Nightwing

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CHARACTER

Nightwing

Once Batman's first Robin, Dick Grayson has since become Nightwing, protector of Bludhaven and the original leader of the Titans.

Introduction

Aliases: Robin, Batman, Agent 37, Richard John “Dick” Grayson

First Appearance: DETECTIVE COMICS #38, 1940 (as Dick Grayson/Robin); TALES OF THE TEEN TITANS #44, 1984 (as Nightwing)

 

 

As the first Robin, the first kid sidekick in comic books and the first leader of the Teen Titans, Dick Grayson has always been a trailblazer. Since his introduction in 1940, Dick has been the physical manifestation of “light” to Batman’s “darkness,” always ready with a quip and a smile to balance out the Dark Knight’s grim single-mindedness.

 

But all kids must grow up eventually. After some tumultuous teenage years, Dick decided to exchange his bright red-and-yellow outfit for something a little more practical, setting out as a solo Super Hero. He chose the name “Nightwing” after a Kryptonian myth recounted to him by Superman, and eventually set up shop in Gotham City’s sister city of Blüdhaven.

 

A natural leader with charisma to spare, Nightwing is one of the most popular and well-respected people in the DC universe. His childhood laid the foundations for a community of friends who would change the way superhero teams function. For Dick Grayson, being a hero isn’t just a job. It’s a way of life.

 

Origin

Growing up, Dick traveled the country with his mother, Mary, and father, John, as “the Flying Graysons,” a world-famous trapeze troupe that performed with Haly’s Circus—until a cruel twist of fate intervened. When the circus was set to perform in Gotham, a mobster named Tony Zucco attempted to extort Mr. Haly for protection money. When Haly refused to pay, Zucco had his thugs sabotage the circus’ trapeze with acid. When John and Mary began their act, the wires snapped and sent them plummeting to their deaths—all while Dick watched helplessly.

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Fortunately, Bruce Wayne happened to be in attendance that night, and quickly sprang into action as Batman while the big top erupted into chaos. Knowing all too well the trauma of being suddenly, violently orphaned, Bruce decided to take Dick under his wing so they could set about avenging the Graysons’ murders.

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After a regimen of intense training, Dick set about crafting a costume and a superhero identity for himself. He chose the name “Robin” after both his mother’s favorite bird and his favorite mythical hero, Robin Hood, and he officially became Batman’s sidekick (and Bruce Wayne’s ward). The Dynamic Duo was born.

 

As Dick grew up, however, a rift began to form between him and Batman. With the aid of some fellow sidekicks, Dick formed the Teen Titans, a teenage answer to the Justice League, which forced Dick to split his time between Gotham and the team’s base of operations in New York. Not one to accept any half measures, and increasingly impatient with Dick’s distraction in the field, Batman wound up “firing” him from his job as a sidekick.

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It was a brutal blow, but it would eventually work out for the better. After seeking some advice from Superman, Dick decided to adopt a new identity—“Nightwing,” after a hero from Kryptonian legend—and returned to the Teen Titans with an all-new look and a renewed sense of purpose.

 

It would take time for Bruce and Dick to repair their relationship in earnest, but eventually Dick’s independence would pave the way for an even stronger bond between them. When, from time to time, Bruce has found himself unable to do his job, Dick has stepped in as a temporary Batman.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Powers and Abilities

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Like Batman, Nightwing has no superhuman abilities or powers. Instead, he’s spent his life dedicated to maintaining peak human performance both mentally and physically. His childhood spent in the circus honed his incredible acrobatic talent and daring, while his training under Batman sharpened his mental skills. He’s a world-class detective, martial artist, master of disguise and forensic scientist. 

 

As a member of the Batman Family, Nightwing also has unrestricted access to Bruce’s wide array of technological toys. He’s proficient in everything from the Batcomputer to Batarangs, though he’s usually reluctant to ask his mentor for aid—financial, technological or otherwise—on cases of his own. Despite having access to the Batmobile and Batplane, Dick prefers to travel by motorcycle.

 

Dick’s weapon of choice is a set of escrima sticks—two short, blunt staves he wields with both hands interchangeably. He’s been known to use them as projectiles, throwing and ricocheting them for maximum effect in close quarters, and occasionally as electric stun batons.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Essential Storylines and History

The Golden and Silver Ages (1940-1969)

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Dick Grayson was introduced in 1940’s DETECTIVE COMICS #38. He then became a fixture of Batman’s world, both as the ward of Bruce Wayne and as a costumed sidekick. Dick featured as a prominent character in BATMAN, DETECTIVE COMICS, WORLD’S FINEST (in which he partnered with both Superman and Batman) and (in solo adventures) STAR-SPANGLED COMICS throughout the ’40s, ’50s and early ’60s. He came up against costumed villains, cosmic catastrophes and slice-of-life drama, all in equal measure.

