Dick Grayson has taken on many different personas and alter egos in his lengthy superhero career. Since becoming Batman's first Robin, his most enduring legacy for over the past 30 years has been as Nightwing. The original Robin and co-founder of the Titans' most recent change, however, was shaped by personal tragedy after a fateful encounter with KGBeast, leading the young man to take on the identity of Ric Grayson as he struggles to remember who he exactly is.
Now, we're taking a look back at how Dick Grayson transformed into Ric, the lasting effects of the traumatic incident and what the former Boy Wonder has been up to in the DC Universe ever since.
Nightwing vs. KGBeast
Ever since 2018, Bruce Wayne's personal life has been on a downward spiral after Selina Kyle left him at the altar in Batman #50 as part of Bane's ongoing crusade to systematically dismantle Bruce's life to break him completely. After temporarily filling in for Bruce as Batman, Dick Grayson reclaimed his mantle as Nightwing and the two longtime friends and allies met with Commissioner Gordon as Dick continued to attempt to raise Bruce's spirits.
These efforts were brought to an abrupt end in Batman #55 as KGBeast shot Nightwing in the head with a sniper rifle while observing the scene several rooftops away. As part of Bane's plot to further isolate and break Bruce Wayne by targeting his oldest ally in his war on crime, Dick miraculously survived the gunshot wound to the head and remained in full apparent control of his physical faculties, but the trauma would continue to manifest itself in more insidious ways.
Picking Up the Pieces
Upon his recovery, Dick now referred to himself as "Ric Grayson," moving back to Bludhaven and taking up a job as a taxi driver. Ric's personality was more hardened and aggressive than usual, having developed a sudden affinity for hard drinks and gambling, usually through high-stakes, backroom poker games. In addition to hanging out in shady bars and underground fight rings, the extent of Ric's traumatic episode showed even more disturbing details.
A conversation with longtime paramour and partner Barbara Gordon revealed that much of Ric's memory following the murder of his parents had seemingly been lost. As such, Ric had no recollection of his past life fighting crime in Gotham alongside Batman and didn't even initially recognize Barbara or his connection to her as Batgirl. When Barbara attempted to job Ric's memory, he adamantly refused to acknowledge the past life he had lost and went as far as to set fire to his secret hideout as Nightwing, including his collection of superhero uniforms and gadgets within.
The Adventures of Ric Grayson
Despite his claims to Barbara that he had no interest in reclaiming his past life as a crimefighter, Ric found himself assisting the Bludhaven police nevertheless, in addition to instinctively stopping any crime he happened to stumble across as almost a sort of reflex reaction. In the meantime, the void left by Ric's semi-retirement as a superhero had been filled by an unsanctioned faction of the city's police officers using old Nightwing costumes they had recovered to become the Nightwings.
Eventually, his association with the police department would lead Ric to reclaiming the mantle of Nightwing, albeit reluctantly, when Scarecrow attempted to take over the city with his signature fear toxin. Entering an illicit partnership with the police, Ric resumes defending his city as Nightwing from threats like the Joker's Daughter and random street crime. However, as much as Ric attempted to evade his forgotten past, he appears to be on a collision course with it when his ancestor, William Cobb, a notable Talon within the Court of Owls arrives in Bludhaven with his own designs for the city and his descendant.