by John Wells
Believe it or not, the feud between Bruce Wayne and Dick Grayson was originally supposed to have been a short-lived event, a subplot that ran concurrently in Marv Wolfman's first issues of The New Teen Titans (# 1, 4) and Batman (# 330-335) in 1980. Wolfman reconciled Bruce and Dick before leaving Batman, paving the way for their full-fledged reunion at the end of 1981 (Batman # 344). The next year's run of Batman and Detective Comics marked the first extended pairing of the duo since Dick's 1969 departure for college in Batman # 217.
The introduction of Jason Todd changed the equation again. Dick reached a crossroads, choosing to abandon his Robin persona (New Teen Titans # 39) and give Jason his blessing in succeeding him. It was a touching moment, as the two former partners misted over and Bruce thanked Dick "for all the years for everything" (Batman # 368, 1983). Now featured exclusively in The New Teen Titans, Dick adopted the new identity of Nightwing (Tales of the Teen Titans # 44, 1984).
Crisis On Infinite Earths gave DC the opportunity to alter the histories of their heroes as they saw fit and, in the case of Batman, it was decided that establishing Jason Todd as an orphaned circus kid made his origin too similar to Dick Grayson's. The result was Batman # 408 and 416, which recast Jason as a street kid in the mold of Junior Tracy (it was no coincidence that issue # 408 was written by Dick Tracy scripter Max Allan Collins) and presented an unlikely scenario for the break-up of Batman and the original Robin.
It seems that Robin, after years as Batman's partner, was seriously wounded (something that had never happened before to judge from his mentor's reaction) and Bruce insisted that he not return to to action. Virtually snubbed by Bruce, Dick left Wayne Manor (with money forced on him by Alfred), eventually joining the Titans and becoming Nightwing. The latter issue indicated that they hadn't spoken to one another in years. The war between Bruce Wayne and Dick Grayson took on a life of its own after that.
As time wore on, it became increasingly apparently that, not unlike pre-Crisis issues, Dick had already been operating with the Teen Titans for some time before his split with the Dark Knight. Marv Wolfman, who was Dick Grayson's primary writer for well over a decade, never quite adjusted to the revisions and continued to refer to the old history, if rather obliquely. On more than one occasion, Dick Grayson agonized over giving Jason his Robin costume and made it sound as if the youngster had actually worn it. In Batman # 416's post-Crisis account, the gesture was more symbolic. The costume was an adult model and far too large for the second Boy Wonder. In The New Titans # 56, Wolfman also acknowledged the conversation between Dick and Bruce at Donna Troy's wedding in which Natalia Knight's adoption of Jason Todd was discussed (Tales of the Teen Titans # 50).
More recently, in 1999's Nightwing Secret Files # 1, Chuck Dixon sidestepped the subject of Batman # 408 and 416 entirely when he dealt with the break-up. Given the ham-handed manner in which the split was handled in those two stories, with events dictated by plot rather than character, one can hardly blame him.
In the following chronology, I've attempted to place the break-up of Bruce Wayne and Dick Grayson in context with the other events in their lives. I discovered that keeping the pre-Crisis Batman stories of 1980-1984 as part of the canon actually made everything gel. Particularly nice is Dick Grayson's unexplained emotional turmoil in New Teen Titans # 28-34. Originally, his distress was caused by his role in the death of Jason Todd's parents. In the revised history, he was upset about Batman's demand that he give up his Robin persona.
Obviously, many of the pre-Crisis stories didn't occur in precisely the same way in the current DCU history though I haven't attempted to document those differences here. There's no need to write in to point out, for instance, that Jason Todd had cameos in New Teen Titans (first series) # 33 and 37 or that he attended Terra's funeral (Teen Titans Annual # 3).
I've tried to adhere to DC's current twelve year timeline in this chronology but, for those of you who disagree with it, feel free to ignore the "x Years Ago" headings.
At some point in the future, after Robin: Year One has been published, I hope to complete the Dick Grayson timeline. In the meantime, enjoy!
7 YEARS AGO:
"The Batman was right! It's very hard to run a love-life when crime-fighting is in your blood." -- Robin (Detective Comics # 492, 1980; dialogue by Jack C. Harris).
Dick Grayson, depressed over his split with Lori Elton (Batman Family # 18; Detective # 483), becomes romantically involved with Barbara Gordon (suggested by a photo in Nightwing # 43), who is in a similar funk over her recent loss in the November elections (Detective # 487). Dick subsequently begins a half-hearted relationship with Hudson University classmate Jennifer Anne (Detective # 488, 490-495).
A Wayne Foundation secretary takes it upon himself to have Dick shadowed by a bodyguard rather than risk the welfare of the heir to the Wayne fortune. Lucius Fox pulls the plug on the operation (Detective # 493) but the thought that he's in college only to train as Bruce's successor at the helm of the business empire begins to grate on Dick. With his duties as Robin increasingly taking precedence in his life, Dick drops out of Hudson University (Detective # 495) and moves back to Gotham, initiating a dispute between him and Bruce (The New Teen Titans (first series) # 1).
"It's not that I don't think of you as an adult, Dick. It's -- "
"That's just what it is, Bruce. You can't get over thinking of me as a kid, as Robin, the Boy Wonder. Well, I'm not a boy wonder anymore, Bruce. I'm a full-grown man, a detective, just like you." -- Dick Grayson, responding to Bruce Wayne (Batman # 331, 1980; dialogue by Michael Fleisher, based on a Marv Wolfman plot).
A mysterious woman named Raven recruits Robin (DC Comics Presents # 26) and others to fight on her behalf as a new incarnation of the Teen Titans (New Teen Titans # 1).
Starfire a.k.a. Koriand'r, a newly rescued princess from the planet Tamaran (NTT # 1), learns English through physical contact with an Earthman -- she gives a passionate kiss to Robin (NTT # 2).
The Titans battle Deathstroke the Terminator, who takes a contract to capture the team on behalf of the shadow organization known as the H.I.V.E. (NTT # 2).
Psimon brainwashes the Titans into attacking the Justice League. Batman's direct confrontation with the Teen Wonder over the fact that he's being manipulated only makes Robin more defiant (NTT # 4).
After the Titans defeat Trigon (NTT # 5-6) and the Fearsome Five (NTT # 7), Robin returns to Gotham. Batman's new alliance with Talia sends Dick into a rage and Robin storms out of the Wayne Foundation penthouse (Batman # 330-331).
Batman and Robin reunite to defeat Ra's al Ghul. Afterwards, Bruce and Dick declare a truce (Batman # 332-335).
Batgirl and Robin join forces to track down the Scarecrow after the Batman is injected with a drug that causes all around him to quake in fear (Detective # 503).
Dick returns to his acrobatic roots when he makes a guest appearance at the Hill's Circus while Robin investigates a murder there (Batman # 337-339).
Dick cools Starfire's romantic interest in him, telling her that he regards her as just a friend (NTT # 16).
Dick enrolls at Gotham University (Detective # 511) but his seduction by the vampiric Dala (Batman # 346, 349-351; Detective # 515, 517-518) and his frequent adventures with the Titans (NTT # 17-20) take their toll on his studies. "When the semester ended, the school asked me not to come back" (Batman # 416).