 

In 1964 the original incarnation of the TEEN TITANS formed for the first time. Consisting of Robin, Kid Flash and Aqualad—soon joined by Wonder Girl —the “Fab Foursome” convened as a team for 53 total issues. Often focused on the youth culture of the day, their stories saw them grooving to pop music, complaining about their respective mentors and battling a rogues gallery of their own.

 

Though these Golden and Silver Age stories often differed from one another, they had one thing in common: for the first 20 or so years of his existence, Dick Grayson didn’t age. It wouldn’t be until the mid-to-late ’60s that the Boy Wonder would undergo the second stage of his evolution as a superhero.

 

 

 

The Bronze Age (1969-1986)

By 1969 the decision was made to move away from the “kid sidekick” days of the Golden Age and allow Dick to grow up. In 1969’s BATMAN #217, readers learned he’d been accepted into Hudson University. He then moved out of Wayne Manor and away from Batman to focus on adventures of his own and with the Teen Titans.

 

During this time Dick worked closely with Batgirl, a.k.a. Barbara Gordon, in anthology books like 1975’s BATMAN FAMILY. In so doing, the two planted the seeds for one of the longest-running on-again-off-again romances in DC history.

 

In 1983’s DETECTIVE COMICS #526, Dick finally decided he had outgrown his role as Robin. He knew he wanted to do something new, he just wasn’t entirely sure what that something would be. The transition was made easier by Bruce Wayne taking in a new teen sidekick to mentor—a boy named Jason Todd—to whom Dick gave his blessing, as well as his old costume as a gesture of faith. Shortly thereafter, Dick quit his role as leader of the Teen Titans to do a bit more soul-searching. He soon reintroduced himself to the team as Nightwing, complete with a new blue-and-gold, high-collared costume, in 1984’s TALES OF THE TEEN TITANS #44.

 

The Teen Titans would continue under Nightwing’s leadership until 1985’s CRISIS ON INFINITE EARTHS event, which rebooted DC’s continuity, including Dick’s transition from Robin to Nightwing. Post-CRISIS, Dick learned he had been replaced as Robin by accident, sparking a dramatic falling-out with Batman that left their relationship a rocky one for years to come.

 

 

Rebuilding Bridges (“A Death in the Family,” “Batman: Year Three,” “A Lonely Place of Dying,” 1988-1989)

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Dick met Jason Todd for the first time after the CRISIS shake-up in 1988’s BATMAN #416, well after he’d already started working as Robin full-time in the new continuity. Shocked and betrayed by the unceremonious replacement, Dick retreated from Gotham to focus on the Teen Titans full-time yet again. Jason was killed by The Joker later that year in the “A Death in the Family” story arc before he and Dick could ever reconcile their relationship.

 

After learning of Jason’s death (in 1989’s THE NEW TITANS #55), Dick made his way back to Gotham City, where a new drama unfolded. In 1989’s “Batman: Year Three” arc, Dick was forced to simultaneously confront Batman’s erratic grief over the loss of Jason and the return of an unexpected ghost from his past. Tony Zucco, the man responsible for his parents’ murder, had been given parole and was set to walk free once more, forcing Dick to decide how far he was willing to go in seeking vengeance.

 

Thankfully, before things could get out of control, fate intervened. A young man named Tim Drake had been able to deduce Dick’s identity as the first Robin thanks to a lifetime of obsessive study. Tim had been in the audience at Haly’s Circus the night Dick’s parents were killed and had spent his young life obsessed with the city’s caped heroes. He noted the disappearance of Jason and Batman’s sudden unhinged behavior. After putting two and two together, Tim tracked Dick down and made an impassioned case for his return to Batman’s side, famously stating that “Batman needs a Robin” during 1989’s “A Lonely Place of Dying” storyline.

 

Dick, however, did not return to being Robin. Instead, he began training Tim to step in as Bruce’s newest sidekick.

 

 

Wearing the Cowl (“Knightfall,” “Prodigal,” 1993-1994)

When Batman’s spine was broken by the villainous Bane in the 1994 event “Knightfall,” Dick was not Bruce’s first choice as a replacement. Instead, the Caped Crusader looked to a new hero called Azrael to fill in.

 

To say Azrael made of mess of things during his tenure as a substitute Batman would be putting it lightly. He did such a terrible job that Bruce had to come out of recovery early to strip him of his cape and cowl. Bruce banished Azrael from the Batcave and looked to Nightwing for help. In 1995’s “Prodigal” story arc, Dick finally took up the cowl for the first time.

