We haven’t been very quiet about how excited we are about the Nightwing movie. Dick Grayson is one of those characters who has always changed with the times. He can go into the dark while still being a light and easygoing person. Before there was a Spider-Man, he was. He even has a fan-run database called Dickipedia, but it’s not called Dickipedia.
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So far, we’ve made casting suggestions, talked about villains, and let our excitement get the best of us. But we left out one thing that was very important: stories. Dick Grayson is one of the oldest characters in DC Comics history. He has been around for almost eighty years and has had a lot of adventures in a lot of different stories. Our job was hard, so we took some chances.
Chuck Dixon stories can’t be on this list because he could have easily taken it over. So “Robin’s Reckoning,” “Old Wounds,” and “Batman: The Animated Series” did not make the cut. We also decided to keep it to the comic books. We love them, but this time, we’re only going to be working with one thing. While he is best known for his roles as Robin and Nightwing, we wanted to pay attention to every part of his history, even when he was a spy and Batman.
There are some Nightwing fans who want to read an old story again, and there are also new fans who want to learn more about his cult following. To help both groups, we’ve put together a top 16.
1. Batman Chronicles: The Gauntlet
There are only a few single issues that aren’t part of a bigger collection. The Gauntlet is one of them. It talks about the night Robin was born. This is Batman’s last challenge for a young Dick Grayson. He wants him to stay in Gotham on his own for a night. If Bruce doesn’t catch him in that time, he’s good enough to be The Dark Knight’s partner. The Boy Wonder goes out, even though he’s on the run from his mentor and the mafia has put a hit on Robin. His job is to avoid both sides and stop the mob. Realizing there are lives at stake, Dick leaves Batman clues that will lead him to the bad guys. Not only will this stop the bad guys, but it will also give him enough time to pass the test.
Because of course, things go a little off track, but Robin can deal with it just fine. Even though it was so early in Robin’s career, and most of the underworld didn’t know who he was, imagine how bad prison would be for those guys who were beat up by the pantsless tween in pixie boots.
2. (Rebirth) Nightwing #15 & #16: “Even In A Dream”/“Nightwing Must Die”
Two stories about Dick Grayson, which are the most recent ones on this list by far, show why he’s so popular: he’s a real person. He and Shawn Tsang fall in love, fight, make up, and live a strange but stable life together in Even in a Dream, which takes place over two months. Tim Seeley, the writer of the book, used a lot of words and careful structure to make the reader feel good about the couple and also afraid. Grayson’s voiceover and Euripides’ story of Hercules also made the reader feel that way. Seeley makes a connection between superheroes and Greek myths, and he points out that both have tragedy in their DNA.
Dick just jumps in with both relief and terror when he realizes that he’s in love with someone. When he finds out that she might be pregnant or that she’s gone, he feels both relief and terror, especially when he finds out that she’s gone. The reactions are very real and very relatable, which is very unusual for superhero comics, which is why I like this one.
We don’t know Shawn very well, but because their relationship is written so honestly, you can easily replace her with your favorite Grayson love interest, like Starfire, Barbara Gordon, or even Stephanie Brown. Because their personalities match better, they’d be a better match than Tim and Steph.
3. Battle For The Cowl
You want your ass kicked? In comic form, Battle for the Cowl is a big movie. To do this, you take all your toys out of the bin, melt some of them in the microwave, and smash the rest together.
In order to pay taxes, Bruce Wayne is pretending to be dead. Gotham is on fire, and Damian Wayne stole a Batmobile to go pick up girls (bless him). Oh, and Jason Todd has gone crazy again, as always, though. He says he is the city’s hero and drives around in a sick-looking Azrael-Batman-S&M nightmare and shoots at anything that moves. In the Batsuit case, Dick is looking at his reflection, so Tim Drake puts on the cowl. Gotham needs a bat.
What comes after Batman vs. Batman and Batman vs. Batman II is pure fun. GCPD is attacked, Killer Croc eats a girl because Oracle threw her out of the Batmobile, and Mr. Zsasz is still a loser, Dogs and cats living together caused a lot of people to go crazy.
When it comes to who Bruce’s sons are, Battle for the Cowl is about which one of them is good enough to be Bruce’s heir. In the end, Grayson needed to feel like he had found a mythic revelation when Dick was the right person for him to choose. There isn’t anything in DC that is more famous than The Dark Knight, so that makes sense (actual mythical creatures and deities aside). Miniseries: It’s short, but it sets up what the new Batman and Robin would be known for.
