Built on the profits of the whaling industry, Bludhaven, some hundred miles to the south of Gotham, has never been a pretty place to live. The buildings were made shoddily, the factories pollute the rivers, and the corruption ran down river from City Hall.
Coming here on the trail of a killer, Dick Grayson, otherwise known as Nightwing, thought he was doing a favor for Batman. Instead he found a cause. Cruising the rooftops, Nightwing discovered a city racked by police corruption and in the grips of organized crime consolidated by Roland Desmond, the gargantuan genius known as Blockbuster. In light of this, Dick decided to make Bludhaven his new base of operations, setting up shop as the city’s protector.
Nightwing relocates in Bludhaven in NIGHTWING #3 .
Grayson was able to ferret out corruption with Bludhaven’s Finest as a rookie cop. He and his partner, Amy Rohrbach, unraveled enough evidence, forcing the Feds to overhaul the entire department. When the war between Blockbuster and Nightwing intensified, the desperate young crimefighter enlisted the aid of Bludhaven’s newest vigilante, the amoral female Tarantula. As Tarantula shot Blockbuster dead at point blank range, Nightwing neglected to stop her. His inaction in that moment became a source of tremendous guilt for the young hero. But despite her questionable methods, Tarantula’s act did succeed in freeing Bludhaven from Blockbuster’s grasp.
But Bludhaven’s rise to legitimacy was cut brutally short during the Infinite Crisis, as the Society of Super Villains bombed Bludhaven with the radioactive creature known as Chemo. A ravaged wasteland now lies where the once-proud city stood.
Who’s Who In Bludhaven
Bridget Clancy: An Irish immigrant of Chinese descent, ebullient Bridget Clancy became a landlady at 1013 Parkthorne Avenue, which housed a diverse group of residents, including Dick Grayson, Jonathan Law, Michael “Mutt” Hogan, Hank “Hero” Hogan, and a former Arkham inmate known as Amygdala. Clancy fell in love with Dick Grayson, only to have her heart broken when her handsome tenant chose Barbara Gordon instead. See Clancy’s complete entry here.
Pictured: Bridget Clancy, Jonathan Law, Michael “Mutt” Hogan,
Hank “Hero” Hogan, and Amygdala.
Amygdala: Formerly an inmate at Arkham, this giant man-child is apparently cured and completely docile, and resided in Dick’s building before it was destroyed.
John Law (the Tarantula): John Law threw himself into his research for his next book – a history of “mystery men” titled Altered Egos – by becoming a “mystery man” himself. Arming himself with a “web gun” and a costume with adhesive surfaces on the boots that enabled him to climb walls, Law became the Tarantula. He was a frequent ally of the Justice Society of America and a member of the All-Star Squadron.
John retired his Tarantula identity shortly after the publication of Altered Egos in the 1960s. Regretfully, the book’s popularity was short-lived, and John faded into pulp fiction obscurity A resident of Bludhaven for a number of years, John had become quite the stubborn, old curmudgeon. He still wrote pulp novels on an old battered typewriter, and he casted a critical eye on Bludhaven’s new guardian, Nightwing, who had yet to live up to Law’s lofty standards of heroism.
Sadly, John Law perished when Blockbuster’s vengeance campaign against Nightwing escalated – and Dick Grayson’s apartment complex was destroyed by a bomb, killing most of its residents.
Hank ‘Hero’ Hogan: Hank “Hero” Hogan lived in this apartment with his wife, Floretta, and their adopted son, Michael. Hank was the proprietor of a cop bar named Hogan’s Alley. What you see is what you get with Hogan. He was a former Bludhaven cop who was too honest for the force and left when he could no longer stand the corruption. Hank employed Dick Grayson as one of his hired hands to tend bar at Hogan’s Alley before Dick went to the police academy. Hank died along with many others when Blockbuster bombed their apartment complex in a vengeance campaign against Nightwing.
Michael ‘Mutt’ Hogan: With the aid of Nightwing, Hank and his wife adopted Michael. Their son was a former street urchin who was known only as “Mutt” because of his mixed ancestry. The Hogans took excellent care of the boy, giving him a loving home. The young rascal also served as an occasional informant for Nightwing. Mutt died along with many others when Blockbuster bombed their apartment complex in a vengeance campaign against Nightwing.
Amy Rohrbach is assigned to rookie cop Dick Grayson in NIGHTWING #48 .
Amy Rohrbach: One of the few honest police officers in Bludhaven, Amy was part of a secret cadre of cops working against the corrupt police department. Partnered with rookie cop Dick Grayson, the smart-witted Rohrbach deduced his dual identity as Nightwing. See Amy’s complete entry here.