 

As Batman, Dick worked closely with Tim, now well-established in his role as Robin, in protecting Gotham while Bruce recovered.

 

 

The Blüdhaven Years (NIGHTWING vols. 1-2, 1995-2004)

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2005 saw the resurrection of Jason Todd as the villainous Red Hood. As Red Hood, Jason manipulated a team of villains to stage a troubling demonstration for Batman, whom he blamed for not avenging his death. As Jason forced Bruce to watch from across the bay, the Secret Society of Super-Villains dropped the chemical monster Chemo onto Blüdhaven, effectively nuking the entire city from the air. The effect was devastating, leaving nothing but rubble and ash, with thousands of people dead—and Batman believing Nightwing to be among them (in 2006’s “Under the Hood” storyline).

 

Fortunately, Dick had not been in the city at the time of the bombing, so his life had been spared. Unfortunately, however, the city he had poured his heart and soul into for so long was no more.

 

Following 2005’s INFINITE CRISIS event, Dick relocated from the ruined Blüdhaven to New York City (during the “One Year Later” storyline, in 2006’s NIGHTWING #118). He remained there for several years, taking day jobs that ranged from fashion model to museum curator, until yet another crisis forced him to return to Gotham once more.

 

 

 

The Dark Years (“War Games, ”THE OUTSIDERS, 2003-2006)

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Back in Gotham City, a young hero named Stephanie Brown inadvertently sparked a gang war that ravaged the city and forced Dick to return home to assist during the chaos.

 

A different tragedy struck the Titans. A crazed, robotic Superman clone attacked and killed one of Dick’s oldest friends, Donna Troy (formerly known as Wonder Girl) in 2003’s TITANS/YOUNG JUSTICE: GRADUATION DAY. This prompted Dick to disband the Titans for good rather than see another one of his friends hurt or killed in the line of duty.

 

After the Titans dissolved, Dick’s friend and fellow Teen Titans alumnus Roy Harper (a.k.a. Arsenal) convinced him to form a different group of superheroes that would avoid the tragedies that had befallen the Titans, by keeping every member at arm’s length.

 

Dick begrudgingly acquiesced, and together he and Roy formed their own iteration of The Outsiders, a team of superheroes first formed by Batman, that was willing to work below the radar on black-ops missions. The team remained together for 50 issues through 2007.

 

 

Blüdhaven Lost (“Under the Hood,” “One Year Later,” 2005-2009)

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2005 saw the resurrection of Jason Todd as the villainous Red Hood. As Red Hood, Jason manipulated a team of villains to stage a troubling demonstration for Batman, whom he blamed for not avenging his death. As Jason forced Bruce to watch from across the bay, the Secret Society of Super-Villains dropped the chemical monster Chemo onto Blüdhaven, effectively nuking the entire city from the air. The effect was devastating, leaving nothing but rubble and ash, with thousands of people dead—and Batman believing Nightwing to be among them (in 2006’s “Under the Hood” storyline).

 

Fortunately, Dick had not been in the city at the time of the bombing, so his life had been spared. Unfortunately, however, the city he had poured his heart and soul into for so long was no more.

 

Following 2005’s INFINITE CRISIS event, Dick relocated from the ruined Blüdhaven to New York City (during the “One Year Later” storyline, in 2006’s NIGHTWING #118). He remained there for several years, taking day jobs that ranged from fashion model to museum curator, until yet another crisis forced him to return to Gotham once more.

 

 

The Dynamic Duo 2.0 (FINAL CRISIS, BATTLE FOR THE COWL, BATMAN AND ROBIN, 2009-2011)

When Bruce Wayne was plucked from time and believed to be dead in the aftermath of 2009’s FINAL CRISIS event, a power vacuum was left in Gotham. Someone needed to step in as Batman before the city destroyed itself.

 

There were many contenders for the throne—Jason Todd, Tim Drake, Bruce’s newly revealed biological son, Damian Wayne, and even Two-Face (in 2009’s BATTLE FOR THE COWL storyline). Dick Grayson, despite having reservations about filling in as Batman once more, emerged from the fray victorious. He took on the League of Assassins and trained Damian as his Robin, and together the two of them began a tenuous partnership (in 2009’s BATMAN AND ROBIN).

 

Dick and Damian were Gotham’s sole protectors for 15 issues before Bruce was “resurrected.” Rather than force Dick to step down, however, Bruce allowed him to continue working with Damian as Batman and Robin within Gotham while Bruce acted as the Batman in the world at large and in the Justice League. This arrangement lasted until 2011, when the FLASHPOINT event resulted in a reimagined continuity known as the New 52.

