Nightwing is cool; he always has been and he always will be. Even through some questionable hairstyle phases—hey, which superhero didn't have a mullet in the 90s?—the character has always remained the epitome of cool, and part of that, a big part in fact, has to do with his costumes, which, while varying in quality, have always been representative of a cool, older Robin; a young vigilante taking on the world. After venturing out on his own and claiming his own vigilante identity as Nightwing, Dick Grayson donned a new suit, and throughout the years, he has had some awesome superhero designs, from the comics to the cartoons to the video games—he's always been one of the most fashionable superheroes of all time.
But what, we ask, are his best looks, and which are his worst? We looked through the character's many outfits and ranked them from coolest to lamest—based on popularity as well as a few of our own hot takes and such. It's hard to beat Nightwing's signature "blue V" costume, so expect to see that up there in the top 5, but as for the rest of Dick Grayson's suits, you'll have to check below to see how we ranked their designs. We've got everything from the most well-known of Nightwing's costumes to some of the more obscure, forgotten-about suits that might actually have some merit. Which suits came close to the top? Which are some of his worst costumes ever? Read below and check out how we ranked all of Nightwing's costumes throughout the years.
Let's start this off by saying there's a lot of interesting things going on with this design, which was featured in the CGI anime film Batman Ninja. We like a lot about this design, but we had to rank it at the bottom because of the execution.
We're sure this design looked a lot better on paper, but in the weird CGI style of the film, the proportions and hair and facial features just all look so wrong. Like we said, we like some of the ideas, like the way the straps make up his signature "blue V," but the final product just didn't turn out all that well.
The Nightwing costume from the Batman Vs. Robin animated film is another one that's not completely terrible, it's just sort of boring. It seems to have taken a few notes from the Young Justice costume—which itself took notes from theThe New Batman Adventures costume—but the overall design doesn't work as well as what it was based on.
Again, nothing particularly wrong with it, it does what it needs and for a superhero who relies a lot on stealth, it sort works sense on a realism level, but the simple grays segment and the fact that the insignia is the only non-gray part of it makes it seem like the superhero elements were an afterthought.
A lot of people knock on the original "disco suit" of Nightwing's early days, but it was still pretty well designed. However, the New 52 version of this suit didn't quite work as well as the already-ridiculous original. The shapes and colors of the suit look great with certain artists, but otherwise it's a little simple.
The best way to describe this suit is that it kind of looks like, if "disco suit" Nightwing was a super villain, this is what his henchmen would wear, watered down versions of his costume. It's not terrible, but it's rather plain and doesn't scream "popular superhero design."
We were hesitant to put this above the New 52 "disco suit," but it at least has the colors and rendering to redeem what is an overall terrible, busy and un-super-heroic-looking design. We don't want to be harsh, but the Nightwing suit in Arkham Knight was such a downgrade from the one featured in Arkham City.
Once again, the insignia feels like an afterthought, a clunky, weird-looking piece of metal slapped onto a generic suit of armored clothing with some weird elastics keeping it together. And don't even get us started on the mask, which is just way too big and doesn't fit with the character model's terrible hair in the least.
We've made mention of the "disco suit" quite a bit up until now, and here it is at last, coming in at number 14 on our list. The suit was the first costume that Dick Grayson wore under his new Nightwing moniker, and, honestly? It's not the worst. Sure, it's goofy as heck and is a relic of the time it was made in, but it's still well designed.
The collar is cheesy as all heck, but the overall shapes, the colors, the way the "wing" in Nightwing is incorporated into the yellow feathers are pretty neat. A lot of cool ideas went into this, it just loses a lot of points in a modern lens, which is why we left it in the bottom five.
Nightwing's design in Batman Vs. Robin was incredibly stale, but in one of the follow up films, he got a pretty decent upgrade. It's not top 10 material, but the red suit concept (first seen in the New 52) ended up looking really good in animated form, and we like the added seam down the middle of the costume to give it just a hint of realism.
Additionally, the shape of the bird insignia isn't half bad, but the art style is still a bit jarring and somewhat unappealing, which, combined with the fact that the costume is a black cape away from being the Chris O'Donnell Batman & Robin costume, keeps it out of the higher rankings.
Your reaction to this suit is most likely either "Why is this number 12?" or "What's Batman Unlimited?" and both of those are fair questions. Batman Unlimited is a web series featuring this interesting version of Nightwing's costume, and honestly, we think it deserves some points for originality.
For one thing, it doesn't look like any other Nightwing costume we've seen before; it has recognizable pieces, but it combines them all into something new and fresh. It doesn't all quite work out, but we love the new approach to the character, since it didn't fall into the usual Nightwing costume design conventions.
The Nightwing costume in Injustice loses some points for the somewhat low-quality of the character model and rendering, but on paper, this design ain't half bad. It's got all the familiar beats of a good Nightwing design, and some new ideas that result in cool design elements.