6 YEARS AGO:
"With you guys, it seems like I'm hot stuff a know-it-all but I've been back with The Batman again, and next to him I feel like I'm a stupid kid repeating fifth grade for the third time." -- Robin (New Teen Titans # 20, 1982; dialogue by Marv Wolfman).
Robin impersonates Batman to capture a pair of conmen but is reduced to a bumbling amateur when he discovers Matches Malone (Batman's underworld alter-ego) trying to execute a sting on the same crooks (Batman # 353). When Bruce is shot during a political crisis in Gotham, Dick assumes the mantle of the Bat again and performs admirably, exposing the corrupting influence of former councilman Rupert Thorne (Batman # 354). His partner's radically different performance in the two cases coupled with the rebelliousness and restlessness of the past year convince Bruce that Batman's presence and Dick's Robin persona are holding the young man back from his full potential.
The Teen Titans' infiltration of the cult of Brother Blood falls apart. The team is captured and Robin, in possession of "information that might be of importance," is singled out for a vicious inquisition. Robin refuses to succumb to the Confessor and helps the Titans escape but the group is the subject of scathing news coverage when they are accused of an assassination attempt on Blood (NTT # 21-23). Unknown to all, Robin's inquisition represented the first phase in brainwashing him (revealed in NTT (second series) # 22).
On the heels of the Brother Blood debacle, Starfire is abducted by her sister Blackfire and the Titans join the Omega Men in an interstellar rescue mission (NTT # 23-25; NTT Annual # 1). On their return to Earth, Robin admits to Koriand'r that he has fallen in love with her (NTT # 26)
In the wake of a drug bust that resulted in the death of a child (NTT # 27), Robin realizes that it was the anniversary of his parents' death (Nightwing Secret Files # 1). A melancholy Dick Grayson returns to Gotham.
Dick: "Fine. If you want Robin to stay dead, that's okay with me. But you've trained me too well -- made me what I am. You can't keep me from pursuing my own destiny -- "
Bruce: "That's one thing I've learned, Dick -- a man might as well pursue his destiny because it'll catch him, if he doesn't." -- Robin and Batman (Batman # 408, 1987; dialogue by Max Allan Collins).
Robin has the latest close call of his career when the Joker shoots him in the shoulder and leaves him unconscious. A sensationalistic news broadcast claims that the Teen Wonder has died and Batman, his recent thoughts regarding Dick's potential coalescing, seizes on the report as an opportunity. Rather than suggest an alternate identity for Dick outright and be rejected, Batman decides to provoke him by insisting that Robin stay dead (Batman # 408). Fuming for days, Dick ultimately makes his exit from the Batcave -- still clad in his Robin outfit (Nightwing Secret Files # 1).
Tired and depressed, Dick meets Koriand'r at her apartment in New York City, where (it is inferred) they make love for the first time (NTT # 28; NTT (second series) # 1 is the first to explicitly depict them in bed together). Withholding the news of Batman's ultimatum from his teammates, Dick moves into Titans Tower and throws himself into a ferocious exercise program to the great concern of the other Titans (NTT # 29).
In Gotham, Batman discovers a homeless kid named Jason Todd, whom he decides to cast as a new Robin (Batman # 408-409), a decision motivated as much by the Dark Knight's loneliness (Batman # 416) as his concern for the boy's welfare if left on the streets (Batman # 410).
Unaware of the events transpiring in Gotham, Dick reluctantly acquiesces to the Dark Knight's wishes and maintains a low profile over the coming weeks (NTT # 29-34). Robin is again brought into the spotlight when an assassination attempt on New York District Attorney Adrian Chase and his family exposes Chase's partnership with the Teen Wonder and their efforts at terrorizing reputed mobster Anthony Scarapeli. At the crimelord's estate, Robin is subsequently found wounded and unconscious, the victim of a firefight between the Vigilante (alias Adrian Chase) and Scarapeli that left the mobster dead (NTT Annual # 2).
A team-up between Batman's Outsiders and Robin's Teen Titans reveals that Terra and the Outsiders' Geo-Force are siblings (NTT # 37; Batman and The Outsiders # 5). Afterwards, the Dark Knight repeats his demand that Dick abandon his current alter-ego. Dick senses that Batman is grooming a replacement for him but agrees to comply (Nightwing Secret Files # 1).
Coming to terms with the upheaval in his life, Dick officially retires his costume before the astonished Titans, leaving alongside a retiring Wally (Kid Flash) West. In the process, Dick reveals his real name to new member Terra, secretly a spy for Deathstroke (NTT # 39).
Superman plays sounding board for Dick and offers the story of a legendary Kryptonian hero named Nightwing "who was cast out of his family as you were." Smiling, Dick admits he likes the sound of the name (Nightwing Secret Files # 1).
[Editor's note: This scene is in homage to the pre-Crisis Superman characters Nightwing and Flamebird; thus, Superman and Batman still provide the major influences in the creation of the Nightwing I.D. However, chronologically this scene might be happening before Superman's own discovery of his alien heritage! But Superman and Batman's history were slightly rewritten during the "Silver Age" Event, so it could be that Superman learned of his Kryptonian heritage earlier. It's close enough to let it slide.]
In Gotham, Jason Todd makes his debut as Robin (Batman # 410). The revelation that Two-Face killed his father leaves Jason reeling but he rallies and helps defeat the villain (Batman # 411). The news of Robin's "return" also attracts the attention of one of the original's enemies, Crazy Quilt, who attacks the Boy Wonder under the mistaken assumption that he is the person who blinded him (Batman # 368; Detective # 535).
Still grappling with the selection of his new alter-ego, Dick is in the country of Zandia during Robin's debut. Attempting to infiltrate Brother Blood's base in that nation, he is recognized by Blood's forces and captured. Reenforcing Dick's earlier mental conditioning, Brother Blood commands "Robin" to kill the captured Titans. Unable to carry out the demand, Dick snaps out of his trance and the assembled heroes escape (NTT # 40; Tales of the Teen Titans # 41).
"The Batman taught me, guided me, trained me. What I am I owe to him. What more can I say? And Superman. I grew up in your shadow, too. You taught me honor, selflessness, and the true meaning of the word 'hero.' I'm the sum of so many people who have influenced me, shaped my thinking, and given me love. Mom and Dad, you were the first what you gave me will never leave. It's forever locked in my heart and in my soul. Batman, you took in a young, frightened boy. And you showed him how to become a good man. Kory, it's so funny. I spent the better part of last year fighting to forget what made me me. I almost alienated everyone, but you stuck by me and I love you for that. I gave up being Robin because that tied me to Batman. But now I become someone new who commemorates all those who made me someone special." -- Dick Grayson (Tales of the Teen Titans # 44, 1984; dialogue by Wolfman).
Deathstroke and Terra finally move against the Titans, attacking and subduing each of the heroes. The lone Titan to escape, Dick forms an alliance with Deathstroke's ex-wife, Adeline Kane, and son, Joseph Wilson (TotTT # 43). Dick finally unveils his new heroic persona -- Nightwing -- and joins Joseph (alias the super-powered Jericho) in a raid on the H.I.V.E. outpost where the Titans are imprisoned (TotTT # 44). The ensuing battle leaves the H.I.V.E. base in ruins, Deathstroke in custody and the traitorous Terra dead. At her funeral, attended by both the Titans and the Outsiders, Batman sees Dick as Nightwing for the first time (Teen Titans Annual # 3).