Tarantula II (Catalina Flores): Inspired by the original Tarantula, John Law, Catalina decided to become a costumed vigilante as Tarantula II. Catalina sought Nightwing as a crime-fighting partner, but he disapproved of her reckless methods. The utterly amoral Tarantula later shot Blockbuster dead, as Nightwing neglected to stop her. Following the murder, Catalina took advantage of Nightwing’s fragile state for a moment of passion. Nightwing’s inaction in that moment became a source of tremendous guilt for the young hero. See Tarantula II’s complete entry here.
Blockbuster (Roland Desmond): After a gene bomb transformed him utterly, Roland Desmond became crimelord to Bludhaven – until Nightwing arrived and weakened his stranglehold on the city. Blockbuster’s vengeance campaign against Nightwing escalated, until the criminal kingpin was murdered by the amoral Tarantula II. See Blockbuster’s complete entry here.
Dudley Soames as Torque
Torque (Dudley Soames): Inspector Dudley ‘Deadly’ Soames was one of the dirtiest cops in the city. A member of various police forces, the London-born Soames found his niche in Bludhaven, where he played both sides of the legal fence, feeding information on Blockbuster’s criminal dealings to Nightwing while serving Blockbuster as a mob lieutenant. Blockbuster, realizing Soames could be his undoing, so he twisted his head and neck 180 degrees. But Soames didn’t die.
Rehabilitated with radical drug therapy, Soames beat paralysis and learned to walk again. But the doctors were unable to restore Soames’ head to it’s correct position, leaving his head and neck remained twisted backwards. Morbidly dubbing himself Torque, Soames strangled his doctor and launched a bloody campaign to exact revenge on Blockbuster, Nightwing and anyone else who wronged him. Nightwing finally brought Torque to justice and the twisted villain was imprisoned. During a prison break-out, Soames was killed by his unbalanced cell mate, Tad Ryerstad.
Tad Ryerstad as Nite-Wing
Nite-Wing (Tad Ryerstad): Found abandoned on Christmas Eve, an unwanted child was absorbed into the Bludhaven’s child services. His parents were never found. Tad was nicknamed “tadpole” because of his diminutive size, and his last name, “Ryerstad,” was taken from a popular local beer brand. Tad was bounced around various foster homes, until the age of twelve, where he ran away and raised himself on the streets. Tad developed a distorted world view, from his loveless childhood combined with his absorption of pop culture and comic books.
From this bizarre childhood arose a sociopath who strived to be a hero. At the age of eighteen, Tad took this one step further. He began his crusade by intimidating homeless people and beating up street punks. Tad eventually met John Law, the mystery man once known as “the Tarantula” decades ago. Inspired by the Tarantula’s exploits, Tad took it upon himself to become a costumed crime fighter. He searched hard to find just the right alias. Looking out his apartment window, he saw a grocery store with two flashing lights. One said, “Open All Nite” and the other “Hot Buffalo Wings.” Using a baton made of a stainless steel rod he found in a junkyard, he dressed in a costume made of a hockey jersey with his name appliqued on it and a pair of camouflage pants. And so, that night, Tad Ryerstad became Nite-Wing.
Nightwing eventually encountered the maladjusted hero and offered to mentor him, unaware of Nite-Wing’s unbalanced mental state. Nite-Wing’s volatile actions directly led to the death of Cisco Blaine, one of Blockbuster’s stooges who was actually an undercover FBI Agent. Believing him a criminal threat, Nite-Wing beat Blaine to death, forcing Nightwing to take action and arrest the disturbed vigilante. Tad felt utterly betrayed, and vowed to one day exact revenge on Nightwing, his former hero.
A 2001 Nighwing commission by Scott McDaniel.
Nightwing #6 : Dick Grayson finally meets his landlady face to face: a charming Asian girl with an Irish brogue named Bridget Clancy.
Nightwing #7-8 : Nightwing follows leads to Angel Marin, who shows up dead. Nightwing learns the organized crime of Bludhaven is consolidated by Roland Desmond, the gargantuan genius Blockbuster. After Nightwing has a violent confrontation with Blockbuster, he places a sizable contract on Nightwing’s head. Meanwhile, a violent blond teen vigilante [Tad Ryerstad] protects his turf. First appearance of Tad Ryerstad.
Nightwing #11 : Nightwing delivers Scarecrow to the Bludhaven police. Inspector Dudley Soames’s double-dealings finally catch up with him – his neck is broken, wrenched 180-degrees out of joint by a vengeful Blockbuster. Miraculously, Soames survives.
Nightwing #12 : A street urchin is saved by Nightwing, Michael (Mutt) is then adopted by Hank Hogan. A team of doctors work to save Dudley Soames’ life. Tad continues his vigilante activities. Batman appears in Dick’s apartment.
