I’m sure most of you have read the news that DC has just cast Brenton Thwaites (The Giver, Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales) as Nightwing for their upcoming Titans live action series. Not sure who exactly Nightwing is and why everyone is making a big deal out of this? Well buck up little Cruncher, we’re here to help. Truth is, some consider Nightwing to be a boring, watered down copy of Batman but he actually is a pretty great character with his own unique qualities and philosophies that differ from ol’ Bat’s. We’ll go into who exactly is Nightwing, where did he come from, what can he do and how he differs from the Dark Knight.
The current version of Nightwing was created by Marv Wolfman and George Perez and first appeared in Tales of the Teen Titans #44 (1984). Nightwing’s real name is Dick Grayson and he did indeed used to be Batman’s sidekick Robin. A young traumatized Dick Grayson was brought in by Bruce Wayne at a very young age after his family, the acrobatic circus act “The Flying Graysons” was murdered right in front of them mid performance. Young Dick being the only survivor of the tragedy. Although you’d think the name Nightwing seems like it was derived as a version of the Batman name, it’s actually Superman that was the inspiration for the name. To make a long story short, Nightwing is the name of a mythical vigilante on Krypton. When Superman tells the story of the Kryptonian Nightwing to a young Dick Grayson, Dick was so taken by it that he named himself after it when we was ready to give up his role as Robin.
Dick Grayson already had keen acrobatic abilities from his time as an acrobat, he possesses natural skills as a detective and was combat trained by Batman himself. Dick Grayson also was an undercover agent for the espionage organization known as Spyral and has become a master spy and can speak a number of different languages. He possesses a hi-tech suit much like Batman’s equipped with a myriad of weapons and devices, his most notable weapon of choice however are his Eskrima Clubs which are unbreakable and can fasten together to form a staff. Dick Grayson is also a natural born leader. Right now he is the leader of his own team: the Titans which include Wally West, Donna Troy, Tempest, Arsenal and more. Titans continues to be one of my absolute favorite books in DC’s new Rebirth relaunch.
After Dick Grayson grew out of the sidekick role and started doing his own thing, he moved to a town called Bludhaven to establish himself and to simultaneously distance himself from under Batman’s wings. Even though Dick Grayson’s skills now match or even sometimes surpass his mentor’s, Dick does not want to become Batman Jr. He knows how lonely and taxing that lifestyle has been on Bruce and has consequently developed a much warmer approach to what he does. Unlike Bruce Wayne, Dick Grayson realizes that he can’t do the vigilante thing alone and recognizes the importance of working with teammates, making friends and developing personal relationships. He wears his heart on his sleeve, cares for a great number of people and he makes it known to them. That in many ways makes him more valuable a teammate than Batman.