"You figured the best thing to do was drive me out of your life, right? That's exactly what you do to anyone who gets too close to you, Bruce! Always hurt them before they get the chance to hurt you! It didn't matter to you that I didn't have any life other than the one we shared. You're really some piece of work, aren't you?" -- Nightwing (Batman # 416, 1987; dialogue by Jim Starlin).
While reading the newspaper, Dick is stunned by the news that a new Robin is operating in Gotham City and decides to check out the new kid for himself. During Dick's synopsis of his activities since his shooting by the Joker, Batman expresses amusement at the chronological errors and Dick's forgetfulness over the fact that the Dark Knight had met the Titans. Unaware of the mental forces at war in Dick's brain caused by Brother Blood, Batman fails to give the inaccuracies the importance they deserve. The angry exchange ends with Bruce's insistence that Dick leave the Batcave at once. Tracking down Robin, Nightwing gives Jason his old Robin costume and his phone number ("I've been where you're at and I'm a good listener.") while Batman, observing from a distance smiles with approval (Batman # 416).
In a quiet moment at the wedding reception of Donna Troy and Terry Long, Bruce and Dick speak briefly. Having temporarily lost custody of Jason (Batman # 378), a melancholy Bruce tells his old partner that "I couldn't have loved any son more. I know I haven't said it much, but I'm proud of you" (Tales of the Teen Titans # 50).
When the Vigilante displays a greater capacity for violence, Nightwing confronts Adrian Chase only to discover that the former District Attorney has abandoned the role and that a stranger has taken it for his own (Vigilante # 20-21).
A celestial event destined to be known as the Great Crisis strikes Earth simultaneously with a request for Starfire to return to Tamaran immediately (NTT (second series) # 13). An apprehensive Nightwing insists on accompanying her (# 14) and his worst fears are realized when he learns that Koriand'r must marry a Tamaranian named Karras to cement a pact between warring nations (# 15). Dick gives Kory an ultimatum -- "Marry him and its over between us" -- but she resolves to abide by her people's wishes (# 16) and weds Karras (# 17). Having reached an impasse, Dick returns to Earth (# 18).
Desperate for advice, a haggard Dick Grayson arrives at Wayne Manor, snapping at Alfred before his problems are put on hold by Batman, preparing to rush with Robin to the location of a kidnapped youngster (NTT (second series)# 18). A confrontation with Donna Troy escalates into a full-fledged brawl between Nightwing and Wonder Girl. While Dick heads off on a solo mission to rescue Raven from the forces of Brother Blood, Donna organizes a back-up force of Titans that includes Jason Todd (# 19).
Dick makes it into Blood's stronghold (# 21) only to be captured and brainwashed once more. "For the past year, he has fought his conditioning. He has rebelled. His mind is in turmoil. He is confused by the forces at our command and he lashes out at all around him as a result of his mental battle" (# 22).
Elsewhere, Starfire decides to return to Earth (# 23; Teen Titans Spotlight # 1-2) and joins the Titans in finally ending the threat of Brother Blood. During the climactic battle, Nightwing repeatedly breaks free of his programming and is finally given a death sentence before the Titans rescue him (# 28-30). With Blood's defeat, Nightwing returns to the team and Jason Todd leaves for Gotham City. Records in Brother Blood's citadel reveal the long-term mental hold that the villain had on Dick Grayson, "explain(ing) a lot about the past months" (# 31).
Dick also reconciles with Kory to a degree but refuses to resume their romantic relationship (# 31) until Raven serves as a mediator and brings the lovers back together (# 34).
Mark (Blockbuster) Desmond joins the Suicide Squad in the hope that a cure can be found for his condition. Instead, Blockbuster is burned to death by Brimstone on the team's first mission (Legends # 3).
Nightwing and the Titans join the Blue Beetle in fighting the Hybrid (Blue Beetle # 11-14) prior to the final defeat of Mento (NTT (second series) # 34).
"You molded me and taught me, Bruce. For years, I lived under the shadow of The Batman. I wanted to get away, to be my own man. Yet, when I chose a costume and a name, they reflected you. You're a part of me, Bruce. I can't deny it. And I don't want to any longer. I just wanted you to know that. That, and one other thing -- I'm proud to have been Robin." -- Nightwing (Teen Titans Spotlight # 14, 1987; dialogue by Michael Reaves).
Alfred calls Dick for help when Batman vanishes while in pursuit of drug traffickers. Nightwing rescues the Dark Knight but his cold response ("I knew you'd find me. Though you did cut it a bit close.") stuns Dick. Determined not to leave on that note, Nightwing passionately thanks Bruce for the positive influence that he had on his life. Batman betrays the hint of a smile as Dick leaves (Teen Titans Spotlight # 14).
While Kory pressures Dick to move in with her (NTT (second series) # 35-36), the Wildebeest attempts to frame Starfire for murder and leaves Nightwing severely injured (# 36). A battered Nightwing rises from his hospital bed to clear Kory's name (# 37). Just as Dick and Kory finally begin living together, they learn that Raven has fallen in love with Nightwing as well. Once she analyzes her feelings, Raven realizes that she has misinterpreted her newfound emotions (# 39).
Nightwing and Robin share another adventure together (Batgirl Special # 1).
5 YEARS AGO:
Barbara Gordon is left a paraplegic after being gunned down by the Joker in an assault at her home (Batman: The Killing Joke).
Alongside the Titans, Nightwing faces threats such as the Children of the Sun (New Teen Titans # 45-46; Annual # 4), the Wildebeest (# 47), Hammer and Sickle (# 48-49) and Muse (NTT Annual # 4). He also helps Speedy bring Cheshire to justice and leaves their daughter, Lian, in Roy Harper's custody (Action Comics Weekly # 613-618). Soon after, Nightwing and Speedy share another adventure in Ireland (# 627, 631-634).
Nightwing discovers that years earlier, when the Green Lantern known as Abin Sur crashed on Earth, Dick Grayson was one of the candidates that his emerald ring selected to be his successor (Action Comics Weekly # 642).
The Titans head into space to aid the Titans of myth and learn the true origin of Wonder Girl (The New Titans # 50-55). While the team is off-planet, Jason Todd is murdered by the Joker (Batman # 428) and Earth is threatened with an alien invasion (Invasion! # 1-3).
Upon his return to Earth, Nightwing is left in a state of shock by the news of Jason's death. Dick angrily berates Bruce for allowing Jason to be Robin only to have Bruce lash back, punching him in the jaw. Tears streaming down his cheeks, Bruce finally declares that "I don't need a partner. I never should have had one. And I never will again" (TNT # 55).
This latest confrontation coupled with a false report of Batman's own death (Batman # 433) lead Dick to take a leave of absence from the Titans and seek out a therapist named Doctor Parker. He reveals his first name to her as well as numerous details about his life with Batman and the Titans (mentioned in Secret Origins Annual # 3 and seen in TNT # 57). Now more protective of his secret identity, Dick begins dating Kory in a series of disguises so that no one will connect Nightwing with Dick Grayson when they see him dating Starfire (Secret Origins Annual # 3).
