In April, DC Comics sends Nightwing away from Gotham into the Windy City of Chicago for an all-new direction at the hands of writer Kyle Higgins and new artist Brett Booth, which sees Dick Grayson hunting down the man who murdered his family: Tony Zucco. In the events of "Nightwing" #18, Dick Grayson receives the stunning news that Zucco is alive from his daughter Sonia, whom he attempts to let into his life on a deeper level. In April's "Nightwing" #19, Dick heads to Chicago to bring the man that murdered his family to justice, and enters a new chapter in his life.
To shed some light on the new "Nightwing" developments, CBR's THE BAT SIGNAL spoke with Higgins, who discussed everything from the motivation behind Nightwing's relocation and how long he might stay to the fallout of Damian Wayne's death and how the former Batman deals with the demise of his friend, brother and one-time partner.
CBR News: Kyle, "Nightwing" #19 follows some pretty heavy events in the Bat-books. It's tough to discuss Nightwing without also discussing what many readers regard to be "his" Robin, Damian Wayne. How did you approach writing the fallout of Damian's death and its effect on Dick?
Kyle Higgins: It was tough. That's a history and an era of comics that I actually love, which was Dick as Batman and Damian as Robin. To this point in my series and the New 52, I hadn't really referenced that era very much and a big reason for that is we're trying to be attractive to new readers and trying to look forward with the book with the new continuity. But when it came up that Damian was going to be dying and the fact that Dick was going to be there at that moment in "Batman Incorporated," that era was something I was looking to tap back into. In issue #18, which is already out, there are some specific lines that Dick references about them being partners, about Damian really being a brother to him. It was a hard thing to write, it was a hard issue to write. As far as Dick is concerned, he's been through hell the last couple of months, and Damian kind of represented the light at the end of the tunnel -- someone that Dick would be able to lean on going forward. In ["Nightwing"] #18, as you see, that was snatched away as well.
It was definitely something that I wanted to deal with head on. Even though he hadn't been in the book that much, his role in Dick's life is an important one. We'll be moving forward past that now, but I think it's all there.
One of the scenes in "Batman Incorporated" #8 that really resonated with fans of Dick as Batman and Damian as Robin was the moment right before Damian's death when he said, "Richard, we were magnificent." Did you know that scene was coming? Were you aware of it when you were prepping to write the aftermath?
Yes. I wrote a good chunk of issue #17 and #18 before Grant [Morrison] actually wrote "Batman Incorporated" #8, but I left it loose enough that once Grant wrote the issue, I would be able to [go] in and really tailor it much more. When I read that scene, it definitely pulled at my heartstrings as well. That's really what opened things up for me in regards to what I was just discussing with the old/new continuity and Dick's time as Batman and Damian's time as Robin. In issue #18, that's definitely something we call back to.
Let's look forward toward "Batman" #19. You've mentioned previously that Dick's been through the ringer in the last year. There was "Night of the Owls," then "Death of the Family" and now the death of Damian -- it's kind of a one-two-three punch for him, and it seems like it might be time for a change. One of the major developments in the last published issue of "Nightwing" was Dick's growing desire to push people away out of fear they might get hurt. Is his relocation to Chicago primarily based on this desire to become more of a lone wolf?Art from "Nightwing" #19 by Brett Booth