Richard John “Dick” Grayson made his debut as Batman’s partner-in-vigilantism in April of 1940 and quickly made his way to the top to be a fan favourite of the DC fans, a position of popularity he has held since to this day. His most notable trait is his sense of justice and his want to do good that prevails no matter what his situation may be. His selfless nature and need to do good is what sets him apart from most of the other heroes. It’s not that the others do not do good but as stated by Superman after a trip across the multiverse, “No matter which earth, Richard Grayson was always good.” And that’s why he is a hero, but that is also a reason that if turned evil, he would be undefeatable.
What is not often realized by many DC fans is that he’s the one character/person who could change the fate of the DC universe. The first son of Batman and his strongest emotional weakness, something which is repeatedly seen over the years when the Dark Knight interacts with him. He is the only son who makes him regret or rethink his decision without any lingering guilt or repentance towards them. He looks at the last Grayson as his successor and his greatest accomplishment. He has often conceded to his oldest son’s judgment and logic despite his determination to continue on the crusade.
Dick Grayson primarily is a performer, no matter what the role, he’s a natural showman who will fit the mould presented to him. He’s an expert at hiding and controlling his emotions which is often noted as one of his most prominent traits. Since his early days with Bruce, he has often managed to convince and manipulate the man into taking a break and relaxing and has also often taken advantage of his affection by persuading the man to let him accompany him for his crusade at the tender age of 9. He makes it a point to appeal to his adoptive father’s heart and feelings in a way that none of his other children can.
He appears to be the least threatening of all of Bruce’s partners, which could not be a fact further than truth itself, seeing as the Caped Crusader’s contingency plan for himself is his eldest son who can take him down, hinting subtly that Dick is the only one who could match up to the man and even take him down when needed. His care for his son is displayed in masked moments too when he revived Joker to save his offspring from suffering under his own conscience of having blood on his hands. Firing him from being Robin to protect him due to his encounter with Two-Face shows just how desperate he can get to save the son he considers the light in the darkness he resides in constantly. It’s shown in the injustice comics when (Spoiler Alert!!) Dick is accidentally killed by Damian, and Bruce feels abandoned and lost similar to the night he lost his parents and is so lost in his grief that he blames Damian and throws away his blood related and youngest son for his first child. It shows just how attached Bruce is to the former Robin.
Dick has often displayed just how much he knows Bruce and imitates him well enough as his masked alter-ego to make everyone believe that it’s the original Bat rather than a replacement. He grounds his father to humanity and acts as his tether to sanity in his most brutal moments. This is what would make it easier for Dick to manipulate Bruce because no matter how cautious Batman is towards every close presence in his life, Alfred Pennyworth and Richard Grayson are the only ones for who he has no guard raised. Dick Grayson holds a soft and special corner in his father’s heart, being his first partner and child who has raised him as much as he has raised the latter. The first Robin is often overlooked as the good-looking one with no brain and just humour, which let’s be honest is a partial truth, he is extremely good-looking but is a master at playing the innocent fool. The Robin who is often considered to be inferior to his successors is far more lethal and better trained than anyone else who has held his childhood moniker. He’s trained with the Justice League since the tender age of 8 and was taken in albeit forcefully under the wing of Deathstroke in his teenage years, which has honed his skills to the extent that he could go against any of the Justice League members and hold his own.
Dick Grayson is the personal hero of his rebellious adopted brother Jason Todd, who as Robin wished to be like his older brother, even as Red Hood trusts his brother to have his back and lets his guard down around him. An unspoken trust remains between the brothers which make itself known whenever Jason tries to reach out, he first considers his elder brother as his fallback. Dick has displayed on multiple occasions that he will first try to talk and chase after his younger brother than respond with violence. Just Jason’s word is enough for Dick to trust him. This makes Jason lower his guard around his elder sibling. The fact that he will not be too alert around his brother and will listen to him when needed gives Dick an edge over even Bruce with whom Jason still shares a complex relationship.
One could argue that Jason favours the younger Robins more, but what people forget is that despite how he acts around the younger kids now, he tried to kill Tim and has often noticed his sharp mind as a weapon and threat. Damian is never looked upon as just a kid in anyone’s eyes, he’s an assassin, trained under the League of Assassins for his entire childhood and Jason is always mindful of it no matter how playful their relationship may get. Dick is the only one towards whom he feels relaxed enough to share things, although on those may be rare occasions Jason has the confidence to know that his older brother will listen to him rather than attack or accuse him right off the bat. That’s what makes him susceptible to any manipulation from Dick’s side. He may not be convinced as easily as Bruce would, but it would not be too difficult for Dick to get Jason to agree, seeing as Jason stands by the ideology of killing and getting rid of the villains, Dick knows what to say and do to get him to agree, especially if he lets his killing of Joker slip. Jason follows Dick’s orders and trusts his judgment in any mission and moments of danger, thus getting him to agree on Dick’s “Suggestions” if he ever planted any, would not be a problem.
