EXCLUSIVE: Humphries, Chang Take Over Nightwing

Update: Check out Screen Rant's exclusive preview of Nightwing #35

At the start of DC's Rebirth era, Dick Grayson was finding his feet as Nightwing once more following his run as a secret agent for Spyral. Now, over a year in, the character is fully settled in his adopted home of Blüdhaven with new friends, new enemies and beginning in December, a new creative team.

Green Lanterns’ Sam Humphries and Batman Beyond’s Bernard Chang are teaming up for a new arc to prove just why Nightwing is “Untouchable.” Humphries spoke to CBR about what it is that makes Dick Grayson so special within the DC Universe, and his bittersweet goodbye to Simon Baz and Jessica Cruz.

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Heading into DC Rebirth, Simon and Jessica — the leads of Green Lanterns — had a ton of potential but not much time to shine on their own to showcase it. However, by teaming them together Humphries and collaborators such as Robson Rocha, Eduardo Pansica and Ronan Cliquet could lean into the Lethal Weapon-esque genre of two cops forced to work together, but with high-concept cosmic villains.

Art from Green Lanterns' #7 cover by Robson Rocha, Joe Prado and Rod Reis

Over the course of over thirty issues, the two rookie Green Lanterns grew as characters and found their place in the DC Universe in ways that are rare for superheroes in a shared universe. While characters are often defined by who they are in their earliest days, Green Lanterns allowed Simon and Jessica to grow, change and become more confident in their role. Jessica learned to overcome her social anxiety and agoraphobia to become a leader in her own right, and Simon not only grew beyond his need for a gun “just in case” but proved to himself that you don’t need a Green Lantern ring to be a Green Lantern.

On leaving Green Lanterns, Humphries told CBR, “It was incredible writing two newly created (by the incredibly generous Geoff Johns) characters, and watching them develop into fan favorites as I wrote their stories over the last year.” He also admitted, “It was very hard to say goodbye.” However, he's leaving the series to take over one of the most beloved characters in the DC Universe, and can't wait to dive in and apply his deft touch at character development and storytelling to Dick Grayson.

From Emerald Sight to Former Boy Wonder

When it was announced that Humphries would be leaving Green Lanterns, he noted on Twitter that it was because DC offered him an amazing opportunity to which he couldn’t say no. Asked if Nightwing is that opportunity, Humphries exclaimed, “Yeah! This is the one! Dick Grayson is one of the greatest characters in all of the DCU -- he's got heart, humor, legacy and he kicks ass. That's why this run is called 'Nightwing: The Untouchable.'” He also had nothing but excellent things to say about his predecessor Tim Seeley, who is taking over Green Lanterns with #32. Humphries refers to Seeley's time on Nightwing “a historic, hang-it-in-the-rafters run.”

Nightwing #35 cover by Yasmine Putri

Nightwing is a character that has deep connections throughout the DC Universe, far beyond his Bat-Family roots. Humphries and Chang’s run on the title will explore that history and connections with a new adversary based in Dick Grayson’s past. “The new villain is a devious new creation by me and Bernard — a murderous cold case from Nightwing's past. But to fully unravel the scope of this guy, and to dig deep into Nightwing as a character, we're going to experience some of his early days as Robin, and also his time as Hudson University student, Dick Grayson. It's all tied together — his history is part of what makes him so exciting.”

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Humphries also has nothing but stellar things to say about his collaborator Bernard Chang, noting that their close proximity to each other in Los Angeles allows them to have a level of collaboration most creative teams don’t have the opportunity to utilize. “Working with Bernard is a blast. He is a razor sharp artist and a killer collaborator. we're just a subway ride from talking, chatting, throwing ideas and inspiration back and forth. For the process nerds out there, I'm writing "plot first", giving Bernard greater influence over the page. I mean—his work on Batman Beyond is just stellar. From the moment he signed on, I knew this was gonna be a great partnership.”

Art from Nightwing #11's cover by Marcus To and Chris Sotomayer

One of the best things about Tim Seeley’s current run on Nightwing — with artists such as Javier Fernandez and Marcus To — is how it created a new world and new supporting cast for Dick Grayson. Characters like Defacer felt like they’ve been around in the DC Universe for decades rather than brand new creations, and Humphries is very aware of how important Dick’s supporting cast is. “One of my favorite things from the run is, Tim understood that Nightwing is a great hero in his own right. He needs his own top shelf villains, supporting cast, and city environment. Bernard and I are keeping that tradition alive. We've got a new bad guy, we'll be developing his supporting cast (both friendly and unpleasant), and we'll be exploring the past and present of Blüdhaven. 'Nightwing The Untouchable' is gonna be filled with crazy ideas and big street-level action, all threatening to collapse on our star character, Dick Grayson.

Here’s the full solicitation text for Nightwing #35

NIGHTWING #35

  • Written by SAM HUMPHRIES
  • Art by BERNARD CHANG
  • Cover by YASMINE PUTRI
  • Variant cover by CASEY JONES
  • “THE UNTOUCHABLE: HUNTERS!” Nightwing finally feels like he’s got his life in Blüdhaven under control. But the one thing he wasn’t expecting was for a case from his past in Gotham City to rear its head here—a murderer he never set eyes on, but whose unmistakable signature has arrived in his new city! How many people will die before he’s stopped this time? Or worse than that...what if Dick can’t stop him? Incoming creative team Sam Humphries and Bernard Chang kick off a story that will take Nightwing back to his days as Robin and force him to question his future as well!
  • On sale DECEMBER 20 • 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US • RATED T

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