The detonation of the gene bomb during the alien invasion has an adverse affect on Roland Desmond, the imprisoned brother of Blockbuster. Steroid treatments react with his genetically altered cell structure to transform him into a new Blockbuster and Batman and Starman bring the villain to justice (Starman (first series) # 9-10).
"When I'm with Batman, I'm a mass of insecurities. No matter how much I try, I can never be as good as he is. No, that's not it. That's just easy for me to say. I can lay blame that way. Am I learning, Doctor?
"I guess part of it is that in the early days things were so good. I looked up to him almost as if he were a god. He was brilliant. He was physically perfect. Everything about him seemed as if it couldn't possibly be better. Then, after Robin died, I saw, to use the cliche, Doctor -- I saw Batman had feet of clay. I went to see him. To ask him why he didn't let me know about Robin. He didn't like being confronted.
"I don't know if there's anything worse than realizing your parents are less than perfect. It makes you wonder about yourself maybe more than you should. I have a tendency toward self-blame. I gave Robin my old costume, so I felt guilt over his death, as if without me, he would still be alive. Don't look at me that way, Doctor. I know the truth, at least intellectually .
"Why do I keep coming back to the Gargoyle? In that nightmare, he blamed me for Robin's death, and for my parents' death. And I guess somewhere in the back of my mind is a ten-year-old's guilt that maybe it was my fault." -- Dick Grayson (The New Titans # 57, 1989; dialogue by Marv Wolfman).
The Teen Titans' earliest foes, Antithesis and the Gargoyle, join forces from their prison in Limbo to torment Dick Grayson in his dreams and avenge their defeat by crushing his spirit. Faced with an onslaught of negative imagery and accusations, Nightwing escapes the trap thanks to Lilith, Raven and Jericho adding their mental strength to his (Secret Origins Annual # 3).
Doctor Parker convinces Dick to find Bruce and talk out their problems once and for all (TNT # 57; Batman # 436). Nightwing discovers that the tormented Batman has nearly gone over the edge, becoming irrational and ultra-violent (# 437). Dick reluctantly leaves to help the Titans in their latest clash with the Wildebeest (TNT # 58-59).
Returning to Gotham, Nightwing learns that Anthony Zucco, the man indirectly responsible for his parents' deaths, is being released from prison. Watching alongside Batman, Dick is stunned when a gunman aboard a helicopter opens fire as Zucco leaves jail and kills the mobster (Batman # 438). The horrified Nightwing realizes that Batman knew the hit was going to happen and did nothing to prevent it (# 439).
Unable to reach his former partner, Dick returns to the financially strapped Haly Bros. Circus (Batman # 440) and taps into his bank account to become its co-owner. At the circus, Dick is confronted by a boy named Tim Drake who reveals that he knows his true identity and begs the Titan to help the beleaguered Dark Knight: "Dick, don't you see -- he needs Robin. He needs him to remember what he used to be. Before his parents died" (TNT # 60).
A glimpse of Batman on the night that Dick's parents were killed left Tim with "nightmares about it for years. First about your parents, then about Batman." (The dreams eventually evolved to depict Batman meeting Dick at the circus -- Batman # 436 -- rather than later, as events actually occurred -- Robin Annual # 4). When he was nine, Tim saw a TV clip of Robin in action and recognized him as the young acrobat he'd seen in his dreams. Become obsessed with Batman and Robin, Tim eventually deduced most of the major details of the Dynamic Duo's lives (Batman # 441).
Tim's insistence that Dick resume his Robin alter-ego fall on deaf ears and Nightwing joins Batman in trying to defeat Two-Face. When both heroes are buried in a structural collapse, Alfred and Tim decide to come to their rescue (TNT # 61). Arriving on the scene dressed as Robin, Tim deflects an attack by Two-Face with Alfred's aid and helps free the two heroes. Speaking to Batman, Tim manages to make a persuasive argument for the necessity of Robin in the Dark Knight's life and pulls Batman back from the edge of madness. Bruce stops short of handing the Robin identity to Tim, commenting that "I'm not making any commitments. I want to take this one day at a time. But if you're willing to try -- we'll try" (Batman # 442).
At Batman's request, Tim pays a visit to Dick for his first class in crimefighting and meets the Titans in the process (TNT # 64-65).
4 YEARS AGO:
The Titans join Starfire in a return to Tamaran that climaxes with the death of Karras (TNT Annual # 6).
The Obeah Man kills Tim Drake's mother and leaves his father comatose (Detective # 621). Dick is among those offering support at Janet Drake's funeral (Batman # 455). Within days, Tim rescues Batman from the Scarecrow and formally takes the persona of Robin as his own (Batman # 457). Alerted by Alfred that Tim has "made the grade," Nightwing travels to Gotham and finds his successor at the grounds where the Haly Circus had stood years earlier. In a symbolic gesture, Tim buries mementos of his childhood there, noting that "I wanted to leave some of me behind just like you did" (Batman 80-Page Giant # 2).
"You are lovely, Kory. Not just beautiful. I don't think I tell you enough how I feel about you. I'm just not as free with my emotions as you are. Which is probably why you're good for me I spent my first eighteen years living with Batman, learning how to contain my feelings. Three years with Kory's changing all of that. I used to crack jokes, but now I actually find things funny .
"Hard to imagine me without the Titans, either. I think the Titans helped define me. I was always the bottom half of Batman and Now I'm Nightwing, myself. No junior partner. Whatever I do from now on is my choice. It's scary sometimes. But it's always a lot easier to let others tell you what to do. Don't quite feel like an adult yet, but I think I've grown up I certainly don't make decisions rashly anymore. And I wouldn't quit college today just to rebel against Bruce. Fortunately, some mistakes can be fixed .
"Yeah, I'm grown up, but I still don't know what I'm going to do when I'm really grown up . Doctor, lawyer, indian chief? They all sound good to me. What do I do when I take off my costume? If I were Batman, I'd become Bruce Wayne, professional cypher. I think he'd give up being Bruce in a second if he thought Batman could go out during the day. I can't. I need my normal life. Bats need the night. Robins need light." -- Dick Grayson (The New Titans # 71, 1990; dialogue by Wolfman -- the "eighteen years" reference is obviously in error).
The upswing in Dick's life is derailed when the Wildebeest Society begins kidnapping past and present members of the Teen Titans (TNT # 71). The war rages for weeks (# 72-82) before the leader of the Society, a possessed Jericho is killed by his own father, Deathstroke (# 83-84). Golden Eagle (# 72) Arella and Danny Chase (# 84) also perished, Cyborg was left a virtual automaton (# 77) and Raven vanished altogether (# 84).
In the wake of her torture, Kory remains distant from Dick, who takes out some of his frustrations in a brawl with Deathstroke (# 86).
Nightwing goes to Gotham to join Robin when he learns that Batman has been confined in Arkham Asylum (Batman: Shadow of The Bat # 1-2). Commissioner Gordon confirms to Dick that it was a set-up arranged for Batman to determine how Mister Zsasz was escaping to commit a series of murderous. An almost playful Dick, temporarily relieved of the burdens of his Titans leadership, helps the Dark Knight expose Zsasz (# 3-4).
