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Series Index: Nightwing v1

Nightwing #1 [1996] to Nightwing #153 [2009]

By the 1990s, Nightwing had become of of DC’s most popular characters. With Robin already enjoying success as a solo series, the powers-that-be decided to test the waters with Nightwing. In 1995, DC launched a 4-issue Nightwing mini-series starring the former Boy Wonder. Written by Dennis O’Neil with art by Greg Land, the mini was a sales hit.

When DC awarded Nightwing an ongoing series in 1996, they enlisted writer Chuck Dixon and artist Scott McDaniel. Dixon immediately set Nightwing apart from his mentor by giving him his own city: the corrupt, decaying harbor town known as Bludhaven, which lay just north of Gotham. It allowed him to be close enough to Gotham and stay part of the Batman Family as well as have his own city and series of adventures. Visually, McDaniel’s kinetic art was a perfect vehicle to convey Dick Grayson’s acrobatic prowess.

Together, Dixon and McDaniel crafted a modern-day noir potboiler. The first 100 issues of the series actually form a (perhaps unintentional) novel, relating Nightwing’s takedown of Bludhaven. Nightwing was determined to break down the corrupt city, while most of its populace seemed to benefit from its continued decay, albeit illegally. His largest adversary was in Blockbuster, who had built a power-base in Bludhaven.

Dick first took a job as a bartender to garner street-level information, but soon took his crusade to dangerous new levels by enrolling in Bludhaven Police Academy in Nightwing #31. This was a brazen attempt to expose the criminal cops from the inside. Dick faced danger in both his civilian guise as well as his costumed identity. As Nightwing, he was bedeviled by Blockbuster, the twisted Torque, Lady Shiva, the dangerously unstable Nite-Wing and a host of other colorful guns-for-hire. As Dick Grayson, he was forced to work around the corruption of Chief Redhorn or Inspector Mac Arnott. At every turn, Nigtwing had to remain one step ahead of a city seeped in corruption.

Nightwing was not without his friends and allies, however. Dick Grayson made fast friends with Bludhaven’s residents, including his fiesty landlady Clancy, the retired-vigilante Tarantula (John Law), his street informant Mutt and the gentle giant Amygdala. Nightwing even found an uneasy ally in the Huntress – and once shared a night of passion with her.  But perhaps his greatest and closest ally was Barbara Gordon, who helped Nightwing as the information broker known as Oracle. As Robin and Batgirl, the pair of heroes flirted outrageously, but never took their relationship to a romantic level. That all changed in Nightwing #38-39. As Dick recovered from wounds suffered during his assault on Blackgate prison, Dick and Barbara finally shared a long and passionate kiss. This was the start of a deep and meaningful relationship for both Dick and Barbara.

Dixon left the series with issue #70 and was replaced with writer Devin Grayson, who continued to craft the tales of Nightwing in Bludhaven. When Dick received his badge, he was partnered with Amy Rohrbach. After testing his honesty, Rohrbach recruited Grayson into her secret cabal of honest policemen who sought to expose Bludhaven’s dirty cops.  Nightwing secured the secret journals of Chief Redhorn’s wife, which gave the Feds enough evidence to dismantle the entire Bludhaven Police Force. The force was completely overhauled and Amy was promoted to Captain.

Although Amy had worked closely with Nightwing, she still wasn’t sure if she could completely trust the vigilante hero. But a bond was established between the cop and the crime-fighter; Amy even fashioned a “Nightwing signal” that shot across the Bludhaven sky. When Amy and her family were targeted by the former corrupt cops, it was Nightwing that saved her life. But through an obvious shoulder injury, Amy was able to deduce that Nightwing and Dick Grayson were one and the same. Although she respected his intentions, Amy felt his actions as Nightwing interfered with his life as a policeman. Reluctantly, Amy forced Dick to turn in his badge.

Meanwhile, Blockbuster’s vengeance campaign escalated in Nightwing #87-92 as he wrongfully blamed Nightwing for the death of his mother. The criminal kingpin bombed Dick Grayson’s apartment complex, killing most of its residents, including Dick’s Romanian grandfather. The war was now more personal than ever, as far as Nightwing was concerned. Nightwing even enlisted the help of Bludhaven’s newest vigilante – the amoral female Tarantula. Every attempt to bring in Blockbuster legally failed. Blockbuster had beaten down Nightwing both physically and emotionally. When an exhausted Nightwing confronted Blockbuster, he was at his lowest ebb. The timely arrival of Tarantula turned the tide; She shot Blockbuster dead at point blank range in the shocking Nightwing #93. Nightwing’s inaction became a source of tremendous guilt for the young hero. But Blockbuster’s death ended his stranglehold over Bludhaven once and for all.

Eventually, Nightwing emerged from his depression and took matters into his own hands. He gave Tarantula one chance to turn herself in. Feeling shocked, betrayed and confused, Tarantula attempted to flee. But Nightwing apprehended the vigilante and turned her into the Bludhaven Police. These events – in Nightwing #100 – closed the door on the whole Blockbuster/Bludhaven saga.

Chuck Dixon and Scott McDaniel returned for Nightwing #101-106 entitled “Nightwing Year One”, which recalled the events leading up to Dick Grayson as Nightwing. Devin Grayson resumed as writer with Nightwing #107, putting the young hero back on track after months or physical and emotional abuse.

In the memorable “Renegade” storyline, Nightwing went undercover and agreed to train Deathstroke’s daughter in exchange for information on the Secret Society. Nightwing actually helps Ravager begin to break free from her father’s control, leaving Deatshtroke angry. At the same time, the Brotherhood of Evil bombed Bludhaven with the radioactive Chemo, causing the city to become a barren wasteland. In Nightwing #117, the last issue penned by Devin Grayson, Dick proposes marriage to Barbara Gordon and she accepts. After the events of the Infinite Crisis, Barbara actually retracts her acceptance of the proposal in Nightwing Annual #2, believing Dick needs time to himself for awhile.

