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BATMAN: PRODIGAL

This seems to be the final chapter in the ''Knightfall'' books. After defeating Azrael and reclaiming the mantle of the bat, Bruce takes off (for what reason we never know) leaving Nightwing to fill his shoes.

This story is about how Nightwing--Dick Grayson, the first Robin--would fare if he was made as Bruce Wayne's replacement as the Dark Knight. It's a pretty easy task for good, old Dick. Donning the costume and doing what Bruce did, he thought it would be an easy task and it's like going back to the good old days of fighting crime. But, Gotham City's changed. It wasn't like before when he was still Robin. There are no medals to gain after busting criminals at the end of the day and there is no honor in fighting for a cause only Bruce Wayne is willing to die for.

All that remains in Gotham are the monsters and madmen to stop before the city 'dies' in the hands of gang war violence. And after a short while, Dick begins to have second thoughts if he truly deserves to be Bruce's replacement as the Batman.

This trade paperback is a typical roller-coaster ride for any Batman fan asking the question: "What would it be like if Dick was the Batman?" After the Knightfall series--when Bruce's back was broken by Bane--fans everywhere were shocked when a complete stranger, Azrael, wore the cape and cowl. And in more ways than one, this is DC's way of fulfilling what fans demanded in the first place--to have Dick Grayson as the rightful heir to the mantle of the Bat.

Although the book is commendable in its own way--with its own strong weak points--the conclusion was not very convincing and readers were left hanging in the cold as to what the heck really happened. In fact, it's a tough call and you really have to read between the lines to fully understand how the story concluded.