3 YEARS AGO:
Starfire is replaced by the shapeshifter Mirage, who becomes the lover of the unwitting Nightwing (# 87-90). Kory eventually escapes (Deathstroke # 14) but is furious that Dick failed to notice the substitution (TNT # 90).
A merchandising deal results in the Titans become the stars of animated cartoons (Titans Sell-Out Special # 1), comic books and a line of action figures -- including Nightwing (TNT # 93).
The feud between Dick, Kory and Mirage is interrupted by news of Superman's death (TNT # 94). Nightwing and Starfire are among the honor guard at the Man of Steel's funeral (Superman: The Man of Steel # 20).
In order to court Starfire in his true identity, Dick arranges for Nightwing (a.k.a. Mirage) to fight him for Kory's hand in full view of celebrity photographers, effectively eliminating the risk of someone deducing that they were the same person (TNT # 96). Soon after, Kory accepts Dick's marriage proposal (# 99).
"I just want to get married. That'll make everything fine. Y'know, Donna's wedding went so smooth. Bruce isn't coming, and I can tell everyone thinks I'm doing the wrong thing. I just don't get it, Roy. Things used to be so simple, so clear so black and white. When did the world become so gray?" -- Dick Grayson (The New Titans # 100, 1993, dialogue by Wolfman).
Dick and Kory's wedding is preceded by protesters arguing against human-alien marriages, misgivings about the union from other Titans and the news that Batman has been gravely injured by Bane. The ceremony itself becomes a bloodbath when a demonic Raven and her pawns attack. Raven implants her "seed" within Starfire and an unconscious Kory is rushed to S.T.A.R. Labs for treatment (TNT # 100).
With Dick's attention focussed on Kory, the government agency Checkmate takes control of the Titans and appoints Roy (Arsenal) Harper as its leader (TNT # 101).
2 YEARS AGO:
Kory recovers (TNT # 105) and she and Dick visit Wally West and Linda Park in Keystone City (Flash # 81-83).
Thanks to Oracle and Robin, Dick finally gets details regarding Bane's assault on Batman and learns that Jean Paul Valley has been designated by Bruce as his replacement (Batman # 500). A call from Alfred prompts Nightwing to fill-in for Batman on a mission with the Justice League Task Force (JLTF # 1-3). Referring to herself as "another step-child of the Bat," the Huntress uses Oracle to contact Nightwing for help in rescuing Black Canary from Symitar (Black Canary # 10-11). Robin also requests Dick's aid for a mission in New York (Showcase '93 # 11-12).
Starfire suffers a relapse and, in a dream state, undergoes Tamaran's rite of Kynasf'rr. The ritual enables her to renew her warrior spirit, shaking off the feelings of anxiety and inadequacy that had been building for months (TNT # 108-109). Dick trails Kory to South America but discovers that she no longer remembers him (# 110-111). Dick finally comes to terms with the fact that their relationship has ended and decides to formally leave the Titans (# 113). His marriage to Kory is quietly annulled.
"I don't think until now I ever truly accepted what a good life I've had. Most people tell me they're content with maybe one close friend or two. People you can trust, friends you can confide in, tell your fears to, cry beside. But I've had so many good friends who held my hand when I needed them to, or gave me my space when I wanted it. And I've grown up still knowing and loving them even when they went their own way. They trusted me. They let me lead them. I only pray I did right by them.
"Hard to tell sometimes. We've been through so much, seen so much, done so much. Maybe more than anyone should. Most of the people I knew in high school just graduated from college. Each day brings them something different. Getting out on their own, moving into that new apartment They're looking forward to life. And I've seen so much death .
"I've been trying to ignore their deaths instead of remembering them. Because when I remember, I also remember my parents. And I remember being so alone when they died sitting in the Batcave, in the dark, crying for months until I didn't have any tears left to cry. And I was so angry with myself I promised I wouldn't ever cry again. But it's not weak to cry or to feel or to miss those I love. And God, I miss them all so much.
"I I was their leader. I shouldn't have led them into battles they couldn't win. I shouldn't have let them die. But I didn't. And I didn't admit how much their deaths affected me, so I pretended they never happened. But of course they did, and hiding it from myself didn't change that.
"So I got crazier and I got more demanding, and I ordered everyone around and I went I went nuts. It's as simple and as complicated as that. I must've acted like a real jerk around Kory. Then that Mirage thing happened. I was so self-absorbed I didn't even know I wasn't with Kory. No wonder she left. Kory's always been strong. She knew what was right for her even if I didn't know what was right for me. But I have a better idea now .
"Parents, friends and lovers, you taught me, helped me, nursed me and cared for me . Nightwing's got his act together. He's still going to do what he can to keep the world from spinning into chaos but Dick Grayson needs some time to figure out what he wants. I want you to be proud of me, but even more important -- I want to be proud of myself. It may be a couple of days or weeks or even months, but I'll see you guys soon. Till then -- I love you." -- Dick Grayson (The New Titans # 114, 1994; dialogue by Wolfman).
With the mad Jean Paul Valley running rampant in Gotham, Bruce Wayne asks Nightwing and Robin to join him in defeating the substitute Batman (Batman: Shadow of The Bat # 29). Nightwing alters his look slightly, pulling his long hair back as a pony tail. In the next few days, Dick meets the new Batcave handyman, Harold (Detective # 676), and faces Lady Shiva for the first time (Robin # 8). During the climactic confrontation with Jean Paul (Batman # 510; Batman: Shadow of The Bat # 30), Nightwing fights to a draw with the rogue Batman (Detective # 677) but it is the true Batman who takes down the pretender (Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight # 63).
Starfire's memories return but, like Dick, she recognizes that their romance has ended and decides to return to Tamaran (TNT # 114).
Dick rejects an offer to join the government-sanctioned New Titans (TNT # 114) but privately muscles Checkmate's Sarge Steel to ensure that the group is treated fairly (TNT # 0).
While a recovering Bruce Wayne takes a sabbatical, Dick takes over the role of The Batman (Robin # 0) and faces villains such as Killer Croc (Batman # 512), the Ventriloquist (Batman: Shadow of The Bat # 32), the Ratcatcher (Detective # 679) and the Tally Man (Batman: Shadow of The Bat # 34) for the first time as well as having another round with Two-Face (Robin # 11; Batman # 513; Batman: Shadow of The Bat # 33; Detective # 680). During the same period, Dick also offers his support when Barbara Gordon is threatened by a stalker (Showcase '94 # 12).
Bruce's return sparks a long overdue conversation between him and his former partner that effectively ends the feud between Batman and Nightwing (Robin # 13).
Dick: "You left Gotham in the care of Jean Paul. You hardly knew him. And what you did know didn't exactly recommend him for the job. You left Tim alone with a lunatic. The kid could have been killed."
Bruce: "There wasn't time."
Dick: "No time to pick up a phone? No time to call me?"
Bruce: "It wasn't that easy. You know it wasn't. I didn't know your situation. I knew you were working through some problems "
Dick: "Yeah. 'Problems.' And I thought there was one guy who's have faith in me. But when it comes down to the test, you picked somebody else to succeed you. A stranger."