4. Nightwing #25: “The Boys”
Here’s a classic story about a group of people, but on a much calmer note. Back in the ’90s, Chuck Dixon wrote almost all of the Batman books that were on the store shelves at the time. This included Nightwing and Robin. It’s in Blüdhaven, Nightwing’s city that looks like Paradise Island to Dick and Tim Drake. They’re doing a lot of blindfolded parkour crimefighting in the city. In this story, if you took all the action out of the script and took out any references to the superhero game, you’d have a normal story between two brothers. It’s hard for Tim, who is younger, to meet all the standards Dick set for him. Grayson, on the other hand, wants to be his own man and stay independent. Tim is trying to figure out how relationships work in his family and with girls. Dick is giving him brotherly advice, and they’re both a little nervous about the future.
Nightwing’s reaction to Tim telling him that his girlfriend is pregnant is the best part of their conversation, by a long shot. It’s a great example of what can happen when a writer can slow down the pace for a while and let the characters do their own work.
5. The White Knight
Peter J. Tomasi’s run on Batman and Robin before the New 52, where Dick is still Batman and Gotham has adapted to the new Dynamic Duo, is full of great stories. This one is one of them. The city they protect is still called Gotham, but it’s shown in a very different way. These patterns are still dark, but they have more light. Fluorescent neon makes this series feel younger, which is how it should be. When Batman and Robin come to this town, there are two people who are Batman and Robin. Dick and Damian are much younger than the people who were Batman and Robin before. They look into the murders of the family members of the villains who were killed by a maniac who was looking for revenge; he was literally as bright as the city. The whole thing is new.
Nature vs. nurture is, of course, the main point of the story. There could be something like the evil gene that Walt Disney and Freddy Quimby both had. In the end, Batman doesn’t catch the villain because Robin went too far to catch him.
As a “filler arc,” this one is very thought-provoking. Pat Gleason’s death tableaus are as good as Hannibal, and the pace is fast.
6. Nightwing: Year One
You should read another Chuck Dixon book. This one was written by Scott Beatty and Chuck Dixon. In many of Dick Grayson’s stories, he’s shown how he came of age. Nightwing: Year One is no different. Dad has kicked him out of the house, and now he has to find a way to make money. In his late teens, Dick and Bruce didn’t get along. When Bruce fired him, he made Nightwing.
The main point of the story is Dick deciding if he wants to go into the family business, and through his many connections to different parts of the DC Universe, he realizes that he already has a family. He calls himself Nightwing because he is a fan of Superman and wants to show that. If Grayson had chosen to be Robin, they would have fought over the trademark in court for years. Supes is also a lot less litigious than Batman.
Why did the author do this? To give Nightwing the hero’s journey he needed and to separate him even more from Batman! Isn’t it true that both of them have been orphaned because of bad people? Batman fights in the name of revenge, but Nightwing fights because it’s the right thing.
7. Batman: The Black Mirror
Details: When Batman’s detective skills are put to the test by a series of horrific murders, he finds himself facing one of Gotham City’s oldest and most evil demons. Isn’t it soon before the Dark Knight is trapped in the Mirror House?
With his Nightwing costume off, Batman is almost as easy for the former Boy Wonder as being Nightwing was. Grayson may not be able to handle a dark and dangerous evil in this story. No, the new Batman won’t be able to fill the shoes of his old mentor, so he’ll die young.
8. The Boys
Nightwing’s solo title has a one-off story in which Dick Grayson and Tim Drake work together to fight crime and run around Blüdhaven. Gotham City may be a lot nicer, but Nightwing’s home doesn’t look like it. It still needs superhero vigilantes to keep things going.
Both of them have been Robin at some point in their lives. Tim, the younger of the two, thinks he has to live up to the example Dick set for him. Grayson, on the other hand, wants to show that he can be a hero on his own.
9. Robin: Year One
By Frank Miller for Batman, he came up with the “Year One” story format. It’s back for Nightwing. Dick Grayson is the only Nightwing! The story is about Robin, the Boy Wonder, at a very early point in his career. It’s told from Nightwing’s point of view.
Early in the story, it’s more like a retelling. It’s just as dark and interesting for a fan to read. A lot of it is about growing up and becoming a hero, but it’s also about a superhero that fans have come to love. Dick Grayson fans should read this story. It’s one of the best.