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Deathwing

Alias: “Dick Grayson”
Formerly: Nightwing

Related Links:  Mirage • Comics Scene Yearbook Article
Wizard #25 Titans Article  • Phil Jimenez Looks Back
Team Titans FAQ

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History


Future Shock

A flux in time gave way to the creation of an alternate future – a world that was ruled by a cruel and barbarous demigod with powers from beyond the stars. He was Lord Chaos, and he would enslave or kill all who would oppose him. But one group did challenge Lord Chaos’ authority – a collection of underground freedom fighters inspired by the legendary Teen Titans. Galvanized by a mysterious leader, dozens of these super-powered recruits collectively became known as the Team Titans.

This timeline’s version of Nightwing witnessed his friends fall one by one. With that, the rebel hero joined the Team Titans’ cause, becoming the group’s senior field trainer. With his own team of Titans long gone, this Nightwing soon found love and companionship with the shape-shifting Mirage, whose feisty spirit reminded him of his beloved Starfire. Nightwing also took Redwing under his tutelage, grooming her as an able avian avenger that would uphold the proud legacy of Robin.

In truth, the man who the Team Titans knew as Dick Grayson was really not really Dick Grayson at all. The conniving Time Trapper, aware of the villainous Extant’s time manipulations, kidnapped an unnamed man and placed him in the Team Titans’ timeline as his own double agent. The Time Trapper gave the man false memories of the heroic Nightwing, hoping his role as the Team Titans’ leader would subvert Extant’s impending “Zero Hour” initiative.

The man who would be Nightwing, in NEW TITANS ANNUAL #7 [1991].

Total Chaos

Shortly thereafter, the Team Titans’ leader gave one of his super-powered squads a critical mission. Mirage, Killowat, Dagon, Terra, Redwing and Prester Jon were sent ten years in the past to assassinate Donna Troy before she would give birth to the mad god, Lord Chaos. The time-tossed teens infiltrated the Titans but Donna Troy gave birth before the Teamers could intervene. Nevertheless, the Team Titans and New Titans united to end Chaos and spare Donna’s life at the same time.

With their mission completed, the Team Titans took up residence at Donna Troy’s New Jersey farmhouse, where they hoped to find a place in this new world.

And soon another familiar face reappeared, as the false-future’s Nightwing arrived in the present. Unfortunately, a dark version of Raven assaulted the future-hero and transformed him into the dark-hearted Deathwing. After launching a violent attack on a group of petty criminals, Deathwing visited Mirage and forced himself on her. Mirage was emotionally shattered by the assault – but was even more devastated upon learning she was pregnant with Deathwing’s child.

The deadly Deathwing debuts in TEAM TITANS #8 [1993].

Countdown To Zero Hour

Suddenly, the Team Titans became engulfed in a crisis wherein time itself began to unravel. The time-warping Extant and power-mad Parallax plotted to hasten this breakdown to create an entirely new reality of their own design. As the dreaded zero hour approached, scores of heroes from various eras were drawn to the literal Ground Zero, the beginning of time. There, Extant revealed that his past self, Monarch, had engineered the Team Titans’ timeline to create his own army of super-powered assassins. Through their wristbands, Extant activated his sleeper agent Team Titans to attack the heroes and preserve his “Zero Hour” objective. But as their incongruous timeline faded, the Team Titans themselves were erased from existence.

Inexplicably, three individuals survived the collapse of the Team Titans’ timeline: Mirage, Terra and Deathwing. With no home to call their own, Mirage and Terra joined Arsenal’s New Titans team. There, the group received a strange orb from the calculating Time Trapper, revealing the three survivors – Mirage, Terra and Deathwing – originated from this timeline.

The Time Trapper reveals Mirage, Terra and Deathwing
as his sleeper agents in NEW TITANS ANNUAL #11 [1995].

A Matter of Life and Deathwing

The past came back to haunt Mirage when Deathwing returned with Raven, who sought to continue her father’s fiendish legacy by implanting the souls of Trigon’s unborn children in the super-powered Titans. Raven’s demonic allies kidnapped Mirage as Deathwing took a sadistic interest in his unborn child.

During this encounter, Deathwing mentioned he had also received an orb from the Time Trapper that revealed his origins. “Some guy in a robe sent this orb – it told me the truth!,” the psychopath  confessed, “And trust me Miri, you don’t want to know what I was before I became Deathwing!” Embracing his new reality, Deathwing adopted a tattooed, leather-clad look to reflect his true persona.

ABOVE: Mirage is terrorized by Deathwing in NEW TITANS #119 [1995].
BELOW: Deathwing takes a sadistic interest in Mirage  in NEW TITANS #120 [1995].

It was through the mystical guidance of Phantasm that the Titans were able to repel Raven and free the heroes from her demonic thrall. Deathwing remained beyond such redemption, perhaps hinting that Raven’s initial “corruption” merely unlocked his latent unsavory personality.

Mirage appeared to suffer a miscarriage through the trauma of this ordeal. Deathwing seemed genuinely upset at this news, in his own twisted way. In truth, she was still pregnant and used her illusion abilities to make it appear otherwise. She later gave birth to a healthy, normal baby girl whom she named Julienne.

Powers & Abilities


Deathwing possesses no known super powers. He is an above-average athlete and fighter. He is also a master tactician. Raven’s manipulations of him may have granted him enhanced strength and durability.

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Essential Reading


New Titans Annual #7 and New Titans #80 [1991]: Waverider leaves an unconscious Nightwing to meet Joe Wilson, while in the future, the Team Titans the mysterious leader details his plans to them on how they will go back in time to eliminate Donna Troy before she can give birth to her son, who will turn out to be Lord Chaos. Lord Chaos vows to follow them to the past and insure his future. First appearance of future-Nightwing in New Titans Annual #7.
Team Titans #7 [1993]: The future-Nightwing emerges in the past and is reunited with the Teamers. Meanwhile, the Teamers settle in their new lives, building Donna’s farmhouse and attending school. A mysterious gray-cloaked figure stalks the future-Nightwing.
Team Titans #8 [1993]: The future-Nightwing has been attacked by the mysterious figure [later revealed to be a transformed Raven, having corrupted future-Nightwing with a ‘Trigon seed’]. This triggers startling changes in him, as he adopts the name Deathwing. Later, as Deathwing is reunited with an amorous Mirage, he plans on attacking her. First appearance of future-Nightwing as Deathwing.
Team Titans #9-10 [1993]: After a night of passion, Deathwing savagely attacks Mirage, leaving her devastated. Deathwing, Judge & Jury and the mysterious cloaked figure [actually Raven] plot against the Titans teams. Continued in New Titans #100, as Raven and her allies attack the Titans.
New Titans #100 [1993]: Nightwing and Starfire’s wedding is interrupted by the return of Raven, now a villainous avatar of Trigon. Evil Raven is assisted by the evil Deathwing and Judge & Jury. Deathwing faces off against Nightwing.
New Titans #118-121 [1994-1995]: Deathwing remains in Raven’s thrall, and adopts a new look: shaved head, body paint and leather attire. Eventually, Raven and her demon allies come into conflict with the Titans. With the help of Phantasm (who reforms himself, sensing he is needed), the Titans finally destroyed this evil incarnation of Raven (or so they think). Mirage seemingly has a miscarriage in issue #121. Deathwing is kept at STAR Labs, in hopes his ‘Trigon seed’ can be expunged in issue #121.
New Titans Annual #11 [1995]: A YEAR ONE tale featuring Arsenal’s Titans team. The Time Trapper reveals Mirage, Deathwing and Terra are all from this timeline. Deathwing’s back story is unrevealed.

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