Bruce: "I never knew you wanted to follow me as The Batman."
Dick: "Well I've thought about it."
Bruce: "You left before we could ever discuss it. I assumed you wanted to get out from under my shadow. Make a name for yourself. You've done that. Created a life. Fought your own fights. I didn't have the right to call you back."
Dick: " the right? I'd die for you, Bruce."
Bruce: "But I couldn't ask you to. I didn't know how to Look, this is the part I'm not good at. You reached an age where you couldn't be the boy wonder anymore. You outgrew it. A distance grew between us. I left so many things unsaid. I handled it all wrong. But that's the way it always is, isn't it?"
Dick: "I don't know what you mean. The way what always is?"
Bruce: "Between fathers and sons." -- Batman and Nightwing (Robin # 13, 1994; dialogue by Chuck Dixon).
After helping Batman during a gang war involving King Snake and Lynx (Detective # 686), Nightwing travels to London to convince the absent Alfred Pennyworth to return to Gotham City (Nightwing: Alfred's Return # 1).
Dick tells Bruce that wearing the mantle of the Bat made him realize "that I'm not you. I was never you. I don't want to be you." Handing Batman his costume, Dick announces his resignation "from the hero business." Alfred expresses his approval but, ironically, provides Dick with documents that bring him back into action. The papers suggest his parents may have been murdered because they witnessed a murder in the country of Kravia (Nightwing mini-series # 1).
Sporting a new, short haircut (save for a slim pony tail) and a costume designed by Harold, Nightwing travels to Kravia seeking answers (# 2-3). In the end, he learns that the Graysons were not killed because of the murder of that nation's young prince (# 4).
Dick's new relationship with Miggie Webster (Nightwing mini-series # 1-2) ends tragically when years of abuse lead her to murder her father. "The world is full of Miggie Websters," he tells Batman. "Lost and desperate people who have no one to ask for help. From now on, they'll have me" (# 4).
"You weren't the perfect father but that's okay because -- probably nobody's a perfect father. No family's perfect, either. I was lucky. I was privileged. Not because of the big house and the money, but because you gave me a lot of yourself. You taught me, you showed me, you encouraged me -- you never lied to me and you never demanded that I be anything I'm not. I didn't imitate you because you insisted that I do so, but because I wanted to. Of all the men I knew, you were most worthy of imitation. Then I blamed you for letting me be who I was. Pretty dumb."
"Dick, I don't -- "
"Hold it. I've got one more thing to say. You and Alfred gave me a home and you gave me what we don't mention. The L word. You were the best family I could have had. Thanks." -- Nightwing (Nightwing mini-series # 4, 1995; dialogue by Dennis O'Neil).
Roland Desmond accepts an offer from the demonic Neron to gain the intellect that his brother Mark had possessed prior to his transformation into the Blockbuster (Underworld Unleashed # 1). Now a cunning criminal mastermind, the second Blockbuster tests himself against Impulse (Impulse # 8) and, alongside Gorilla Grodd and Metallo, battles Batman, Robin, Black Canary and the Huntress (Underworld Unleashed # 3).
Batman and Nightwing's suspicions that widow Emily Claire Washburn murdered her first two husbands induce Dick to romance and marry Emily in the hope that she'll incriminate herself by attempting to kill the heir to the Wayne fortune. The paperwork verifying the marriage is destroyed. The true killer proves to be Emily's best friend. Emily is left reeling by the revelation that her marriage -- though never consummated -- was a ploy and refuses Dick's offer to remain her husband: "You can't throw your whole life away just to try to make me feel better" (Nightwing Annual # 1).
After an attempt at establishing a base of power in Washington, D.C. is opposed by Steel, the city's resident hero, Blockbuster concludes "that I would be better served finding another city" (Steel # 32).
Nightwing joins Batman and Robin on several high-profile missions, beginning when a plague sweeps Gotham (Batman # 529). He remains at their side during a battle with vigilante prison warden Lock-Up (Detective # 697-699) and a resurgence of the Gotham plague that leads to Ra's al Ghul and Bane (Batman: Shadow of The Bat # 53; Batman # 533; Detective # 700) and eventually involves the Huntress in her first sanctioned role in a gathering of Batman's extended family (Detective # 701).
When Bruce is framed for the murder of Madolyn Corbett, Dick again assumes the persona of Batman to clear his name (Batman: Shadow of The Bat # 55).
The discovery of twenty-one corpses with broken necks that "floated in from the harbor from south of Gotham" prompts Batman to send Nightwing to the corrupt city of Bludhaven. Dick quickly becomes embroiled in a gang war involving Black Mask and his False Face Society -- one of whom slashes off his pony tail -- and learns that the corruption of the police department extends to Chief Francis Redhorn (Nightwing # 1).
Nightwing establishes a truce with a shady cop, Inspector Dudley Soames. As Dick, he rents an apartment in a building owned by Bridget Clancy (Nightwing # 2). A retired hero, John (Tarantula) Law also lives there, having made his home in Bludhaven for some twenty years (# 14).
After driving the False Facers from Bludhaven, Nightwing reports to Batman that he intends to stay there. "This place is hopelessly lost to corruption and injustice and violence. I'm going to like it here" (Nightwing # 3).
Learning of a new team of Teen Titans (Teen Titans (second series) # 3), Nightwing and Robin pay the heroes a visit (# 4). After working with the new Titans on a mission, Nightwing gives the team his stamp of approval (# 5).
Dick Grayson and Wally West's annual vacation finds Nightwing and the Flash fighting a demonic invasion in New Orleans (The Flash Plus # 1).
Dick gets a job as a bartender at a tavern frequented by policemen and owned by Hank Hogan (Nightwing # 4) and Nightwing battles the British assassin Lady Vic (# 4-5)
Robin pays a visit to Nightwing in Bludhaven while the Blockbuster kills Angel Marin, the missing mobster whose gang surfaced in the waters outside Gotham (Nightwing # 6).
Nightwing finally confronts Dudley Soames and his boss, Roland (Blockbuster) Desmond, the hidden power broker of Bludhaven (Nightwing # 7-8).
At Blockbuster's request, Soames hires the Scarecrow to kill Nightwing (Nightwing # 9-11).
A violent young man named Tad Ryerstad moves into Dick's neighborhood (Nightwing # 8, 12-13).
The Scarecrow's confession makes things too hot in Bludhaven for Soames, who attempts to kill Blockbuster before leaving town. Desmond responds by breaking his neck and twisting his head backwards. Miraculously, Soames survives (Nightwing # 11).
Nightwing battles -- and is briefly captured by -- Bane, who eventually disappears into the ocean after a subsequent encounter with Batman (Batman: Bane).
Nightwing helps a street kid named Mutt, who is taken in by Hank Hogan (Nightwing # 12) and rechristened Michael (# 31).
"Well I guess I had a chip on my shoulder when he was here . Ever since he chose Jean Paul over me to fill in as Batman I've been a little sensitive. I'm so busy making my own way I'm forgetting who set me on the path. But it's not like he makes any of this easy. He's always so cold, even with me. Even after everything we've been through Why can't we connect? Why are we always like this? And I think I said some things to him that were meant to hurt." -- Dick Grayson (Nightwing # 14, 1997; dialogue by Dixon).