After the events of “One Year Later,” Dick Grayson settled in New York for a completely new start. Marv Wolfman – the writer who pushed Robin to become Nightwing back in 1984 – returned to the character with Nightwing #124. With a new city and a new lease on life, Nightwing was ready to fly high once again. Wolfman wrote the series for over a year, and introduced an all-new Vigilante in the pages of Nightwing. Wolfman left the book to launch Vigilante into a series of his own in 2008.

Former Nightwing editor Peter Tomasi stepped into the writer’s seat on the series with issue #140, joined by artist Rags Morales. Nightwing began to build a new life for himself in New York City. Setting himself up as the museum curator of the famous Cloisters, Nightwing took advantage of the isolated landmark. He converted the roof of the Cloisters into a high-tech headquarters with a vantage view of the entire city. But soon, Talia’s grave-robbing plot brought him halfway around the world and back again.

Death would strike Gotham’s greatest protector in the pages of Final Crisis, where Batman was seemingly killed by Darkseid. This forced Nightwing to deal with Two-Face in Nightwing #147, which tied into “Batman R.I.P.,” a crossover event that explored the impact of Batman’s “death” on his various allies and adversaries.

The next phase of Bat-continuity kicked off with the Battle for the Cowl mini-series, in which Batman’s allies fought to determine who would wear the mantle of Batman. In relaunching the Bat-verse, DC Comics decided to cancel three popular satellite titles. The final issues were marked with Robin #183, Nightwing #153 and Birds of Prey #127.

Series Index:
Nightwing #1-153
Nightwing Annual #1-2
Nightwing Secret Files #1

Specials & Mini-Series:
Nightwing: Alfred’s Return #1
Nightwing (mini series) #1-4
Nightwing/Huntress (mini series) #1-4
Nightwing Wizard #1/2
Nightwing #1,000,000
Nightwing: The Target

Crossover Index:
Birds of Prey #8
Birds of Prey #20-21: “Hunt For Oracle” Crossover
Graduation Day #1-3
Outsiders #1-50
Titans (first series) #1-50
Titans (second series) #1-23

Key Issues and Storylines:
Nightwing Secret Files #1: The origin of Nightwing is retold.
Nightwing #6: Dick Grayson meets Bridget Clancy face to face;  Robin visits Nightwing in Bludhaven.
Nightwing #7-8: Nightwing learns the organized crime of Bludhaven is consolidated by Blockbuster.
Nightwing #13-15: Batman travels to Bludhaven and aids Nightwing’s assault upon Blockbuster’s headquarters.
Nightwing Annual #1: In an attempt to unmask a “black widow” murderess, Dick marries heiress Emily Claire Washburn; Titans guest-star.
Nightwing #17-18: Nightwing battles old foe Deathstroke the Terminator to free the monstrous Man-Bat.
Nightwing #25: Nightwing and Robin do some male bonding as they hitch a ride on a train; Dick decides to become a cop in Bludhaven.
Nightwing #31: Dick enrolls in the Bludhaven Police Academy.
Nightwing #38-39: As Dick recovers at Barbara Gordon’s clocktower, the two heroes finally give into their feelings.
Nightwing #41-42: Dick Grayson graduates the Police Academy and get s corrupt partner, Mac Arnot.
Nightwing #45-46, Birds of Prey #20-21[2000]: “Hunt For Oracle” –  Nightwing’s archenemy Blockbuster seeks to kill Oracle and destroy her information network.
Nightwing #60: Officer Dick Grayson is assigned Amy Rohrbach as a partner. Nightwing is recruited by Amy into a secret cadre of Bludhaven cops working against the corrupt police department.
Nightwing #75: With Mary Redhorn’s journals, the Feds dismantle Bludhaven’s corrupt Police Force.
Nightwing #81-82: Deathstroke targets Amy as she deduces Dick’s dual identity.
Nightwing #87-92: Blockbuster’s vengeance campaign escalates as he wrongfully blames Nightwing for the death of his mother.
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 #101-106: “Year One” recalls the events leading up to Dick Grayson as Nightwing.
Nightwing #112-117: “Renegade” Nightwing goes undercover and trains Ravager in exchange for secrets of the Society of Villains from Deatshtroke; Nightwing helps Ravager begin to break free from her father; Bludhaven deals with the bombing of the city from Chemo; Dick proposes to Barbara.
Nightwing Annual #2: Dick and Barbara relive their key moments as Barbara considers Dick’s marriage proposal.
Nightwing #140-146: Nightwing builds a new life in New York City as Talia’s grave-robbing plot brings him halfway around the world.

Notable Creative Runs:
Chuck Dixon, Writer: Nightwing #1-70, 101-106
Devin Grayson, Writer: Nightwing #71-100, 107-116
Bruce Jones, Writer: Nightwing #118-123
Marv Wolfman, Writer: Nightwing #125-137
Peter Tomasi, Writer: Nightwing #140-153

Scott McDaniel, Artist: Nightwing #1-40, 101-106
Greg Land, Artist: Nightwing #40-56
Trevor McCarthy, Artist: Nightwing #60-68
Rick Leonardi, Artist: Nightwing #71-85
Patrick Zircher, Artist: Nightwing #86-93
Phil Hester, Artist: Nightwing #107-115
Joe Dodd & Bit, Artist: Nightwing #118-123
Rags Morales and Don Kramer, Artists: Nightwing #140-153


End of transmission. About this author:  Bill Walko is an author and artist and the man behind He's been reading and drawing comics since he was 5 years old and hasn't stopped since. Read more from this author