 

 

The New 52 (NIGHTWING Vol. 3, The Court of Owls,”FOREVER EVIL, 2011-2014)

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The early days of the reimagined New 52 continuity introduced The Court of Owls, a secret society that had been running Gotham in secret for centuries. It was revealed that the Court also played a fundamental role in Dick’s newly modified history, tracing all the way back to his distant ancestors.

 

Dick’s relatives had been connected to the Court as “Talons”—undead, brainwashed assassins who would be activated to do the Court’s bidding when needed—and Dick himself was intended to be the next in line to step into the role, though the murder of his parents and the intervention of Bruce Wayne had thwarted the Court’s plan to indoctrinate him.

 

The revelation sparked a new rift between Dick and his mentor when it was revealed that Bruce had actually known all along about Dick’s hereditary ties, but had kept them secret. This rift widened after a coordinated attack on the entire Batman Family by The Joker (in 2013’s “Death of the Family” storyline).

 

The invasion of an evil alternate Justice League, the Crime Syndicate of Earth-3, sparked 2014’s FOREVER EVIL event before any real reparations could be made between Bruce and his family. This event ended with the public outing of Dick as Nightwing and later his apparent death at the hands of the Crime Syndicate.

 

It turned out Dick had faked his death—a secret only Bruce Wayne and Lex Luthor were party to. His secret identity revealed, Dick allowed the rest of the world, even his closest friends and family, to believe he was deceased. At Bruce’s urging, Dick used his status as a dead man to go deep undercover, infiltrating a corrupt spy organization called Spyral.

 

 

Agent 37 (GRAYSON, BATMAN & ROBIN ETERNAL, ROBIN WAR,  2014-2016)

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Dick joined Spyral as a junior agent called Agent 37 (in 2014’s GRAYSON), while he secretly worked to take the organization down.

 

When disaster struck Gotham City, Dick gave up his mission and returned to Gotham. A fight with The Joker left Bruce an amnesiac with no memory of being Batman (in 2015’s “Endgame” storyline), and Gotham’s remaining heroes as well as the GCPD scrambling to pick up the pieces in his absence.

 

Shortly after his return, Dick—alongside Jason Todd, Tim Drake and Damian Wayne—became embroiled in a conspiracy about the origins of Bruce’s sidekicks in 2016’s BATMAN & ROBIN ETERNAL.

 

Meanwhile, in Batman’s absence, a group of civilian teens had begun patrolling the streets of Gotham as amateur “Robins” (in 2016’s WE ARE ROBIN). In 2016’s “Robin War” storyline, Dick, Jason Todd, Tim Drake and Damian Wayne attempted to organize the amateur Robins, both training them and keeping them safe from the clutches of the Court of Owls, which had yet again begun fixating on Dick and his “destiny” to become an assassin for their cause—and were looking for a way to blackmail him into joining them.

 

By the end of both “Robin War” and the 24-issue BATMAN & ROBIN ETERNAL, Dick had found a way to regain his secret identity, by activating a repurposed doomsday device that, quite literally, allowed him to make the population of the world forget they had ever known Dick Grayson was Nightwing. Ethical quandaries aside, he made use of the device after deciding he could do more good for the world as a superhero than as a spy.

 

 

REBIRTH (2016-Present)

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With his secret identity restored, Dick Grayson took to the streets once more as Nightwing following the events of 2016’s DC UNIVERSE: REBIRTH #1.

 

After re-establishing Blüdhaven as his home base, Dick regained his footing in the superhero community and renewed his connections to the Batman Family… until a sniper bullet went through his head, courtesy of KGBeast. Though he survived the attack, his memory of his past did not. He currently inhabits Blüdhaven as “Ric” Grayson, still trying to find his place in a world he can’t recall

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Team Affiliations

Appearances in Other Media

Television

Main Character Appearances

 

Live Action:

  • • Batman (1966, as Robin)

  • Titans (as Robin)

 

Animation:

 

Guest Appearances/Cameos

 

Animation:

 

 

Film

Main Character Appearances

 

Live Action:

 

Animation:

 

 

Video Games

  • • Batman: Arkham City 
  • • Batman: Arkham Origins 
  • • Batman: Arkham Knight 
  • • LEGO Batman: The Video Game 
  • • DC Universe Online 
  • • Injustice: Gods Among Us 
  • • LEGO Batman 2: DC Super Heroes
  • • Infinite Crisis
  • • LEGO Batman 3: Beyond Gotham
  • • LEGO Dimensions
  • • Injustice 2
  • • DC Legends

Young Justice TV History

Throughout the Young Justice animated series, Dick Grayson has been many things: an expert hacker, a consummate ladies’ man, a lover of wordplay, and a partner to the Dark Knight. But from the very beginning, one thing he’s always been is part of a team.

