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Passing The Torch / Comic Books

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  • In Astro City, the hero Jack-in-the-Box learns that his wife is pregnant, and various possible sons appear from the future. His death as a superhero had harmed them all. He passes the torch to another young man, without his familial responsibilities.
  • Batman:
    • Jason became Robin because Batman willed it so, without it having anything to do with Nightwing (Robin I), but in some versions Jason's place was confirmed when Dick gave Jason his old Robin uniform, recognizing him as Robin.
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    • According to Marv Wolfman, around the time Jason Todd was introduced, one of the Batman writers wanted to de-age Dick Grayson and return him to being Batman's sidekick. As writer on Teen Titans, DC's hottest property at the time, Wolfman wielded a lot of power, and suggested that instead, Dick Grayson could move on to a new identity and a new Robin could be introduced as a publicity stunt (since that sort of thing had never really happened before).
    • Dick also does this with Tim Drake, although the gift comes years after Tim became Robin and Dick started thinking of him as his little brother. Tim is nevertheless quite moved by the gesture.
    • It actually happened a lot sooner. After Jason's death (which SERIOUSLY messed up Bruce's head) Tim even tried to convice Dick to come back to the role in an effort to keep Batman from becomming too dark and possibly crossing the line. Dick refused and basically told him "Why don't you do it?"
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    • When Cassandra Cain becomes Batgirl, Barbara Gordon, who was the original Batgirl, is the one to give her the costume, though Cass doesn't wear it.
    • The passing of torch between Barbara and Cass serves as a contrast with the previous time a new Batgirl had appeared, a few months earlier; Barbara discovered there'd been a new Batgirl and Batman had not so much told her about it.
      Barbara [to Batman]: How could you do this to me! There's a woman out there with my legs, my identity, my job!
    • Babs also gives a new Batgirl costume based on hers to Stephanie Bown in Batgirl (2009).
  • The anthology series Batman: Black and White includes a story called "Guardian" in which Batman, early in his career, meets the original Green Lantern, who also operated out of Gotham City before retiring. They discuss their different approaches to the work, and at the end Green Lantern talks to Batman about why he retired and gives Batman his approval as Gotham's new guardian.
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  • In Batman Incorporated, Batman goes searching around the world for young men and women he can train to succeed him in case he dies again.
  • Captain America has done this (willingly) twice. The first was, after his return from seeming death after Civil War, he allowed Bucky Barnes to keep going as Captain America, which lasted until Fear Itself. The second one had him pass the title to Sam Wilson, the Falcon, after he loses his Super Soldier Serum, reverting him to an old man.
  • Doctor Strange inherited the title of Sorcerer Supreme from the Ancient One, and he in turn passed it on to Brother Voodoo. After Voodoo was killed in a Heroic Sacrifice, the office sat vacant for a while before the Ancient One appeared to Strange and gave his title back to him.
  • In The Final Days of Superman, Post-Flashpoint Superman finds himself dying with him not being able to stop it. So he takes Supergirl to the Fortress of Solitude and asks her to take over for him, before giving her the key to the Fortress. Although he doesn't actually die, Kara effectively carries on his legacy.
    Superman: Make me proud, Kara.
    Supergirl: You can count on that, cousin.
  • In Justice Society of America, Hourman's son took up the mantle after his father's death. When time-travel allows the father to be saved, the son offers to hand back the role; the father refuses it, because he wishes to retire and make his wife happy.
  • In the "Cannon Fodder" arc of Runaways (Rainbow Rowell), the Runaways are taken in by Doc Justice, a middle-aged superhero who is ostensibly looking to train a team to take his place when he retires. Gert ends up learning that this is not the case: he's training them to be C-List Fodder so that he can use their deaths to boost his popularity, something he's done constantly.
  • Ultimate Spider-Man did this a little more properly: When Peter Parker came Back from the Dead, he was not thrilled at Miles Morales being Spider-Man. However, after the two finally put an end to the menace of the Green Goblin, Peter decides to fully retire and gives Miles his blessing.
  • In V for Vendetta, this is the final part of V's plans for Evey - all the work they did together was preparing her so that she could take over his work when he died.
  • In Watchmen, the first Nite Owl handed off the heroship to a fan of vigilantes and nocturnal fowl, and retires to be a mechanic and neighborhood old guy. Until his head is bashed in by a mob of punks for being thought to be related to the controversial Badass Normal and Well-Intentioned Extremist Rorschach, that is.
  • Donna Troy, the first Wonder Girl, gave her costume to Cassie Sandsmark, who at the time was fighting crime in a Wonder Woman T-shirt and denims. However, Cassie was so overwhelmed she never wore it in case it got damaged.
  • A more somber version happens in Zero Hour: Crisis in Time!. After Extant runs roughshod on the Justice Society, deaging and killing many, the active survivors retire, with the Alan Scott Green Lantern giving Kyle Rayner his ring (which is lost and destroyed an issue later) and Starman giving his Cosmic Rod to his eldest son. Superman realizes there that things aren't the same now...