One of the things we like in particular are the fingerless gauntlets, which sort of fit with the character's affinity for weapons combat. We also like the insignia on the shoulder guards, a nice little touch that we've never seen in any other versions of the character's costume. The kneepads also look great, since they add some blue to balance out the typically all-black legs.
Another costume that played a lot with the elements that we usually see in Nightwing suits and wasn't afraid to do its own thing was the design we saw in the future episodes of The Batman. The Batman wasn't the most popular Batman cartoon, but it tried a lot of new things, especially with its Nightwing design.
This version of the costume added some functioning wing-looking gliders to the suit, actually putting the "wing" in Nightwing. Besides this, the costume is mostly a rehashing of theThe New Batman Adventures design, but with a much different mask, shorter hair, and an interesting belt insignia.
Say what you will about the hair in this design, but the second suit that Nightwing donned was easily one of his coolest looks. Like the first "disco suit," the second one is still a little goofy to look back on now and has a lot of cheesy elements, but it's incredibly well designed, and could even work today given the right artist.
One of our favorite parts of this look are the light-blue/white gloves, an interesting color choice that we kind of wish would make a comeback. We also love how the feather-looking segments form the shape that would later be made famous by his black and blue suit. Overall, it's a somewhat aged, but still pretty cool design.
When The New 52 was first announced, one of the launch titles that was slated for release was a Nightwing solo series. With this announcement, we got a look at his new rebooted costume design which took a lot of notes from his most well-known suit, but changed the blue to red and added some armored segments to the gloves and boots.
In retrospect, it wasn't a bad call, since the red ties in with his past as Robin and makes for an intimidating look for the mask's lenses. We even like the alternate version that extended the "V" into his fingers like his old costume. That said, it's hard to beat the true blue.
Speaking of the "blue V" suit, the costume that Nightwing had in Batman: Under the Red Hood is one of the best animated interpretations of that suit. The design is so well balanced with the blue insignia and the blue arm and boot pockets, both of which perfectly fit the suit right between tactical and symbolic.
We also love the short haircut that Nightwing sported in this film, as well as the little bit of blue the design has on the collar. Additionally, we think this version of the costume was one of the few times that a Nightwing design managed to make the giant domino mask work.
Where the Arkham Knight Nightwing costume was a huge disappointment, the first version of Nightwing in the Arkham universe was much, much cooler looking. The biggest reason this design works so well is that it takes the most popular look of the character and made sure the best elements were made prominent.
By this we mean that the blue insignia was put front and center with a brilliant shade and texture that doesn't make it feel too separate from the armor, but still manages to make it stick out as the symbolic focus of the costume. Even though he wasn't in the main story, this version of Nightwing was way better than what came after.
It's hard to describe what works so well about Young Justice's Nightwing design, but it's not a surprise that they nailed their take on the costume, since the rest of the character designs in the series were absolutely superb. Perhaps the one thing that sticks out about this design is that it feels like a natural progression from what came before it.
This is to say that, since Young Justice was, in many ways, a spiritual successor to the likes of Batman: The Animated Series and Teen Titans, it makes sense that the design would be based on those versions of Nightwing, but with a slight amount of modernization to it that transform the suit into its own thing.
Speaking of natural progressions, one of our absolute favorite Nightwing designs of all time was the one featured in the future of the Teen Titans cartoon. The reason this makes it into our top four is because of how well it works as an evolution of Robin's original costume.
While some might not like the costume on its ow, when you look at it next to the suit that came before it and see all the elements that evolved and transferred over, we think it can be appreciated a lot more, especially with the design aspects it borrowed from Batman: The Animated Series.
One of the most memorable and iconic versions of Nightwing's costume has to be the suit that appeared in Batman: The Animated Series, specifically The New Batman Adventures. This take on an older Dick Grayson had a mullet, yes, but it works with the way the suit was interpreted as a simplified version of the popular "blue V" suit from the comics.
The arm stripes are gone and the "V" has some wing notches added to it, small changes that made the design entirely new and sleek and probably much easier to animate. Knock the mullet all you want, but this suit is awesome.
What's this? We've talked nonstop about the famous "blue V" costume and we didn't even rank it number one? We'll get to that, but for now, let's take a look at what is easily the most recognizable Nightwing costume of all time.
This costume was a brilliantly simple update to the character's look that ended up lasting for decades, it was that good. The idea of the utility pouches being on his arms and the "wings" of the blue insignia extending onto his arms are all brilliant design choices, as was simplifying the rest of the costume to black. It's no wonder this suit lasted so long, it's nearly flawless.
So if the "blue V" is so perfect, then what cold possibly beat it? The answer is simple, the new "blue V," a costume design by Javi Fernandez. The "DC Rebirth" of the character is the modern update that the long-standing suit needed, adding just the right amount of modern elements and new choices to make for a fantastic suit that we hope lasts for years to come.
One of the things we love about this costume is that it maintains the spirit of simplicity that its predecessor had, but it balances out the color better with the blue on the top of the boots and on the knuckles. We also love the choice to make the mask blue, which brings the whole design together.