Batman arrives in Bludhaven to assess the situation (Nightwing # 12-13) and Dick overreacts to the visit, snapping that the Dark Knight doesn't have confidence in him. After apologizing (# 14), the duo captures hitman "Lunchmeat" Deever and his son, Frankie, who agree to reveal all they know about the Blockbuster in exchange for being entered into the witness protection program. In a strike on Desmond's quarters, Batman battles Stallion (first seen in # 14) and Lady Vic while Nightwing takes on Blockbuster himself, taunting him with the fact that evidence against him is mounting. As he leaves Bludhaven, Batman tells Dick that he has "confirmed my suspicions You've got a handle on things down here. I'm proud of you" (# 15).
Nightwing, Arsenal, Flash and Tempest unite with the current Teen Titans to defeat Haze (Teen Titans (second series) # 12-15). Afterwards, Dick nominates Arsenal to serve as mentor to the young heroes (# 16).
Nightwing prevents Blockbuster's forces from killing "Lunchmeat" Deever (Nightwing 1/2).
Alerted to the fact that he has a trust fund administered by Lucius Fox (Nightwing # 13), Dick is stunned to learn that he is independantly wealthy. For his first expenditure, Nightwing creates a customized vehicle (# 16).
Nightwing prevents Deathstroke from killing Man-Bat. Elsewhere, former Arkham inmate Amygdala moves into Dick's apartment building (Nightwing # 17-18).
With Batman and Robin temporarily absent from Gotham on separate cases, Nightwing keeps watch on the city and becomes embroiled in a case with the Huntress (Nightwing/Huntress # 1). They become lovers (# 2-3) but the Huntress, frustrated by Nightwing's secrecy about his life and real name, dismisses the affair as "an agreeable indiscretion." She later claims that she "got close to Nightwing in the hopes of breaking into that tightly guarded Bat-circle but ended up liking him too much to keep at him" (# 4).
A massive earthquake rocks Gotham and Nightwing rushes to the scene to offer assistance (Nightwing # 19). Dick is relieved to find Barbara Gordon alive but his caress of her cheek is interrupted by Robin, who meets Oracle in the flesh for the first time (Nightwing # 20). Nightwing, Robin, Batman and the GCPD unite to quash the Ventriloquist's attempt to capitalize on the tragedy as the Quakemaster (Batman # 554; # Detective # 721; Robin # 53).
The quake causes structural damage to Dick's own apartment, threatening to send the tenants into the streets. Under the guise of Haly Enterprises, Dick secretly buys the building and sets up the residents in a hotel until their home is repaired (Nightwing # 21).
A meeting with John Law (Nightwing # 16-17) inspires Tad Ryerstad to take an alternate identity of his own (# 18). Oblivious to the existence of Bludhaven's resident hero, Tad is inspired by a pair of restaurant signs (# 19) to become Nite-Wing. Immediately struck down in a hail of bullets, Tad is presumed by Blockbuster to be Nightwing and Chief Redhorn is dispatched to kill him (# 21). Fighting past a variety of assassins, including Stallion and Brutale, Nightwing succeeds in saving Tad's life and sending him to the care of Leslie Thompkins in Gotham (# 26).
Nightwing, Batman, Robin, Green Arrow and others face the menace of the Cult of the Monkey Fist (Detective # 723; Robin # 55; Nightwing # 23; Green Arrow # 135).
Nightwing helps a retiring (and honest) Bludhaven cop resolve a fifteen-year-old case (Nightwing # 24).
Nightwing: "Do you think you'll ever give it up?"
Batman: "I'll be too old someday. If I'm lucky. And you?"
Nightwing: "Not me. I've found my place in the world."
Nightwing: "Not just that. I was a leader for years and it nearly tore me apart."
Batman: "You like operating alone."
Nightwing: "Yeah. I don't know how you've stood the strain of responsibility. Me. And Tim. And "
Batman: "You can say his name. I should never have made the offer to Jason. I ignored the warning signs. I was arrogant to think I could turn him into you. I'll never make that mistake again."
Nightwing: "Where does Jean Paul fit in with that? You thought you could turn him into you."
Batman: "He was driven. I didn't know it was by madness."
Nightwing: "Didn't you think I was good enough to be you?"
Batman: "You're better than me, Dick."
Nightwing: "What did you say?"
Batman: "It's like you said. Half of your life isn't a masquerade. I let this mask take over my identity. I am Batman. I always will be. I've left myself nothing else. Robin became an extension of who you are. Nightwing even more so. For me the mantle of the Bat has become a hiding place.
Nightwing: "Bruce -- "
Batman: "No regrets. I'd make the sacrifice all over again. In a heartbeat." -- Nightwing and Batman (Detective Comics # 725, 1998; dialogue by Dixon).
While patrolling quake-ravaged Gotham, Nightwing has heart-to-heart talks with both Batman (Detective # 725) and Robin (Nightwing # 25), becoming closer to each in the process.
The Batman of the 853rd Century meets Nightwing in the quake-ravaged Gotham of the present-day (Nightwing # M) and joins him and Robin in defeating the Firefly (Detective # M).
Rescued from death but with his head permanently twisted backwards (Nightwing # 12-13, 16-17, 21), Dudley Soames escapes from the hospital (#26) and takes the alias of Torque (# 27).
The Huntress arrives in Gotham in search of mobster Turk Fremunda (Nightwing # 26) and winds up the captive of Cisco Blaine, another stranger seeking to take down Fremunda (# 27). The pair join forces (# 28) but the situation turns into a bloodbath when Torque crashes the party and executes Fremunda. Nightwing rescues Blaine and the Huntress, telling the latter that "if I knew then what I know now I wouldn't have come within ten city blocks of you" (# 29).
"Try to understand our position here, Batman. You began training to be a hero as a young adult. For me and a lot of the other Titans -- like Vic -- that training shaped and influenced most of our childhood. Unlike the JLA, the Titans aren't just about a promise to the world -- it's also about a promise to each other to ourselves. We swore on our childhood nightmares that we'd be there for one another. If I don't honor that I don't honor who I am." -- Nightwing (JLA/Titans # 2, 1998; dialogue by Devin Grayson).
Nightwing and nearly every other former Titan unite to deal with the threat posed by an evolved Victor (Cyborg) Stone. Afterwards, Dick and Koriand'r have an awkward reunion (JLA/Titans # 1-3) and Wally West convinces Dick to join him in reviving the Titans (Titans # 1). Nightwing is assigned the formidible task of recruiting Jesse Quick, succeeding only when he refers to her as a "fellow workaholic" (Titans Secret Files # 1).
With Bruce Wayne in Washington, D.C. lobbying on behalf of the beleaguered Gotham, Nightwing and Robin defend the homefront against a collection of threats unleashed by Nicholas Scratch (Detective # 727-729).
Dick takes Barbara on outing at the Haly Circus that is officially "not a date." When Dick suggests that they become a couple, Babs flatly rejects the offer (Birds of Prey # 8).
