One day, Bruce Wayne will be gone, and Gotham will need a protector to take his place. We’ve seen him break in Knightfall and choose the wrong successor in Jean-Paul Valley’s Azrael. Dick Grayson also claimed the mantle to stand in after Batman’s “death” by Darkseid.
Bruce welcomed him to continue later, but it’s difficult to define what it takes to be the Caped Crusader. Bruce shows an uncanny ability to adapt, investigate, make the right decisions, and correct his mistakes. There aren’t many in the DC Universe who could deal with the unique threats that challenge Gotham and The Batman, but a few have the potential to put on the cowl if and when the need arises.
7 Damian Wayne
Heir to the Demon’s Head, the would-be assassin and biological son of Batman comes with a shady backstory. Like others before him, he assumed the mantle of Robin and fought side by side with the caped crusader, learning his techniques and principles.
Rife with brutal methods, his grisly nature would need to be curbed to match Batman’s no-kill rule. Damien has adopted to be more like his father in some ways, and his commitment to intense, non-stop training qualifies him for a shot at the title of Dark Knight.
6 Jason Todd
While not appreciated as much as other Robins in the lineage, Todd sticks out due to his aggression that came about because he felt Batman failed him when the Joker killed Jason (who was brought back with a Lazarus Pit). He’s since channeled that fury into something more healthy, making him a fierce protege. Where does his channeled passion for seeing justice served go? His fists, of course.
If Jason and Batman share one quality, it’s punishing crime. It’s his dedication to revenge that holds him back from being clear-minded and focused Batman. His brash impulsive nature is his main obstacle to overcome, should he ever take up the cape and cowl. With patience and meditation, he could be a top contender.
5 Lucas “Luke” Fox
A little ingenuity doesn’t hurt when it comes to the modern day and age. That’s why Luke Fox, better known as Batwing, is an excellent choice in modern society. Like his father Lucius, Luke is well versed in the art of technology, giving him an edge over some of his competitors. Not to mention, he was hand-picked by Batman to defend Africa.
Batman Beyond isn’t here yet, but Luke likely laid the blueprints to do so. Besides, he also has the business background to keep Wayne Tech afloat to fund crime fighting.
4 Terry McGinnis
Terry has the interesting advantage of being trained by Bruce full-time. With a personal earpiece, he can get Batman’s instant advice at any moment he wishes. But that doesn’t mean he didn’t have to earn his shot. It was his instincts and skills that got him the audition in the first place.
However, due to an elaborate cloning plot, Terry’s DNA turned out to be from a sample of Batman’s blood that Amanda Waller stole in Justice League Unlimited. With that knowledge, it is literally in his blood to be Batman because it is Batman’s. Sometimes, the best successor is one’s self.
3 Duke Thomas
Duke Thomas is a more recent edition to Batman Inc, getting his start as a Robin before making his mark as The Signal. With Bruce’s guidance, he’s had a smoother transition in the field than others, rising up to the call of danger, even when advised not to. It’s his ability to adapt which makes him a possible Batman. Whereas the others tend to specialize in a field, Duke presents himself as a jack of all trades, picking up various skills from his mentors.
But there is one thing he has that the others don’t: superpowers. He can manipulate shadows and light to literally become the night. Normally the Batman is known for having no powers and is encouraged to work outside of them, but it’s this edge that places him up with the best, setting up a potential legacy in his own right.
2 Dick Grayson
Nightwing may be the best fighter in Batman’s corner that isn’t him. The original protege of Batman and his first Robin, Dick sets the standards for the rest to follow. His chumminess brought out a spark in the usually brooding Bruce. Their opposite forms of demeanor may have clashed, but it also highlighted Dick’s strength in challenging authority.
It was the attitude that eventually led Grayson to strike out on his own, taking the lessons he learned and applying them with no safety net. His success as a solo act garnered Batman’s respect when he stepped up to dawn the cape and cowl after Bruce had “perished” from Darkseid’s omega beams. Bruce even went as far as to even let Dick continue to be Batman after he returned.
1 Tim Drake
Dick Grayson might seem like the obvious choice, but Tim has what the others lack: impressive detective skills. He figured out what so many people failed to deduce, Batman’s identity. It’s not just the tech skills or the martial arts, all of which Tim possesses, but the one thing that makes a worthy Batman is the tactics.
Batman must remain one step ahead of his enemies, and Tim accomplished that with no resources other than his own brain. When it boils down, Batman must be able to do without. Bruce has had criticisms of his proteges, except Tim, and that’s high praise.
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