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Under the cut because this is long, by the way, it’s a DickBabs moment, but not a particularly happy one, so warnings there, but anyone who is knowledgable about Babs and Dick’s relationship, I’d like your opinion on whether it was OOC of Dick or not.
Devin Grayson, for some reason, LOVES to write Dick as callously oblivious and Babs as perpetually annoyed. To me, that characterization of Dick reached its absolute point of unbelievability in this scene, from Nightwing #85:
Okay, first of all, I have issues with the way Babs is characterized here too, but that’s an entirely separate post.
But Dick, just… no. Babs basically never voices that kind of naked insecurity over her disability, and whether you consider it in-character for her here or not, there’s no doubt that if she did, Dick would immediately take notice and respond appropriately to reassure her. The way he brushes her off here is so cruelly insensitive to her feelings, it just makes me wince.
I mean, just compare that to how well he reads and responds to her insecurities in Nightwing #38 (written by Chuck Dixon), for example:
Now, Dick’s not perfect, and it’s certainly plausible that he could be too distracted or overworked/tired to read Barbara’s (or anyone else’s) mood correctly every once in a while. It’s also perfectly plausible that this could lead to him being accidentally insensitive now and then. I can also see him realizing Babs was in a bad mood and thinking being silly would cheer her up, but having it misfire.
But Dick is, as a rule, a pretty sensitive guy, and he’s good at reading people. Especially someone he’s as close to as Babs. Unless there was something pretty major distracting him, he’d likely realize his mistake pretty quickly in either of those situations, switch into serious mode, and talk things out properly with her. The way Devin Grayson just writes him as obliviously trampling all over Barbara’s feelings all the time often feels false to me.
The fact is, the way Devin Grayson writes their relationship, you almost feel like Dick doesn’t really understand Babs (however well he might think he does), and Babs may love Dick but she doesn’t really like him all that much. Neither of which is the way I see their relationship, nor the way other writers have portrayed it.
What’s particularly frustrating about Devin Grayson’s writing is that she’ll get it so completely right one moment, and then so utterly wrong the next. She’s a good (if problematic) writer, and her characterization can be wonderfully spot-on at times. But issues like this keep me from really appreciating the way she writes Dick and Babs.
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