"I feel bad for myself. But mostly I feel bad for her. So damn proud. And she has every right to be. She's come through so much. But there's a part of her heart she keeps locked up. I can't help myself. That's the past of her I miss the most." -- Dick Grayson (Birds of Prey # 8, 1999; dialogue by Dixon).
As the government prepares to isolate Gotham from the rest of the country, Barbara tells Dick and Tim that she intends to stay in the "No Man's Land" (Batman # 562). After the deadline passes and Gotham is cut off, the departing Nightwing and Robin find Wayne Manor in ruins (Detective # 729).
IN THE PAST YEAR:
When Blockbuster threatens to turn out many of the Gotham refugees flooding Bludhaven, Superman and Nightwing pay a personal call on Desmond with the Man of Steel suggesting that he "may visit Bludhaven a lot more often" if the situation isn't rectified (Nightwing # 30).
The recovered Nite-Wing resumes his violent vigilante activities (Nightwing # 30-31).
After a couple false starts (Nightwing # 22, 26), Dick and Clancy finally make it through an entire date. The following morning, Dick begins training at the police academy (Nightwing # 31).
A pair of acrobatic female thieves named Double Dare draw the attention of both Nightwing and Blockbuster. The latter enlists Brutale, the Electrocutioner and Stallion to stop them (Nightwing # 32-34).
The Blockbuster is informed that his heart is seriously damaged and he doesn't have long to live (Nightwing # 34). Soon after, he and Lady Vic discover a talking gorilla named Grimm that Desmond is convinced "could very well save my life" (Batman Annual # 23).
Batman summons Nightwing to Gotham City for the long haul, forcing an angry Dick Grayson to put his new life at the police academy on hold (Nightwing # 34).
Nightwing's demeanor mellows as he enters Gotham with Robin (Robin # 67) but some of his anger is rekindled when he watches Batman condemn the Huntress for her failures in the "No Man's Land" and strip her of her alternate Batgirl identity. Cassandra, the daughter of assassin David Cain, is designated the new Batgirl (Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight # 120).
Nightwing frees Blackgate Prison from the control of Lock-Up, the KGBeast and the Trigger Twins but is severely wounded as a consequence (Nightwing # 35-37).
In Bludhaven, Chief Redhorn enlists Nite-Wing to subdue criminals of his selection (Nightwing # 35-36), thugs employed by the Blockbuster (# 41-42).
Recovering from his injuries sustained in his evacuation of Blackgate Prison (Nightwing # 37), Nightwing shares an embrace with Barbara at her apartment just as the Huntress and a band of rogue policemen rush in (# 38). Under siege, Oracle and Nightwing succeed in expelling the invaders. The Huntress steals a kiss from her ex-lover before leaving (# 39).
Nightwing and Robin fight an animated corpse during the "Day of Judgment" (Batman: Day of Judgment # 1).
The Titans form an alliance with Deathstroke to defeat the rival groups of villains -- the H.I.V.E. and Tartarus (The Titans # 10-12). The finger-pointing and arguing that comes in the wake of the battle threaten to dissolve the Titans and Nightwing takes a leave of absence (# 13).
Nightwing defeats a pair of the Tarantula's old enemies (Nightwing # 40).
The "No Man's Land" order is rescinded and a January 1 deadline is cited as Gotham's reopening (Detective # 740).
Nightwing watches Harley Quinn gun down the Huntress. Almost in hysterics, he rushes the wounded heroine to Leslie Thompkins' clinic and leaves her side only at the insistence of Alfred (Detective # 741). On New Year's Eve, Nightwing visits the Huntress and gives her a lingering kiss (Batman: Shadow of The Bat # 94).
Nightwing questions Batman's objectivity in the case of a child who murdered his parents (Batman: Gotham Knights # 1) and discusses his love life with Bruce (The Titans # 14).
The original Titans get together to hash out their differences and wind up being manipulated by the Gargoyle (The Titans # 15-16).
Nightwing and Jesse Quick work together to provide Vic Stone with a human body (The Titans # 17-20).
Nightwing, Batman, Robin, Oracle, Batgirl and the Huntress unite when Commander Redmun and his Bloodhawks declare war on Gotham's vigilantes (Batman: Outlaws # 1-3).
When the Huntress is accused of murder, Nightwing offers to help clear her name but she refuses the offer (Batman/Huntress: Cry For Blood # 2).
Dick graduates from the police academy (Nightwing # 41).
While Blockbuster fumes over Nite-Wing's attacks on his men, Nightwing actually meets Tad. The two men survive an attack by Torque and Dick, unaware of Nite-Wing's violent history, convinces Tad to let him be his trainer. Elsewhere, Chief Redhorn's replacement for Dudley Soames, the crooked Inspector Mac Arnot, begins to makes his presence known (Nightwing # 42-43).
Clancy's romantic feelings for Dick cool a bit when she discovers a romantic photograph of him and Barbara Gordon that was taken years ago (Nightwing # 43).
Nite-Wing forces Chief Redhorn to hand over reams of incriminating documents on Roland Desmond and Redhorn flees Bludhaven until the inevitible firestorm blows over. When Nightwing and Nite-Wing taunt Blockbuster with the news, both are subdued by Grimm (Nightwing # 44).
When agents of Blockbuster try to torture Nightwing to gain the secret of Oracle's identity, the villains are gunned down by Cisco Blaine, who identifies himself as a federal agent (Nightwing # 45). Convinced that Blaine is an underling of Blockbuster, Tad murders him (Birds of Prey # 20), leaving Nightwing in a state of shock. Alfred and Robin rescue Dick from Grimm and Nightwing returns the favor by saving them from Thrilldevil (Nightwing # 46).
Blockbuster finally locates his target but Black Canary surrenders herself to his custody and claims to be Oracle (Birds of Prey # 21). Alongside Lady Vic, Grimm and Deathstroke, the Canary is dispatched to Gorilla City to find a heart donor for Desmond (# 22-24).
Nightwing brings Tad to justice (Nightwing # 47).
Clancy begins Premed classes as Dick officially becomes a police officer, partnered with Amy Rohrbach. Unknown to Dick, his job came as the result of pressure from Mac Arnot. Beyond his day job, Nightwing also battles the Sylph (Nightwing # 48-49).
Torque confronts his successor, Mac Arnot, in police headquarters and events quickly escalate into a hostage situation and a major crisis (Nightwing # 49). Nightwing captures Torque, who is assigned to a cell with Tad, but Officer Grayson's disappearance during the adventure puts him under suspicion by E.S.U. commander Darren Michaelmas. Meanwhile, Blockbuster receives the news that his mother has died (Nightwing # 50).
"It's a hopeless case. A lost cause. A town so mired in corruption and sin that it's drowning .. When Batman sent me here, I thought I'd solve one case and book. But then I realized if I could make a difference here -- well, that'd be something. This filithy old town needs me . Surrounded by a dozen of my worst enemies. No way out. Nowhere to hide. The little brat was right. I do love it." -- Nightwing (Nightwing Secret Files # 1, 1999; dialogue by Dixon).
Dedicated to Marv Wolfman (who guided Nightwing through some of his darkest hours), Alan Grant (who reminded us of the laughing young daredevil inside him) and Chuck Dixon (who allowed him to become a man).
All characters are © DC Comics
This piece is © 2002 by John Wells
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