One of the biggest draws of the world of Batman and DC Comics has to be the sheer volume of characters that have been spawned thanks to the efforts of The Caped Crusader. The Dark Knight has brought on many different versions of Batgirl and Robins to his Bat-Family, as well as Batwoman, Orphan, Spoiler, and many more.
Yet, his most iconic and loyal ally and family member has to be Nightwing.
Otherwise known as Dick Grayson, Nightwing is a major player not only for the Titans and Batman heroic teams but his own series as well. Let’s take a look at the best Nightwing focused storylines.
10 Best: A Knight In Blüdhaven
One of the first essential stories for understanding the world of Nightwing has to be A Knight in Blüdhaven. The story was crucial to the formation of the Nightwing persona after Dick Grayson left behind his life as Robin and went to Blüdhaven to investigate a series of deaths at the request of Batman.
However, upon arriving in Blüdhaven, Dick discovers a city even more corrupt than Gotham, with a police force completely twisted and bought by a local mobster. Seeing this, Dick decides to make Blüdhaven his home and fight to restore it to a peaceful city.
9 Worst: Nightwing: Year One
A similar yet not as profound moment for Nightwing was the creation of the Nightwing persona, to begin with. The moment came during the storyline Nightwing: Year One. The story showcased the deteriorating relationship between Batman and Dick Grayson, with Bruce firing Dick from the position of Robin and Dick being forced to find his own path.
After discovering his bond with Barbara Gordon, Boston Brand, the Titans, and the Justice League, he realized he didn’t need a new family as he already had one. He decided to take Superman’s influence and name himself Nightwing after a Kryptonian figure, separating himself from Batman’s shadow entirely.
8 Best: Agents of Spyral
In more recent years, Dick Grayson had to leave his Nightwing persona behind for a bit and become a spy in a government organization in the storyline, Agent of Spyral. The story involved the aftermath of the major storyline Forever Evil, which showed the world believing Dick Grayson had his life taken.
In reality, Grayson survived and used his “death” to leave and go undercover with Spyral. At the behest of Batman, they investigated the organization as Spyral worked to uncover organs that housed the DNA of the Justice League which could create bioweapons. He worked to stop the project leader, Dr. Minos.
7 Worst: Brothers In Blood
At one point in Dick Grayson’s career of being Nightwing, the hero moved to the city of New York. While living there and settling into his new life, he had a visit from another member of the Bat-Family, Jason Todd, the boy who replaced him as Batman’s protege Robin.
During the story arc Brothers in Blood, Jason arrived in town and started fighting crime using the Nightwing name and similar costumes, but he began using a much darker and more violent approach to crime-fighting. While working through their personal problems, the two heroes come to blows while also fighting the underworld of NYC.
6 Best: Nightwing Must Die
One defining moment for Dick Grayson’s Rebirth era journey had to be the storyline Nightwing Must Die. In it, he and Damian’s relationship as friends, allies, and brothers is tested when they discover a twisted version of Nightwing calling himself Deathwing has kidnapped Dick’s new love interest, Shawn Tsang.
Making matters more personal, Shawn had recently revealed a possible pregnancy with Dick Grayson as the possible father, testing their relationship as well. Battling Deathwing, Professor Pyg, and even greater foes, Nightwing and Robin must go on a journey to face terrifying foes and defining personal moments for both the heroes.
5 Worst: The Great Leap
While not lacking in battles, villains, or storylines, The Great Leap's overall arc and purpose felt unnecessary. The story followed Nightwing’s battle with the longtime Batman foe Two-Face, who begins a violent and bloody war with Nightwing that nearly destroys the city of Manhattan.
The purpose of the story was to showcase that Nightwing had the will and strength to take on the mantle of Batman later on in his career. The only problem is that this feels like a mistake, as Dick Grayson has never wanted to be Batman. He’s taken the mantle to help Batman occasionally but never sought a permanent role.
4 Best: Better Than Batman
One of the better stories of Nightwing’s Rebirth era arcs had to be the initial Rebirth relaunch, with a story arc titled Better Than Batman. The story follows on the heels of the series Grayson, which involved his undercover work as a spy with Spyral. After erasing all ties to Nightwing and Dick Grayson using Spyral’s satellites, he returns to his role as the hero Nightwing.
However, things are complicated, as his hope for a normal life is dashed when he must contend with the Court of Owls, who are using Damian as leverage against Nightwing. This story arc introduced an incredible new villain, Raptor.
3 Worst: Traps And Trapezes
One storyline that had the potential to be really good was Traps and Trapezes. In this story, Dick Grayson reunites with his old friends at Haly’s Circus, bringing sad reminders of the loss of his parents.
The story eventually shows the ties between Haly’s Circus and the Court of Owls soldiers known as The Talons. It has great potential and amazing revelations, but the story’s antagonists make this frustrating. The villain Saiko is an assassin who is an old friend of Dick’s, and is working with another old friend of Dick’s named Raya, whom Dick is involved with as well. It’s a bit overcomplicated.
2 Best: The Untouchable
One of the best stories of Nightwing’s career has to be the relatively recent The Untouchable arc. The story follows Dick Grayson as he returns to a sense of normalcy as Blüdhaven’s protector. Unfortunately, his past is soon brought hurtling forward, as an enemy (The Judge) he has never been able to capture returns.
The Judge got the better of Dick when he was still Robin years earlier, and soon Dick is on a warpath to stop the madman before more innocent people lose their lives, revealing a foe of ancient proportions.
1 Worst: Blockbuster
One of the more recent and worst Nightwing storylines is Blockbuster. The complex narrative attacked Nightwing from multiple fronts, making for a truly unnecessarily complicated story. The story included the villain Blockbuster, who made a play to become the biggest crime boss in Blüdhaven and one of it’s greatest protectors all at once.
The most unnecessary part came when Nightwing worked with his old Spyral teammate Helena Bertinelli, aka Huntress. The pair fighting crime together led to a random, one-time romantic encounter fast on the heels of Nightwing’s breakup with Shawn Tsang, who witnessed the two’s encounter.