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EXCLUSIVE CHAT WITH MYSTERY-TITAN

An Interview conducted by Alan Kistler
for The Brave & The Bold News Magazine

Nightwing
art by Daniel White

For years, reporters have tried to get an interview with the vigilante known as Nightwing, the most mysterious member of the team known as the Titans. So when Wally "The Flash" West contacted The Brave & The Bold to say that Nightwing had agreed to one brief interview, the building was abuzz with excitement. I was told that Nightwing wished to conduct the interview in my own office, after office hours. I agreed to this appointment and later sat at my desk patiently as everyone else punched out. Over an hour passed and I began to wonder if I'd been stood up when I heard a voice behind me ask if I could put out my cigarette. Startled, I whirled around to see Nightwing standing there behind me, having materialized out of nowhere like a modern-day Houdini. Without another word, he sat down in front of me and asked what I wanted to know.

THE BRAVE & THE BOLD: You've constantly avoided full interviews. Why let your gaurd down now?

NIGHTWING: Actually, I wasn't planning on speaking to any reporters, but Flash pulled me aside and convinced me to do it. He figured that with the formation of the new Titans, a brief interview with its one mystery-card, namely myself, would only help our PR.

B&B: Are you currently the leader of the Titans?

NW: We haven't really appointed any official leader. Out of habit, I end up giving orders more often than not during a battle. However, Jesse Quick has also been showing some leadership skills and I think she fills the role of field commander quite nicely.

B&B: Do you consider it unusual that the others easily accept you as leader, considering the fact that so many of the other wield formidable super-powers? And not only that, but aside from Jesse Quick, you're the only member with a secret identity.

NW: I don't think leadership abilities have anything to do with whether or not you can bench press a Buick. I like to think that my power lies in my mind. As for my secrets, well, I'm just sneaky that way.

B&B: When interviewing other heroes like Flamebird, Flash and Arsenal, each of them has loosely referred to you as one of the founding Titans. Yet, as far as the public knows, you didn't even make your costumed debut until sometime after the New Teen Titans was formed.

Nightwing
art by Bill Walko

NW: You've got a theory, I can tell.

B&B: The only founding Titan member who is unaccounted for would be the original Robin, who vanished soon before your debut. Are you the original Robin? Did you simply take a sabbatical and then change your identity?

NW: Interesting theory.

B&B: It's also been loosely mentioned by various individuals that you were trained by the Batman. Care to comment?

NW: Not really. Besides, don't a lot of people think he's just an urban myth?

B&B: Actually, our recent surveys show that only about 17% of the American populace believe that and most of them live in Gotham. Or rather, lived in Gotham before the recent congressional decisions. The rest of the public does believe in him, they merely debate his nature. No one can really agree whether he's an alien, a demon or some kind of voodoo priest. Certainly many of the people he's apprehended believe him to be supernatural.

NW: I don't blame them. Though because of that, unfortunately, most of the public fears and mistrusts him as much as the criminals. Wally once put it, "they see him as Spock to Superman's Capt. Kirk." I'm inclined to agree.

B&B: There's also a less popular rumor that the Batman is actually entirely human, simply trained to the peak of physical and mental stature. Care to comment on that?

NW: No.

B&B: But you do know him.

NW: [long pause] Yes. When I was younger I lost my family. He took me in, trained me to become what I am today. Rivaled only by Superman, he's the best there is.

B&B: That seems to be the contention of many heroes and villains. Tell me, you've frequently been seen in the presence of the second Robin, who was recently spotted in Keystone City. What are your thoughts on him?

NW: He's a good kid. Knows what he's doing. Very professional, very focused and very smart. I can see why Batman chose him.

B&B: He's been through a lot, reportedly. There was even a time when he was rumored to be dead, but he appeared again months later in his new costume. Would you know anything about that?

NW: No.

B&B: Let's talk about your teammates. How's your relationship with them?

NW: Wally's my best friend. The other founders feel like close siblings to me. Jesse is very efficient and dependable. Cyborg is an old friend I haven't seen in a long time and it's great to have him back on the team. Argent and Damage are a little nervous at times, but they're good kids. They have a lot of potential.

Nightwing and Starfire
art by Bob Riley

B&B: You mentioned everyone but Kory Anders a.k.a. Starfire.

NW: [pause] She's an excellent fighter and a loyal friend.

B&B: The JLA was formed to battle threats on a planetary scale. What is the role of the Titans?

NW: Well, we bring team efforts to smaller-scale things that the JLA might not notice. The H.I.V.E. for instance, is an organization that Superman or Batman might attempt to tackle on their own, during time between JLA meetings. But as Titans we make it our business to combat them together. The JLA is a club, with regular meetings but not much else. The Titans is a team. We hang out together, we have long conversations about our lives, we act like a family. Also, I see us as kind of the legacy bearers. Most of the founders had the great fortune of being taught by the best of the best: Oliver Queen, Barry Allen, Aquaman and Batman. But while we bring both experience and maturity to our younger heroes in training, we're also still young enough ourselves that we aren't overbearing or overwhelming to them.

B&B: So you admit you were a founder?

NW: You're very persistent, aren't you?

B&B: What do you think of the new team Young Justice? Aren't they kind of redundant with the Titans around now to teach younger heroes?

NW: Not at all. The Titans have kid heroes who want to learn from other young heroes who just happen to have more experience. They chose to join and learn from us. Young Justice is a group of kid heroes who have decided to figure things out on their own, through their experiences with each other and through their own mistakes. They're really what the original Teen Titans was intended to be. [grins] Although, thankfully, with both Robin and Red Tornado on the team, I don't have to worry about them getting so out of control that Impulse and Superboy might blow up a building while roughhousing.

Nightwing
art by Bill Walko

B&B: You used to operate in Gotham and New York. Why the move to Blüdhaven?

NW: Blüdhaven is what Gotham would've become if Jim Gordon and the Batman hadn't both shown up about ten years ago. It's a cesspool of corruption and abuse. So, naturally, I took to it.

B&B: You think you can clean up the town and rid it of corruption?

NW: No, I'm not that naive. I just think I can make a difference. And maybe by my example, other people there will begin fighting too. [pauses briefly] You're time's almost up.

B&B: One last question. You said the Batman trained you. He's believed by many to be able to wield some kind of black magic. Do YOU have any magical powers that you keep hidden, so that your enemies will underestimate you when they think you're only a human vigilante?

NW: If that were the case, [grins] do you think I'd actually tell you?

All characters are ™ DC Comics
This column is © 1999 by Alan Kistler.
All artwork is © 1999 by their respective artists.

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