Monday, December 21, 2009

Versus 2.6: Boyz II Men Edition: Batman (Dick Grayson) Vs. Captain America (James "Bucky" Barnes)

They are and quite frankly, always will be, the standards to which others are held to.

Dick Grayson, when he donned the Robin costume, became a first in comics; the teen sidekick.

Soon, he was followed by others but none had more of an impact than James "Bucky" Barnes, sidekick to The Sentinel of Liberty, Captain America.

The years passed have brought great changes to both.

Dick Grayson was allowed to age, eventually becoming leader and co-founder of his own team, The Teen Titans while also becoming a skilled crimefighter, martial artist and master detective. Deep divisions formed in the father/son relationship of Batman & Robin, prompting Grayson to embark on his own path as Nightwing. Following the recent death of Bruce Wayne, the time came for a successor and the choice was a clear and easy one: the student has become the master, leading a new Robin on a path pointing towards adventure.

Bucky was the ultimate Marvel sidekick, smiling, full of promise. Bucky, while fighting The Axis with The Captain, went on to form his own group of junior crimefighters, The Young Allies. At a crucial point towards World War II's end, Bucky and Cap, in an attempt to stop a Nazi experiment, sacrificed their lives in doing so. Bucky was given an honor few comics characters in death received: he was allowed to die and stay dead, a hero. That was until The Winter Soldier Saga where we learned that Bucky had never died and had spent The Cold War years as a pawn and assassin in the thrall and service of the Russian government. Bucky with help from Nick Fury and Iron Man was later liberated and set on a path that led towards what was once theunthinkable; Bucky Barnes living to become Captain America.

So, Second Printers, knowing what's become of these two former sidekicks turned mantle bearers, in a knock-down-drag-out, who would walk away "The Man?"


Samax said...

i'm grew up a Marvel Zombie, so I find this hard to say:

Grayson all day, every day.

Nate said...

I'm a Dick Grayson fan. Diehard.

Winter Soldier is a sweet retcon, but the original Robin has proven his staying power.

Also, I'll toss in: Dick Grayson may be the only lifeline that kept Bruce Wayne sane

Anthony Strand said...

As a character, I'd say Dick with no question. He's been around forever and been in so many great stories.

But the story of Bucky becoming Cap has been a much better story than that of Dick becoming Batman. For one thing, it was a story. A single, well-executed story. The Batman books had all that "Battle for the Cowl" nonsense to deal with. Morrison's stuff has been great since the relaunch, but it was rough getting there.

Also, the Captain America story had the benefit of coming first, making the Batman story seem like a rehash. That feeling hasn't gone away, especially now that the return of Bruce was announced when Steve's return was on its 4th or 5th issue.

Samax said...

i didn't read much of either story, but MY perception was that bringing Bucky back (as a bad guy) was a reaction to Jason Todd returning as the Red Hood (i think that's his name). Like you, i considered it to similar to be a coincidence.

incidentally, i thought the idea of Damien taking on the role under Grayson was pretty slick.

Adj said...

Wow, this is a hard one as I love both characters. I may give Cap the slight edge because ultimately I will always prefer Dick Grayson as Nightwing (my love for the early, Chuck Dixon-penned issues knows no bounds), rather than as Batman, whereas I think they've done a remarkable job with the transition of Bucky into Cap to the point where I don't miss Steve that much at all anymore.

Actually, in a fight between these two, I'd rather they just hug it out ;)