Everyone knows who Robin is; he's the boy wonder, the second half of the dynamic duo, he's Batman's sidekick. But those not familiar with comic book origins don't know that there have been several Robins through the ages.
Dick Grayson, Jason Todd, Tim Drake, Stephanie Brown and Damian Wayne have all held the mantle of Robin since Grayson first donned his yellow cape in Detective Comics #38 (April 1940). The Robin character was created in order to attract younger audiences and that he did. His introduction garnered overwhelmingly positive reviews as well as majorly upped the sales of Batman related comics.
Dick Grayson, arguably the most well known of the lot, fought along side The Dark Knight for years, until finally moving out from under his shadow. First, leading a team of young heroes called The Teen Titans, and finally by shedding his Robin identity (thus making room for Todd, Drake and the others to fill his shoes) and becoming one of DC's most popular heroes till date, Nightwing.
Although not many non-fans know his alter-ego as well as his Robin persona, Dick Grayson has been topping pop-culture and comic book 'best of' lists for years. Most recently, Dick Grayson scores the #11 spot on IGN's list of "Top 100 Super Heroes of All Time". The character has appeared in almost all Batman-related media, proving to be apart from Alfred Pennyworth of course, Batman's most consistent ally and closest confidant.
Now with the news that Nightwing will in fact appear in Superman vs Batman, the sequel to Zack Snyder's Man Of Steel, many fans are hitting the Internet trying to figure out who Nightwing is.
Well, seeing as how he is my favourite comic book character, here's some things you might want to know before you see him on the big screen.
Unlike most comic book origins, Grayson's origin has stayed more or less the same. He performed as an acrobat along with his parents, as 'The Flying Graysons'. Immensely talented, his time at Haly's Circus ended prematurely as his parents are killed by mob boss Tony Zucco. Bruce Wayne watches as the events unfold, and realising what the loss of parents can do to a young child, he takes him as his legal ward (retconned to his adopted son sometimes). This makes Dick Grayson, the first person to whom Bruce Wayne voluntarily admits that he's Batman. And thus begins one of the greatest partnerships of all time.
Grayson, takes on the mantle of Robin and uses his acrobatic skill. He trains under Batman to become a formidable foe in his own right. He continues to aid Batman in his war against crime, but as the year pass, and Dick grows older, he comes into his own as a hero. He eventually goes on to lead the Teen Titans, heroes of his own age. During this time, he sheds his Robin identity and becomes Nightwing, definitively asserting his independence. He picks the name Nightwing, as homage to a Kryptonian superhero he met on his visit to Kandor, a city on Superman's home planet.
Nightwing received his own monthly series launched in 1996 and continuing until 2009, while also appearing frequently in Batman related comics. During this series he relocates to Blüdhaven, Gotham's economically troubled neighbouring city. Following the destruction of Blüdhaven, at the command of Deathstroke, Nightwing again moves to New York but soon returns to Gotham to aid Batman during the Knightfall saga.
1994's Prodigal story line, a follow up to Knightfall, sees Dick take up the mantle of the Bat for the first time. This occurs when Bane breaks Batman's back. His most recent donning of the cape and cowl came in the epic 2008 in-universe crossover event, Final Crisis, which saw Batman's apparent death.
The New 52, which retcons most of the origin stories, leaves Grayson's mostly untouched. He once again has his own monthly title which sees him travelling and waging his own war on crime, while also lending a hand to the Bat family and the Justice League on occasion.
Dick Grayson, himself was supposed to be killed off in 2005-2006's Infinite Crisis by writer Geoff Johns, however the story leaked and fans were so outraged that DC decided not to kill the character off. Since then, Nightwing has proved to be an integral part of the Batman Universe and the DC Universe as a whole.
Grayson has been known to have long lasting and strong relationships with many DCU characters, most notably, Barbara Gordon (Batgirl), Tim Drake (Red Robin), Alfred Pennyworth, Damian Wayne (Robin), Helena Bertinelli (Huntress), Wally West (The Flash), Donna Troy, Starfire and of course Bruce Wayne (Batman).
Many critics have claimed that Dick Grayson is the grounding pole for Batman, making sure that he doesn't go over the edge. He is seen as Batman's prodigal son, and heir to the mantle of the Bat, should that time ever come. Critics and DC writers have also claimed that he is the closest person to Batman, and going as far to state that if ever Batman were to kill, Grayson's death would most likely be the trigger.
Nightwing has been making waves in comic book circles and the world at large for two reasons lately. The first being DC Comic's ambitious and so far brilliantly satisfying new event, Forever Evil, a follow up to Villains Month. The opening issue itself shows Grayson being one of the focal points of the event. The latest promos for Forever Evil, event being one that is supposed to shake up the status quo of the DCU, show Grayson in dire circumstances. DC writers have even hinted that he may not make it out alive, a twist which would definitely have ramifications for not only Batman, but the League and other heroes as well.
The second and more talked about news alert about Nightwing is his inclusion in Zack Snyder's follow up to Man Of Steel. Nightwing was rumoured and then confirmed to get some screen time in the Henry Cavill and Ben Affleck starer. This version of Nightwing is supposedly one who has been wearing the costume for a while and seems to have a slightly tensed and strained relationship with Batman, going in line with Snyder's idea of having an older Batman. It's not clear how much screen time will be given to the character or to what capacity he will affect the action of the film.
Girls actor Adam Driver is said to be a front runner for the role, while Gossip Girl's Penn Badgley and The Perks of Being a Wallflower actor Ezra Miller are also in talks for the role.
And finally, the more under the radar news, Nightwing might make an appearance in the CW's Arrow. Steven McQueen tweeted this on November 9.
— Steven McQueen (@McQueeninchains) November 9, 2013
Arrow producers already confirmed that The Flash will appear and may even get a spin-off. The tweet hints that The Vampire Diaries actor might play Dick Grayson on the small screen. Of course this will have no bearing on Man Of Steel as Arrow isn't connected to the DC cimematic unverse.
Being a huge comic book fan myself, and an even bigger Nightwing fan, I can't particularly see any of the above mentioned as Nightwing. (Although Steven McQueen, I can live with.) But who knows. Here's hoping two things, first, DC Comics doesn't kill of Nightwing (which going by his comic books sales, it would be stupid if they do) and that Snyder does justice to the character on his big screen debut.
Since you heard me rant on and on, here are some cool fan made trailers that portray interesting spins on the character. Enjoy.
Nightwing - Prodigal Son Trailer
Grayson, Fan Made Film
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