Nightwing #13-15 : Lending his former partner a hand, Batman travels to Bludhaven and aids Nightwing’s assault upon Roland Desmond’s headquarters. While Batman occupies the energies of hired killers Lady Vic and Stallion, Nightwing takes on Blockbuster himself, destroying the criminal mastermind’s home in the process. In a rare display of emotion, Batman expresses his pride in Nightwing. Tad Ryerstad’s crime-busting activities grow more and more violent.
Nightwing #21-22 : Using a baton made of a stainless steel rod he finds in a junkyard, Tad Ryerstad dresses in a costume made of a hockey jersey with his name appliqued on it and a pair of camouflage pants. And so, Tad becomes Nite-Wing. After erstwhile Bludhaven vigilante “Nite-Wing” is riddled with bullets, Nightwing prevents assassins Brutale and Stallion, as well as scores of other eager killers, from collecting the contract on the life of the comatose Nite-Wing. First appearance of Tad as Nite-Wing in issue #21.
Nightwing #26-29 [1998-1999]: Morbidly dubbing himself Torque, Soames strangles Dr. Pavaar and launches a bloody campaign to exact revenge on Blockbuster, Nightwing and anyone else who wronged him. First appearance of Dudley Soames as Torque in issue #26.
Nightwing #31 : When Clancy is threatened with foreclosure, Dick secretly provides funds for the building.
Nightwing #32-34 : Blockbuster tries to cure his enlarged heart.
Nightwing #43 : Nightwing and Nite-Wing narrowly escape death and Nightwing agrees to train Nite-Wing. Dick tells a heartbroken Clancy he is beginning to get serious with Barbara. Torque tries to take advantage of gang warfare to wrest power for himself. Blockbuster plots to secure a new heart from Gorilla City.
Nightwing #44 : Nite-Wing confronts Chief Redhorn and acquires incriminating files on Blockbuster from him. Blockbuster begins his hunt to find Oracle, who has been pilfering his funds. as Nightwing and Nite-Wing confront Blockbuster with this new information, they are felled by Blockbuster’s ally from Gorilla City.
Nightwing #45-46, Birds of Prey #20-21: “Hunt For Oracle” storyline: Nightwing’s archenemy Blockbuster seeks to kill Oracle and destroy her information network because Barbara had pilfered hundreds of millions from the villain’s secret offshore accounts. Nightwing is tortured for information on Oracle but is rescued by Cisco Blaine. Blaine, thought to be in Blockbuster’s employ, reveals himself as a federal agent undercover trying to bring Blockbuster down. Believing him a criminal threat, Nite-Wing later beats Blaine to death.
Nightwing #47 : Dick Grayson attends ‘Cisco Blaine’s’ funeral and vows to track down his killer, Nite-Wing. Nightwing traces Tad Ryerstad and captures him to turn him over to the police. Tad, feeling betrayed by his hero, vows revenge.
Nightwing #50 : Officer Dick Grayson responds to Torque’s hostage situation, making it hard for Nightwing to save the day. Nightwing eventually manages to save Mac Arnot and prevent utter carnage as Torque is taken into custody. Torque is introduced to his new cell mate, Tad Ryerstad.
Nightwing #51 : A journey inside the twisted mind of Tad Ryerstad. “Tad’s Story” tells the strange and tragic life of the man who would be Nite-Wing.
Nightwing #54 : Officer Amy Rohrbach has a clandestine meeting with fellow cops at a Church.
Nightwing #60 : Officer Dick Grayson finally receives his badge and is assigned a partner: Amy Rohrbach. Nightwing is recruited by Amy into a secret cadre of Bludhaven cops working against the corrupt police department.
Nightwing #66-68 : Tad Ryerstad and Soames team-up to break out of prison.
Nightwing #78 : Soames revealed dead; Killed by Tad Ryerstad.
Nightwing #81-82 : Deathstroke targets Amy as she deduces Dick’s dual identity.
Nightwing #87-92 [2003-2004]: Blockbuster’s vengeance campaign escalates as he wrongfully blames Nightwing for the death of his mother. The criminal kingpin bombs Dick Grayson’s apartment complex, killing most of its residents, including Dick’s Romanian grandfather.
Nightwing #93 : Blockbuster is killed by Tarantula as Nightwing watches.
Nightwing #100 : Nightwing brings in Tarantula and turns himself in for the murder of Blockbuster. Amy covers up Dick’s involvement.
Nightwing #116 : Bludhaven deals with the bombing of the city from Chemo; Nightwing helps rescue Amy and her family.
Infinite Crisis #4 : The Society of Super Villains drops the radioactive creature known as Chemo on Bludhaven.
Nightwing #118 : It’s One Year Later…and why is Nightwing hiding out in New York City? Clancy reappears in New York City studying psychology as a resident at Bellevue.
Sources for this entry: DC Universe Role-Playing Games: Sourcebooks and Manuals [ West End Games], DC Secret Files, supplemented by titanstower.com