Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Nightwing RIP: The Case Presented

I want to preface this post by saying that I like Nightwing and I like Dick Grayson. Many many female readers like the Nightwing. I'm not advocating killing off Nightwing.

That said, there has been rumors swirling about Nightwing possibly getting axed for a year now, maybe two. I mean, rumors from everywhere -- people who might be in a position to know, people who might be in a position to know people who might be in a position to know, and people who I don't know how in the hell they might know and maybe they were just full of it.

And the basic resolution of this rumor has always been: well, it was considered by certain higher-ups to axe him, but in the end they can't do it because it's friggin' Dick Grayson fer Godsake.

Now --

On yesterday's "Who's Gonna Take The Dirt Nap In Final Crisis" thread, one commenter suggested that Nightwing might die in the event.

Now, that's crazy, spurious, and most probably thrown in just to stir up the pot.

But -- (tin foil hat firmly in place) -- I can point to several reasons, mostly to be found in DC's Solicitations for July, why that might not be such a crazy idea at all.

The Case For Nightwing RIP:

1) Everybody thinks Batman is going to die, so a switcheroo like that would come out of left field and catch people off-guard.

2) The persistent (though apparently squashed time and time again) "Nightwing will die rumors."

3) Pete Tomasi, writer of Nightwing, is also writing "Final Crisis: Requiem" -- the issue where this "DC Universe staple" is set to die. Who better to keep such a big secret like Nightwing's demise? And a former DC editor yet?

4) The solicitation copy for that month's Nightwing boasts an unexpected and tragic ending.

5) The solicitation copy for that month's Titans boasts that one Titan will make the ultimate sacrifice.

6) The solicitation copy for Batman/Robin indicates that Tim is taking over (at least temporarily) for Batman. Why not Nightwing? With Batman fallen, wouldn't Dick Grayson be first in line to take the reins? And why not more talk of Grayson's reaction to Batman's fall? Wouldn't he be the first in line to avenge him?

7) It would be DC's chance to finally stop those "Dick" jokes.

So that is my case for Nightwing unexpectedly getting killed off in Final Crisis. Indeed, it would be a death that would have great emotional resonance. But it would be a really ballsy thing to do, and at least be as controversial as that Mary Jane thing.

Can you really kill off a character as well-known as Dick Grayson?

Getting a kick out of this speculation:


  1. Man, I really hope not. Nightwing is actually a good title for the first time in years!

  2. I kind of hope they do. Nightwing's been pretty much bouncing around the DCU for a while now without much impact.

    I like the character I just think that very few writers know what to do with him.

  3. Another factor to consider, from his own book's storyline: Remember, when his OYL arc kicked off, that Dick kept hearing a voice -- I think it was a Monitor -- telling him that he should've died in the previous Crisis?

  4. "Another factor to consider, from his own book's storyline: Remember, when his OYL arc kicked off, that Dick kept hearing a voice -- I think it was a Monitor -- telling him that he should've died in the previous Crisis?"

    Oh noes, Dick Grayson! It's not looking good!

  5. Nah. You can't really have a "Titans" without Nightwing.

    I can see him "Dying," but not really Dying. But if he only "died", and then came back, or only pseudo-died, that would make Tim as the only Robin without an intermediate-length death in his backstory, which is kind of lame.

  6. Nightwing should have died in Infinite Crisis like Didio wanted him to.

    The Nightwing series NOW, isn't too bad but, Nightwing as a character just feels kinda there and without any real huge impact on anything.

  7. Doesn't DC know better than to cancel books on my Pull list! I'm going to write them an e-mail. That usually works right?

  8. Anonymous12:29 PM

    Man, I'm not with the thread here. More with Val. I like Nightwing a lot. He's like the only character in the history of comics to show growth and change (besides dying). And he's a MAJOR character.

    I also remember the first dozen or so issues of NIGHTWING as the most action packed comics of my life. RIP: Bludhaven. You festered well.

  9. "The Nightwing series NOW, isn't too bad but, Nightwing as a character just feels kinda there and without any real huge impact on anything."

    As bad as it sounds, yer right.

    This Batman: RIP arc could help Dick out big-time... but hey, I'm only a reader, DC doesn't care...

  10. One can argue that there's not much going on in Nightwing's book, but I do buy into his positioning as a lynchpin -- perhaps the lynchpin -- of the DCU's Earth-based heroes.

    This is the guy, after all, that seemingly all of them trust, with ties to or friends in just about every team. The Kevin Bacon of the DCU, if you will.

    And just thinking aloud here, do you wonder whether the reason the Classic Titans seem so "static" is because they've reached the glass ceiling? They're too old for the team they helped found, and seemingly only three of them (Roy, Wally and Dick) are considered JLA-caliber.

  11. I am quite torn on this whole thing. I am a huge Dick fan, but i am also hoping that the death in FC will actually matter, and i feel this will. As someone already said, he is connected to everyone in DCU, more so than the other names being tossed around.

    This also opens the door for Jason Todd to get his own title...

  12. I loved Nightwing during the "A Lonely Place of Dying"/"A Death in the Family" era, but not to sure what to think these days...wrong D'Orazio to make that Decision, i suppose...

