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Nightwing: Year One

Nightwing #101 by Cliff Biggers – posted 10-26-2004 – courtesy of

The story of Dick Grayson’s “resignation” as Robin has been told, as has the story of his Teen Titans debut as Nightwing. But how did Grayson make the transition from the role of sidekick to that of solo hero? The story has never been told before… until now.

After the events of “War Games,” Dick Grayson deserves a few moments to look back over his career—and Chuck Dixon, Scott Beatty, & Scott McDaniel are on hand to help with “Nightwing—Year One,” which begins in Nightwing #101. It fits between Dick being fired as Robin (the exact particulars of which were never really shown) to him showing up in the Titans’ title as Nightwing,” Chuck Dixon told CSN. “Where’d he get the name? How did he come to the decisions he made and what was the final understanding he and Batman reached. Plus a bunch of continuity surprises for the dedicated fan geek in all of us.”

“Our story slides right into the Wolfman/Pérez continuity established in Tales of the New Teen Titans #44,” Scott Beatty continued, “way back in 1984. Dick Grayson ‘officially’ quit the role of Robin a few issues prior to that and eventually adopted the guise of Nightwing in the thick of ‘The Judas Contract’ storyline. Those tales chronicled the Titans angle to Nightwing’s origin. Our take focuses on the ‘Bat-Story’ backstory and events to which the Titans weren’t privy, particularly the reactions of Batman and the rest of the Bat-Family—including a youth by the name of Jason Todd—to Dick’s decision.”

The focus of the story, as Dixon explains, “is Dick Grayson’s transition from being part of a duo to being a solo performer.” Beatty offered a few more details on that transition. “Dick Grayson was trained to be the Batman’s partner. Along the way, he became a man and leader of the Teen Titans. It’s not easy juggling all those responsibilities, even for a guy born under the big top. When the mantle of Robin is taken away from Dick, he has to decide what he’s really meant to be. Batman’s successor? Not anymore. So what’s left when he’s booted out of the Batcave?”

So how does this storyline tie in to current events in Dick Grayson’s life? “I really can’t comment on that,” Beatty said. “‘Nightwing—Year One’ fits between significant events in Nightwing #100 and Devin Grayson’s return arc beginning in Nightwing #107. The Batman Family has never enjoyed a firm emotional status quo, so I wouldn’t expect an easy time for the team following the events of ‘War Games.’”

How’d this story come about? “Chuck and I had talked about the possibilities following the completion of our last collaboration, Batgirl: Year One,” Beatty said, “but this one came right from the top at DC. Paul Levitz made the suggestion and we jumped at the chance to complete what is turning out to be our ‘Year One’ trilogy beginning with Robin: Year One a few years ago and coming full-circle to ‘Nightwing—Year One.’ There’s an internal mythology linking all three stories that ultimately boils down to what it means to dedicate yourself to serving as a foot-soldier in Batman’s unrelenting crusade.”

Don’t look for a lot of Teen Titans action in this storyline, since it actually covers the period leading up to his Nightwing debut in that series, although Dixon pointed out that “they appear in a really cool scene but this focuses on Dick Grayson solely. But they make lots of great cameos and guest shots.”

Nightwing #102“It’s removed from the Titans,” Beaty explained. “He does check in, and he’s thinking (i.e. worrying) about the team, but he’s really taking the time to find himself with the help of a few trusted friends, some inside the Bat-Family, others from without.”

As one might expect, the collaboration continues to run quite smoothly for the writing duo; while each has been quite successful on his own, they both enjoy the opportunity to work together. “Scott and I are so often on the same wavelength that it’s almost a right-side/left-side brain thing. I’m not sure which side I am. But we tend to anticipate what each other is going to do but we’re different enough to write each other into corners now and then just for the fun of it. Once we agree on a basic plot I generally write the opening and we sail on from there. My strength is getting a story up of the blocks and running. Scott’s mutant power is to add resonance and those ‘gooseflesh’ moments to the story. But it is very much a 50/50 deal and, after months have passed, it’s hard to recall exactly who wrote which scene.”

“Chuck and I have always worked well together,” Beatty added. “We’ve been friends for quite a few years, so even when we weren’t writing together, we still bounced ideas back and forth until the next teaming. Chuck wrote Archard’s Agents tales for CrossGen Comics while I scripted Ruse, so we’ve really been collaborating all along… and happily doing it again for DC.”

Beatty summarized the working arrangement. “Chuck and I plot together and then one of us starts the ball rolling. We pass the script back-and-forth until we reach Page 22, each of us scripting and dialoguing and trying hard to write the other guy into an impossible corner… just for fun. We’ve previously likened it to that old Strange Sports Stories tale where the tennis prodigy finds himself returning the serve… and it’s a live hand-grenade! What’s more, his opponent is a robot who never tires! So he’s got to keep returning the grenade and hope that it explodes in his opponent’s side of the court. That’s what writing with Chuck is like: You keep hitting harder and faster in attempt to one-up the other. So there’s no resting on our laurels. And hopefully, the story carries that energy through.”

Nightwing #101, a $2.25 comic, is schedule for January 12th release.


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