So Bruce’s reasons for for deciding to reveal his identity to Dick here are—
- Dick is going to go out to find his parents’ killers on his own and is going to (and nearly just did) get himself killed in the process unless he gets training/has supervision.
- Guilt regarding what happened to Harvey Dent.
I find the modern era relationship between Bruce, Dick and Harvey fascinating, and it’s just very interesting to me that Bruce is comparing them in this moment, and that it’s an influencing factor here, especially with how things play out in Robin: Year One.
(Batman: Dark Victory/Robin: Year One)
Did Jeph take this from BTAS or did the writers see this comic and adapt it into the show?
As far as I’m aware, the “Dick going to find the killer on his own” thing did originate with B:TAS, or at least it’s the earliest example of that I know. (Someone please correct me if that isn’t true.) In previous versions, there wasn’t really time for Dick to be going out on his own since Bruce generally took him to the Batcave right away after the death of Dick’s parents, revealing his identity there. Even Batman: Year Three which was one of the major influences on “Robin’s Reckoning” had Bruce revealing his secret right after he got custody of Dick.
(Sorry to pimp myself, but that question is a large part of why I put together this chart because the ways that different versions of Dick’s origin influenced each other and how the story and mythos evolves in the retellings fascinates me.)
Essentially though, that whole concept became a fairly accepted idea pretty fast, even outside of B:TAS, and was used in several other things shortly after— it was prominent in the Batman Forever movie from 1995, as well as Robin Annual #4 (Chuck Dixon’s origin for Dick) and also Legends of the Dark Knight #100 (Denny O’ Neil), all of which predate Dark Victory.
So Leob did draw influence from B:TAS, and that shows, but he also wasn’t the first to use it, and he also drew from the other versions of the story especially LOTDK #100, going as far as to use similar designs and getting the whole heart attack thing from there. And hey, if it ain’t broke it’s fair game in an adaptation.
Personally, I’m actually a big fan of this idea of Dick being very lost and angry and filled with a desire for revenge shortly after the death of his parents, because I think it does help a little to explain why Bruce took this kid in and trained him and brought him into that world. (In as much as you can ever justify the child endangerment, at least within the rules of that world.) Plus, I really do think the fact that Dick is able to move past this initial anger, and not let his parents’ deaths consume him brings out some interesting things regarding his character and as well as his relationship with Bruce.
(Though the prevalence of the ideas regarding Two-Face here is also just Jeph Leob following up on some things from The Long Halloween.)
Agreed. Young Justice is far from my favorite adaptation, or my favorite incarnation of Dick, but one scene I think they got really right is the one where Diana asks Bruce is he took Dick in “so that he could turn out like you”, and Bruce just replies “So he wouldn’t”. To me, that’s it in a nutshell - Bruce took Dick in so that Dick would have the one thing Bruce never had: someone who genuinely understood his loss, and could be there to help him let go of the pain and the anger. Of course, there’s still room to criticize Bruce’s decision-making here, but I truly believe that he looked at the situation and made what he thought was the best decision for Dick. And what’s more, I believe Dick would tell you in an instant that his life is 100 times the better because Bruce made the decision that he did.
One of the things I also like about how Batman: Dark Victory sets up Bruce’s decision to tell Dick his secret is that it really shows Bruce’s character growth, and how eventually he rejects the idea that he has to be alone. Earlier in the story, you see Bruce’s perception of himself as alone emphasized over and over - with regards his relationship with Harvey, with Selina, with the flashback of him after his parents died. But when Dick comes along, Bruce realizes he doesn’t need to be alone after all, and he takes a chance and lets Dick into his life. And that one choice changes everything.