  13. you know, the more I read these comments, the more convinced I am that this is a possibility...

  14. Well, he was meant to die in the last Crisis so it's not entirely impossible, plus when you have clues stacking up like this it's usually a good chance.

    OR it could just be the biggest mind-f*** this century and DC having some fun with us. Although that seems more Marvel's style...even though that's usually what ends up happing in Marvel books...

  15. Well, I'm sure this blog can attest that it's not unheard of for DC to kill off characters who have been previously raped.

  16. While I wasn't mentioning the Nightwing death to stir the pot - specifically remembered that DiDio wanted him dead 2 years prior.

    But please keep in mind, I consider death in comics to be a hiatus at best. If the story works well enough, I don't mind the death. See Cap A; Superman (until you had 4 come back. Ugh.)

    But yeah, Dick is done for.

  17. I think it's still Martian Manhunter, especially considering this from the current Morrison interview at CBR (sorry for the formatting on the link):

    "With The Human Flame, I wanted a Martian Manhunter villain, and I couldn't find a really good one. Then, looking through the old 'Showcase Presents' books, I discovered this stupid guy called Mike, who declared himself to be the Human Flame. And he wore a homemade costume with six nipples that shot flames. So I just thought this is a great way to start this book because the idea is that Libra gives all the villains a very simple choice, he says, 'Follow me and I'll give you your heart's desire.' And that's it. And some of the villains naturally say, 'Prove it.' So the Human Flame is one of the first to fall in with Libra and he says, 'If you can get revenge on my old enemy, who has had me stuck in jail for the last five years, I'll follow you anywhere.'

    "I needed a small-scale dumb guy, who could make very big waves and open the book with a shock moment and the Human Flame fit the bill.

  18. I know if it WAS to happen

    Id like to see some Dick/Tim bonding before he goes, ie the way Dick and Conner hung out/fought together before Conner died.

  19. I can easily see them killing off Nightwing, if only for licensing reasons.

    While Dick Grayson as Robin is a potentially big deal in non-comic terms, Dick Grayson as Nightwing hasn't been exploited much at all, nor is that likely to happen. What are the chances of a Teen Titans product that doesn't use the far more familiar image of Robin? How many Batman movies deep would we have to go before a reintroduced movie Robin would go off and become Nightwing?

    Add in what others have mentioned, from editorial dislike for the character (unjust) to his fairly unimpressive position in the greater [non-Titans] DC continuity, and you've got a perfect patsy.

    Setting aside my own appreciation of the character (the Wolfman/Perez Titans were a huge deal in my youth), it would actually be quite a smart move. DC can come through with a [potentially permanent] death that's a huge deal to comic fans, yet doesn't greatly impact their non-comic bottom line.

  20. I gathered DC editorial don't like Nightwing and "always wanted to kill him or change him completely" - a bit like with Mary Marvel, Blue Beetle, Martian Manhunter... heh - this is probably where those 'do these people even like the books they're working on?' lines of thought begin.

    But it's all pretty meaningless anyway - death, rape, becoming gods or what have you. It's all been done and it's all been undone - the only real challenge for any writer these days is to make us care one way or the other. If Nightwing is killed off, the only real problem is that his book - while not terrible - hasn't really been setting the world on fire, and I can't help but feel his death would be slightly anodyne and underwealming as a consequence.
    Unless the book is the absolute shiznit, a main character getting killed off usually feels like a mercy killing to me (Bart Allen, for example).

  21. Write me in as another recent convert to the Nightwing title who would be really miffed about a VERY GOOD book being dumped in favor of a death stunt.

  22. I'm just sick to death of all this death in comics. Well, the way it's presented, at least in comics, especially DC.

    They use it for cheap emotion. More for anger than grief. "If we kill off Nightwing, fans of his comics will be angry, which will mean a lot of internet postings, which is good press. If the mainstream finds out we killed off the first Robin, they'll be upset and there might be articles in the newspapers. That's even better press"

    But the stories where these characters die have no emotional weight. People I love have died and the lack of their prescence still haunts me. In comics, the portrayal of grief lasts a panel then the deceased are forgotten. Maybe, if you're lucky, an issue or two. That's it. I guess writing about the loss of a comrade isn't as sexy as writing the death itself.

    And with no emotional impact, these deaths become cheap stunts. I guess comic book deaths are cheapen anyway by the number of dead characters that come back, but I'd rather see comic book deaths like Barry Allen's, Captain America's and Gwen Stacy's. Deaths that were part of a great story and inspired more great stories rather than just a little something to add a little oomph to a so-so event.

    As for Nightwing, killing him off would be dirty pool after him almost biting it in Infinite Crisis (rumor has it that the blast he took in issue 7 was supposed to be fatal, but the powers that be changed their mind at the last minute. The voice in the Nightwing series was a bit of metacommentary). But it would cause a stir, so it could happen.

  23. Anonymous5:29 PM

    Whatever DC might want to do with Nightwing they won't kill him in Final Crisis. Didio wanted to kill him in Infinite Crisis because he didn't understand the appeal of the character, but he was convinced otherwise.

    Now maybe originally Final Crisis would be as big as that, but it seems to consistently getting smaller. So there's no way.