www.cbr.com

How Did Dick Grayson Get His Secret Identity Back?

This is "Never Gonna Be the Same Again," a feature where I look at how bold, seemingly "permanent" changes were ultimately reversed. This is not a criticism, mind you, as obviously things are always going to eventually return to "normal." That's just how superhero comic books work. It's just fun to see how some of these rather major changes are reversed. This is differentiated from "Abandoned Love," which is when a new writer comes in and drops the plot of the previous writer. Here, we're talking about the writer who came up with the idea being the same one who resolved the change. This is also differentiated from "Death is Not the End," which is about how "dead" characters came back to life, since this is about stuff other than death.

Today, based on a suggestion from reader Malcolm F., we look into the strange and complicated journey that took Nightwing from having an exposed secret identity to him becoming a secret agent to him once again having a secret identity.

In 2013, DC did their third annual September "Event" following the launch of the New 52 in 2011 and the #0 issues in 2012. This time around, they launched the first major company-wide crossover since the New 52 began. Dubbed Forever Evil, it was about the Crime Syndicate coming to Earth after the three Justice Leagues of Earth were seemingly eliminated in the Trinity War (the Justice League crossover that led into Forever Evil, consisting of Justice League, Justice League of America and Justice League Dark). They essentially took control of the entire planet and turned it over to the supervillains of Earth.

Nightwing happened to be at Arkham Asylum in Forever Evil #1 (by Geoff Johns, David Finch and Richard Friend) when the villains showed up and broke free the criminally insane villains who were being held there. When Ultraman (the evil version of Superman) saw Nightwing, he quickly subdued him...

Then, as a message to the rest of the world, the Crime Syndicate unmasked Nightwing in front of everyone and told the world his secret identity (since Owlman knew it already since he was the Bruce Wayne of the evil Earth-3, so there was an evil Dick Grayson on that world, too)...

Rough stuff.

Okay, so with the superheroes all out of commission, the world's supervillains realize that THEY have to step up and basically become superheroes to stop these even WORSE supervillains. They want an Earth to be around for them to conquer themselves, ya know? So Lex Luthor puts together a team of villains and begins to work with a freed Batman to take the villains down.

In the process, though, they come across a special bomb that was hooked into Dick Grayson's heart. The only way to stop it is to kill Dick Grayson...

Well, Lex Luthor was cool with that, so he did that...

Of course, the next issue, Luthor reveals that he just caused Nightwing to temporarily flatline....

But since everyone believes Dick Grayson to be dead now, then Dick was now free to do other things. He couldn't become Nightwing again, so instead, in Grayson #1 (by Tom King, Tim Seeley, Mikel Janin and Jeremy Cox), Dick goes to work for the spy network, Spyral...

So that was the new status quo...for now.

1 2
Thor's 'God of Thunder' Title Gets a Rather Insulting Origin

More in CBR Exclusives