In Tim Drake’s case, it may be difficult to outright get him to turn against any ideology that he holds close, but Dick holds a special place in his heart no matter what happens. He was his mentor and older brother, he brought him in the crusade and stood by him in every situation when Tim felt weak. Tim rushes to his oldest brother for advice no matter the situation and is incredibly emotionally attached to his oldest sibling and that was shown as when he felt betrayed by not being Robin to Dick’s Batman. He looks up and idolizes Dick which acts as a blind spot for his calculative brain. No suspicion in anything that his eldest brother may say. He believes whatever Dick may say, although he may question him a few times. However, when presented with sound logic he will eventually agree. Tim does not completely trust anyone, including Bruce with Dick Grayson being a sole exception to all his suspicion. Dick is the one person Tim goes for any sort of reassurance and validation, especially when he doubts his own abilities and talents. Dick is his biggest confidant and his personal hype man who has stood by him through whatever he’s gone through. So, Tim may not be manipulated by anyone else but Dick Grayson simply due to being his older brother.
Damian Wayne is the easiest out of all his younger siblings for Dick to manipulate. Damian is in a way his direct successor and partner, who trusts him and will follow him blindly no matter what the situation may be. Damian is perhaps incredibly dangerous to all members including his father who he looks up to, but for Richard Grayson, he’s simply his brother. Damian would follow his oldest and idolized brother through hell if he was simply asked to. Dick was his Batman as he’s always claimed, and Dick reassured that belief by calling Damian his Robin. Their relationship has often bordered between brotherly and parent-child. Dick who trained Damian and has always looked at him as someone capable of greatness and an immeasurable amount of goodness and has always vocalized it to the younger boy. Damian feels the need to live up to the standards set for him by Dick and will do whatever his oldest brother asks, no matter his personal feelings. He may know the weaknesses of his brothers and may use it against nearly all of them but his oldest sibling. Dick could get him to go home despite him wanting to finish the Lazarus Island tournament, but Dick letting him go and giving him a keepsake that was incredibly personal for him is why Damian would never suspect whatever his favourite brother asks of him. His oldest brother will always keep his well being in mind first and the fact that Damian treats Dick like he’s hung the stars and always wants to be like him will in any way that he can. In the injustice comics after shedding the mantle of Robin, Damian takes on his older brother Nightwing persona as a way to honour and remember him.
In the cases of Cassandra Cane, Stephanie Brown, and Barbara Gordon. Dick Grayson holds a high place in each of their lives. Cass looked for him first when Batman was in trouble and has often sought out his company for simple comfort. She trusts him to make the right decision and looks upon him like a younger sister would to her older brother, she may perhaps be the only one who may have an inkling of just how dangerous the First boy wonder maybe but will listen to him and his words in any situation as he has been the Bat’s oldest and most trusted partner. In Stephanie’s case, it’s similar to the other Robins, she wants validation from Dick as a Robin but does not know how to connect with him, Dick has tried to include her and go easy on her as Batgirl and that is the first start of their relationship that slowly evolved to that of mutual respect and sibling-like. Steph will take some time to actually give in to anything that Dick says, but with the right buttons pushed, she will join hands with Richard with the right persuasion and the addition of Damian and Tim on Dick’s team.
Barbara and Dick have worked together as partners longest of all their successors. Which makes them well attuned to each other and a weak spot that will not be anticipated by the always analytical Oracle. Dick who knows and understands her well, working together for years and being involved with each other romantically numerous times gives Dick an insight into Barbara most people lack. He could convince her not only with words but also logic, and her loyalty to Dick, not only as a partner but as a friend has always remained steadfast. Although Dick will have to maneuver carefully when he tries to get Barbara to see his point of view, he can manage it well and has done it on several occasions.
As obnoxious as it may sound, the Bat-clan is the deadliest out of all superhero clans that are there, that is especially due to them being humans and have always remained on guard against all their allies no matter how close they may be to them. If a member of the bat-clan like Richard who is trusted by all heroes and is the emotional pillar of his family goes dark, the worst part is that those who trust him will not even realize it and his family will also be included on his side because of how deeply he is tangled with all of them. Richard Grayson alone has the power to take down all the superheroes that exist in the D.C verse, simply because he is treated like he is not dangerous enough. Richard John “Dick” Grayson holds the Bat-Clan together and if he goes dark, it’s best to assume that the rest of the bat clan will also go dark, which means all the superheroes will fall short if they try to stop them.
Thus Richard Grayson would be an unstoppable villain if he so desired.