter and more upbeat character than his mentor, so he would naturally be a different Batman.