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The Death of Nightwing Remains One of DC’s Most Controversial Moments

by Lidia Lucovic

Dick Grayson, DC Comics’ original Robin, is a beloved character among fans, both as Batman’s sidekick and as the more experienced Nightwing.

However, his death in the Injustice universe was a significant disappointment. After the death of his parents during the Flying Graysons’ circus act at the hands of Tony Zucco, young Dick Grayson is left alone. Bruce Wayne takes him in and trains him to become Robin, one of DC’s most iconic sidekicks. Eventually, Dick grows up and becomes an independent superhero, Nightwing. But in one of DC’s darkest universes, Dick’s transition is short-lived.

One of the most successful elements of DC Comics is its vast Multiverse. Perhaps one of the most discussed alternate universes among fans is the Injustice: Gods Among Us universe. Following the success of the original Mortal Kombat-inspired video games, Injustice has also spawned a comic book timeline and a new animated movie. This universe revolves around Superman turning evil after losing Lois Lane and his unborn son at the hands of Joker. Superman establishes his One Earth Regime, promising never to hold back again. Many superheroes’ misplaced trust in the Man of Steel slowly forces them to adopt tyrannical ideologies instead of the selfless virtues they once held. Dick Grayson is one hero who never loses his heart in these dark times but ultimately loses his life.

The Death of Nightwing: A Controversial Injustice in the DC Universe

In Injustice: Gods Among Us #16, written by Tom Taylor and illustrated by Mike S. Miller, Nightwing’s demise takes place during a clash at Arkham Asylum. While containing escaping patients alongside Damian Wayne, Batman’s son with Talia al Ghul, Nightwing chastises Damian’s excessive violence towards inmates, reminding him that “Robin doesn’t beat people once they’re down!” Damian, in a fit of rage, responds with “You’re not Robin anymore! Stop telling me what to do!” and throws an escrima stick at Nightwing, striking his temple. Disoriented, Nightwing falls and breaks his neck on a rock, causing instant death.

The unceremonious death of Dick Grayson has generated controversy due to the abruptness of the event and the vulnerability it portrays among even the most iconic heroes in the DC Universe. Damian Wayne is disowned by Batman and recruited by Superman to join the One Earth Regime after Nightwing’s death, leaving a part of Batman forever broken. The loss of his adopted son serves as a catalyst for Batman to end Superman’s One Earth Regime, similar to his tragic loss of his parents at a young age. The issue concludes with Bruce’s inner monologue, containing three short phrases: “He’s gone. I’m abandoned again. My son is dead.”

Nightwing’s Controversial “Death” in the Main DC Universe

In Batman #55, published in 2018, Nightwing was “killed” in DC’s primary continuity when he was shot in the head by the Russian assassin KGBeast. Although Dick Grayson survived the attack, he suffered from amnesia, which led to the end of his identity as both Dick and Nightwing, and he adopted the name Ric Grayson and became a taxi driver. This storyline was just as contentious as Nightwing’s death in the Injustice universe, as it was a drastic and unwelcome change to the status quo. Recently, in the main DC Universe, Dick Grayson has regained his memories and reclaimed the Nightwing mantle, putting an end to his “Ric Grayson” persona.

While Dick appeared in the first Injustice video game, he was entirely replaced by Damian Wayne’s Nightwing in Injustice 2. It remains to be seen whether Nightwing will return for the third Injustice game. In the Injustice: Year Three comics, a deceased Dick Grayson takes up the mantle of Deadman, previously held by Boston Brand. Despite the controversy surrounding his “death” and absence, Nightwing represents hope to fans. If he were to return, Dick Grayson’s Deadman persona could offer some compelling dialogue with the other fighters and be far more exhilarating than his death in the Injustice comics.

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What is your opinion?

ANNE October 23, 2022 - 11:35 pm

Nightwing’s death was a turning point in the DC universe, and it’s a testament to the character’s enduring popularity that fans still talk about it to this day. It’s a reminder that comics have the power to leave a lasting impact on readers.

LESLIE October 28, 2022 - 2:24 am

The controversy surrounding Nightwing’s death is a reflection of the changing nature of comics and the comic book industry. As the medium evolves, so too do the expectations of fans and the responsibilities of creators.

BEVELON November 1, 2022 - 11:41 pm

While the death of Nightwing may have been controversial, it’s a reminder that superhero comics are not always rainbows and sunshine. There are consequences to actions, even in the world of caped crusaders.

Shirley November 16, 2022 - 11:20 am

The death of Nightwing is a reminder of the impact that comics can have on readers. It’s not just about entertainment; it’s about storytelling, empathy, and the exploration of complex themes and ideas.

BELINDA November 17, 2022 - 12:44 am

DC has a reputation for taking risks, but sometimes those risks don’t pay off. The death of Nightwing is a prime example of this, and it’s a shame that such a beloved character had to suffer for it.

SHALONDA December 3, 2022 - 5:22 pm

The controversy surrounding Nightwing’s death shows just how invested fans are in their favorite characters. It’s a testament to the power of storytelling and the emotional connections that fans can make with fictional worlds.

ROGER December 23, 2022 - 11:11 pm

The death of Nightwing was a bold move by DC, but it certainly left a bitter taste in many fans’ mouths. It’s a reminder that even beloved characters are not safe from the consequences of a bold storyline.

Yvette December 25, 2022 - 7:02 am

Nightwing’s death may have been a shock to fans, but it also demonstrates the importance of creative risk-taking in the world of comics. Without daring and provocative storylines, the medium would stagnate.

GAYLE December 28, 2022 - 3:06 am

The death of Nightwing shows that superheroes are not infallible. They can be hurt, they can die, and they can suffer just like anyone else. It’s a reminder that even fictional characters can teach us important lessons about life and mortality.

Irene January 22, 2023 - 3:15 am

What a terrible mood to see that ticket.

BRENDA February 21, 2023 - 4:48 am

The controversy surrounding Nightwing’s death highlights the complex relationship between fans and creators. Fans have a deep emotional investment in their favorite characters, but creators also have the responsibility to tell engaging and challenging stories.


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