 

Season One

Much as in the comics, after tragically losing his family to organized crime and being taken in by Bruce Wayne, Robin operates as the junior partner to Batman. But when Robin and his fellow sidekicks are unexpectedly denied Justice League membership, Dick’s life takes a new path as he, Aqualad, Kid Flash, and a newly liberated Superboy decide to form their own team.

Robin’s early missions with the team take him around the world, toppling dictators and discovering double agents. But things get personal when he brings Young Justice on an unsanctioned mission to uncover the secret behind a string of burglaries connected to Haly’s Circus, his first home. Together with Young Justice, he reveals the culprit as the Superman villain Parasite. But more importantly, after letting his teammates into his previously secret personal life, Dick begins to think of Young Justice as his own family.

Dick’s openness makes it hurt all the more when Speedy, one of Dick’s oldest friends, turns out to be a clone created from the captive original. This clone is revealed as an unwitting mole for The Light, a mysterious cabal of super-villains. Robin and Young Justice manage to thwart The Light’s immediate plans for control of the Justice League, though their long game is far from over.

 

Invasion

Five years later, Dick Grayson is operating under his new alias, Nightwing, with the Robin mantle changing hands twice in the interim, from the late Jason Todd to current Team member and Nightwing’s protege Tim Drake. With Aqualad embedded deep undercover in The Light, Nightwing operates as Team leader in his absence -- and later, helps fake the death of Team member Artemis to aid Aqualad’s cover story. Simultaneously, the Justice League uncovers a covert alien invasion, and its members are labeled intergalactic criminals, thanks to their manipulation by The Light five years prior. While the League clears their names, they leave the responsibility of investigating the alien invasion to Young Justice — and by extension, Nightwing.

Under Nightwing’s leadership, Young Justice discovers the alien invaders were Kroloteans, a scavenger race which had arrived on Earth to isolate the Meta-gene which grants superhumans their powers. Thanks to intelligence gained from Aqualad’s deep cover mission, Nightwing uncovers a partnership between The Light and a second group of alien invaders, The Reach. 

Once Young Justice successfully sabotages this partnership, Artemis returns to the fold, and Dick welcomes Aqualad back as team leader with open arms. But as his friends return, another is lost. In their final mission against The Reach’s vindictive Black Beetle, Kid Flash sacrifices himself to save the Earth. While processing his grief, Nightwing resigns from Young Justice, assigning his duties to Batgirl.

 

Outsiders

Two years after Kid Flash’s sacrifice, Nightwing is targeting metahuman traffickers with assistance from the former Batgirl, Oracle, who is both his partner and his girlfriend. When a mission takes him to Markovia, Nightwing recruits his former teammates Superboy and Artemis -- now Tigress -- to accompany him. He also brings along Black Lightning, himself having recently resigned from the Justice League over a traumatic incident.

Over the next several missions, Nightwing finds himself mentoring a set of young stray heroes with nowhere else to go: Halo, a Quraci refugee bonded to the spirit of a Mother Box; Brion Markov, an exiled metahuman prince of Markovia; Forager, a disgraced former citizen of New Genesis; and Victor Stone, a once promising high school football player bonded to a Father Box. Though reluctant at first, Dick’s friends and former teammates convince him to take these “Outsiders” under his wing — and, with them, aid other unique individuals who feel equally astray.
 

Fun Facts

Shortly after writer Marv Wolfman and artist George Perez began featuring Robin in THE NEW TEEN TITANS, the BATMAN creative team wanted the character back in their own book. Wolfman suggested a "win-win" compromise: they'd create "Nightwing," a new identity for Dick Grayson, so a new character could take over the role of Robin in BATMAN. (Submitted by BWMorris)

 

Dick Grayson was one of three people in the world who could perform a quadruple somersault. In fact, this signature move was how a young Tim Drake, the eventual third Robin, was able to identify Dick as the original Robin. (Submitted by mightyblackdragon.80309)

 

Nightwing was ranked the #1 Sexiest Male Character in Comics by ComicsAlliance in 2013. (Submitted by c02goddess)

 

Nightwing was originally meant to die at the climax of 2005’s INFINITE CRISIS, but the creative team couldn't bring themselves to do it. Artist Phil Jimenez described Nightwing as "the soul, the linchpin, of the DCU." (Submitted by c02goddess)