After being 'dead' for about a month and traveling through time for upwards of a year, Batman has finally returned. It's doubtful that anyone missed his return to the world of the contemporary living, since he did it in about ten different books over the last two months. One book, aptly titled Batman: The Return, shifted the focus from the circumstances of his return to the new story lines that his return sets up. Some of those story lines have the potential to be great. But every light casts a shadow. Take a look at the best and worst case scenarios for the characters of Batman: The Return.

Stephanie Brown

Stephanie Brown was once Spoiler, once Robin, and is now Batgirl. In any guise, she remains the Batfamily's resident screw-up, but she's also a female fan favorite, so she's not going anywhere. Or is she? It seems Bruce Wayne wants to send her to a British boarding school.

Best Case Scenario: A crossover with Knight and Squire. Beryl and Stephanie hit London, fight crime, and argue about whether to call the national sport 'football' or 'soccer'.

Worst Case Scenario: Another pregnancy storyline.

Barbara Gordon

Barbara was Batgirl before being shot in the spine by the Joker. Paralyzed, she took up computer wizardry and is now a unique and interesting character, if a character who flashes back to opening the wrong door as much as Bruce Wayne flashes back to his mother's pearls scattering to the ground. In Batman: The Return, she was given a Batgirl avatar and 'cheat codes' to zoom around a mysterious new version of the internet.

Best Case Scenario: Patented Grant Morrison techno-magic wizardry.

Worst Case Scenario: Barbara Gordon is now a character in DC's version of The Sims.

Tim Drake

Tim Drake was the version of Robin DC brought in when no one liked Jason Todd. It took him more than twenty years to age from fourteen to eighteen, but now that he's a big kid and Damian is around, he's outgrown the Robin suit. His new persona, Red Robin, has a shadowy plan to stop violence in Gotham or something.

Best Case Scenario: I don't think any of us think this plan will work, but it will be fun to watch.

Worst Case Scenario: War Games III.

Damian Wayne-Al Ghul (Al Ghul-Wayne?) and Dick Grayson

Dick's the first Robin. Damian's the latest. Together they teamed up to for Batman and Robin in the eponymous comic book. In Batman: The Return, Bruce revealed that he wanted them to stay that way.

Best Case Scenario: They keep being a cross between Batman and Robin and an old married couple who snipe at each other all the time. Although I'd like to see Bruce's attempt at father-son bonding, Dick's a fun Batman and is light enough to make fun of Damian's darker characteristics. Damian is obnoxious in just the right way to make it fun when he's right and fun when he gets slapped down.

Worst Case Scenario: Another battle-for-the-cowl type situation. Some books have a hint of competition between the characters not just in the story, but on the meta level. With these two, a stacked deck is nowhere near as much fun to watch as an even balance.

Bruce Wayne:

For the foreseeable future, he's heading around the world to franchise the Batman identity, giving to worthy heroes anywhere.

Best Case Scenario: "For the foreseeable future, he's heading around the world to franchise the Batman identity, giving to worthy heroes anywhere."

Worst Case Scenario: It catches on. We'd move from the current 12 regular Batman titles and 10-ish one-shot Batman titles per month to easily fifty books, all titled Batman: The Something. There's only so much Batman anyone can take. Yes, even Chris Sims.

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