SPOILER WARNING: This article contains major spoilers for "Robin War" #1, on sale today.
DC Comics' "Robin War" has begun, with "Robin War" #1 on sale now. Writer Tom King is joined by various artists including Khary Randolph, Alain Mauricet, Jorge Corona, Andres Guinaldo and Walden Wong, in an issue starring, as promised, Robins past and present, including Damian Wayne, Tim Drake, Jason Todd and the cast of "We Are Robin."
Yet it's the original Robin -- Dick Grayson -- who may have the biggest stakes in the issue. The story finds him in his role as Spyral Agent 13, but given the Robin-related chaos in Gotham City, he excuses himself from a spy mission, stating, "First and always foremost, I am Robin." Yet that's not the identity that the Court of Owls -- the violent and mysterious villainous organization that have secretly controlled Gotham City for centuries, created by Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo early in their "Batman" run -- want to see return.
At the end of the issue, the Court of Owls comment on Dick Grayson's return to Gotham City -- clearly part of their latest shadowy plan -- and state, "Soon, the Nightwing will rise again," with the familiar mask at the center of their table.
For kids of the '80s, '90s and most of the 2000s, it's Nightwing, not Robin, that's most associated with Grayson. He took on the very popular identity in 1984 after abandoning his Robin position, before starring in several iterations of the Teen Titans in that role and a "Nightwing" solo series from 1995 to 2009. In the New 52 era, Grayson starred in a 30-issue "Nightwing" series that ran from 2011 to 2014, before the "Grayson" series -- with Dick as super-spy -- started, co-written by King and Tim Seeley.
Given that this is just the first chapter of "Robin War," a lot of questions remain -- mainly, what's in it for the Court of Owls for Nightwing to return? Could this really mean Dick Grayson is once again going to take on his abandoned superhero identity? Or could someone else take over that role?
While there's no doubt a Nightwing return would be embraced by a large section of DC's fanbase, it's important to remember this is just one part of a longer story, and the simple fact that issues of "Grayson" have been solicited through at least February 2016 indicate this could well be a red herring, albeit a red herring that will get Bat-fans talking.
"Robin War" continues Dec. 9 in "Grayson" #15, an issue likely to shed lots more insight on all of the above.