Tom King knows Batman.
The writer has spoken before about his lifetime love of the character, a love that influenced his career in the U.S. Intelligence services. DC Comics was so certain of King's bat-bonafides that it had him sign an exclusive contract, which included his current duties helming the monthly "Batman" series. So when King has an opinion as to which bat character would win in a fight, fans know to listen.
Ranked! (Earth 1)— Tom King (@TomKingTK) February 20, 2017
Arguing commence! https://t.co/f7REWLXyef
In first place we've got Cassandra Cain. Currently going by the codename Orphan, Cass's high ranking is almost a no-brainer. Cassandra has a superhuman ability to read body language. Not only can she mimic other fighting styles through observation, but she can anticipate what her opponents are going to do through subtle expressions.
The next two picks on his list are slightly more controversial. Dick Grayson a.k.a. Nightwing comes in above his master and mentor Bruce Wayne, the original Batman. Sure, Dick had a reasonably successful tenure as the Dark Knight while Bruce was missing, but he doesn't quite have the experience that Batman does. Still, the original Boy Wonder trained physically from a very young age, as an acrobat in the troupe the Flying Graysons. It would appear King believes his more acrobatic style and lifetime of training may give Dick an edge on his mentor Bruce.
In the fourth place spot is Damian Wayne, the son of Bruce. Although Damian is smaller and younger than anyone else on this list, he was bred, genetically modified, and then trained his entire life to be an expert and deadly ninja, so it's difficult to argue against his high ranking. The fifth place spot goes to Kate Kane, who some may believe deserves a higher position on the list. Kate, Bruce's first cousin, is military trained and had a successful career as a crime fighter before ever teaming up with the rest of the Batfamily.
Sixth place goes to Helena, aka Huntress. Helena is a deadly fighter, but it's sort of surprising to see her ranked so highly. She has more experience than some of the younger sidekicks, but is not usually included in the Batfamily training sessions, though the current version of the character, co-created by King, is a high-level international spy. Seventh place is Jason Todd, who as Red Hood has more guts than raw talent. He's ruthless and mad as hell but lacks the lifetime of physical training that some of the other members of the Batfamily have.
In eighth place is Duke Thomas, formally a Robin and now calling himself Lark, who is the most recent Batfamily member added to this list. Duke has a lot of heart and a lot of potential, but has yet to really prove himself as a world class fighter. Ninth place is Stephanie Brown, a fan-favorite character who trained a lot with Cassandra, but is not primarily known for her butt-kicking skills. But lowest of all is the presumed dead Tim Drake, Red Robin, who always considered himself a detective first and a fighter second.
King later amended the tweet, adding that Barbara Gordon a.k.a. Batgirl would rank highly in terms of tactics and strategy, and that Tim would be right behind her in the ranking.
This in one-on-one, hand-to-hand, not about long term strategies, where Batman would be #1, Batgirl (Barbara) #2, Tim #3, Jason below Ace. https://t.co/F6xdzgg7Y7— Tom King (@TomKingTK) February 20, 2017
King concluded that when it comes to strategy, Jason Todd's dedication wouldn't even have him out thinking Ace the Bat-Hound. Ouch.
King's list should not be taken as definitive, of course, though it will likely spark tons of nerdy Internet debate. Still, it is always fascinating to see the inner workings of superhero comic writers.