Comic Book / Nightwing
A man's got to go his own way.

"Because when you get down to it, my life isn't about the costumes or the bad guys. It's not about cities or symbols. It's way simpler than that. I mean, I grew up in a circus. It's always been about catching people when they fall."

Nightwing is the solo codename of Richard "Dick" Grayson, the first Robin. After years of training under Batman the Then-a-Teen Boy Wonder decided that, as the image quote says, "A man's got to go his own way". Thanks to the nature of Comic Book Continuity, this was either after a long over-due fight with Batman where Bruce fired Dick, Dick quit, or they happily shook hands, acknowledged the need to grow up, and shared some Alfred-made Bat-cocoa. In any case, Richard came upon the name Nightwing after hearing the tale of a Batman & Robin-esque pair of Kryptonian vigilantes from Superman named Nightwing and Flamebird. Taking the name, he made his debut in Teen Titans during The Judas Contract story-line. The Nightwing persona debuted in Tales of the Teen Titans #44 (July, 1984)

Eventually he was given his own self titled series. A 4-issue Nightwing mini-series turned up in 1995 and was well-received. An ongoing naturally followed. Lasting for 153 issues, from October, 1996 to April, 2009. Nightwing was a series starring Dick Grayson, the original Robin, graduated to become protector of Gotham's neighboring city of Bludhaven. The series was initially written by Chuck Dixon. Quite well received, it started creating a Rogues Gallery for Dick Grayson and helped distinguish Nightwing's solo methodology from Batman's own. The series was eventually taken over by Devin Grayson.

Controversies abounded in the title and it was eventually cancelled as a preparation for Infinite Crisis and relaunched. The city of Bludhaven was destroyed by the Secret Society of Supervillains and Dick Grayson was relocated to New York City. The new series was even more poorly received and eventually canceled. Dick Grayson graduated to become the new Batman in Battle for the Cowl.

With the company wide New 52 relaunch in 2011, Dick returned to being Nightwing and had another solo title, and moved to Chicago following Death of the Family. Following Forever Evil, his solo series ended. A new series titled Grayson began in July, which with the character as a Secret Agent of Spyral alongside another famous Faking the Dead character: Helena Bertinelli. DC Rebirth returned him to the Nightwing (Rebirth) title.

Not to be confused with the 1977 killer bat novel of the same name on which the 1979 flick was based.

Nightwing has appeared in several media, usually Batman related:

Comic Books

Video Games

Western Animation

The character exhibits the following tropes:note 

  • Acceptable Targets: In-universe, the neo-Nazis that Dick beats up in one chapter. It was good exercise.
  • Accidental Pornomancer: This one is a case of Depending on the Writer, though. Dick is a Chivalrous Pervert, but sometimes, he isn't actively trying to seduce a woman, but does so anyway. It's usually left for interpretation whether his confusion is sincere or if he's Obfuscating Stupidity.
  • Aloof Big Brother: To Jason.
  • Animal-Themed Superbeing: He has a bird motif, although it is not as blatant as other examples of this trope.
  • Arch-Enemy: Nightwing has had a number that qualify depending on his circumstances. During his tenure as leader of the Titans, it was Deathstroke (who also remains Dick's most persistent nemesis through the years.) During his time in Bludhaven, his main foe was Kingpin-expy Blockbuster. During his run as Batman, the title could go to either Professor Pyg or James Gordon, Jr. You could maybe qualify Two Face as an arch enemy during his years as Robin as well.
  • Audience Surrogate: Perhaps the greatest. One reason he's so popular is that fans want to be him.
  • Awesome McCoolname: Nightwing. Just say it. Dick Grayson is a pretty cool name by itself.
  • Badass Normal: Dick Grayson himself.
  • Beard of Sorrow: He sports one for a time during The New Teen Titans after an argument with Starfire (who had been in an Arranged Marriage).
  • Belligerent Sexual Tension: With Helena Bertinelli, after they had already slept together. And in New52, with Barbara Gordon, sometimes.
  • Betty and Veronica: Starting with the late 90s, there was some Ship Tease with both Barbara Gordon (Betty) and Helena Bertinelli, with Barbara even expressing some jealousy.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: He's one of the sweetest guys in the DC Universe, but if you manage to get him really angry, you will regret it.
  • Big Brother Instinct: Used to provide the page pic. He is very protective of the other Robins, and of some other young heroes, such as Stephanie Brown/Spoiler/Robin/Batgirl. Even though he and Steph don't particularly hang out much, he was upset deeply by her death and gave Bruce a What the Hell, Hero? rant because of it, and another to Barbara when she allowed her to go out into the field by herself and he was worried about her in a big brother kind of way.
    • He is also on the receiving end of this, for practically the entire DC Universe. If someone hurts Dick, it might be a good idea for villains to take some time off to avoid the wrath of the rest of the heroes.
  • Big Brother Mentor:
    • Towards Tim, and many generations of Titans.
    • It's especially pronounced towards Damian, as he was Dick's Robin during his tenure as Batman.
  • Big Brother Worship: Tim has a bit of this towards Dick.
  • Breakout Character: Easily the most popular character to have been a Robin, and he usually ranks pretty high in popularity polls, sometimes even beating out iconic heroes like Superman and even Batman himself. In fact, entire teams of writers, several of them not even remotely related to the writing of any aspect of the Batman mythos, threatened to walk out of DC when the executives began to make plans to kill him off!
  • The Cape: Very much Nightwing, though Dick absolutely hates wearing an actual cape.
    Dick: And I hate the cape, Alfred! The cape was the first thing I ditched when I got out on my own.
  • Cartwright Curse: In the New 52, Dick's love interests haven't been very lucky. Two women that Dick has slept with have died (one within the same issue she was introduced). Another love interest was the target of an attempted assassination. And then there's Barbara Gordon, who has been going through a Trauma Conga Line in her own book.
  • The Charmer: Very much so, sometimes he doesn't even realize it.
  • Chick Magnet: Starfire, Raven, Barbara Gordon, Bette Kane, Helena Bertinelli, and Supergirl are just a few of the many that are drawn to Nightwing. Power Girl and Black Canary seem to prefer him even over Batman, and the latter comments that he could "raise a pulse in a department store mannequin". And that doesn't include the seemingly endless parade of civilians who are attracted to him.
    • Amusingly illustrated by this artwork.
    • Subverted by his police partner. She invites Dick over to her house after a few days of knowing him. She's married with two kids. She just wanted him to meet her family.
  • Circus Brat: Dick was practically born under the big top and still jumps at the chance to perform, be it acrobat or clown, when his old circus comes around on tour. This especially since he is co-owner.
  • Combat Parkour: Nightwing is quite flexible and agile because of his circus background.
  • Combat Pragmatist: Have fun finding a member of the Bat-Family who isn't this. His isn't dirty fighting so much as it is constant taunts and insults, kind of like a certain Marvel hero.
  • The Consigliere: To Bruce, in the New 52.
  • Crazy-Prepared: Bruce must have rubbed off on him.
  • Cuddle Bug: Relatively speaking, compared to the generally grim and gritty Batman cast. However, when he's stacked against the Teen Titans, or even some Justice Leaguers, he's often played as a lesser Batman: more of a leader and people person, but no less determined, driven, and perfectionist.
  • Darker and Edgier:
    • Whilst serving as Batman following Final Crisis, Starfire noted the change in Dick's demeanour from his time as Nightwing; specifically pointing out that as Nightwing, Dick's fighting style was more graceful, acrobatic and almost as if he were dancing. Dick's response was "Batman doesn't dance."
    • His portrayal in the New 52 shows him as somewhat more violent than before, and his costume is now red and black instead of black and blue, although this does have the benefit of putting all four of the Robins in red.
    • With his move to Chicago post-Death of the Family, this has actually decreased a fair amount.
  • Dark is Not Evil: His name is Nightwing and he still excels at operating in the dark due to his time as Batman's sidekick, but there's a reason he's seen as one of the nicest guys in the universe. Just check out the rest of the trope list.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Probably the snarkiest hero in the DC Universe. Even as Batman, he can't help himself from cracking wise.
  • Dual Wielding: Escrima sticks are Nightwing's Weapon of Choice.
  • The Face: He will inevitably become this in any group he joins because he's that charismatic. He's the one you want making your case during Gondor Calls for Aid or Enemy Mine.
  • Female Gaze: Dick is probably the most frequently subjected to this of any character in the DCU. Hell, IGN ranked him at #1 on their list of the sexiest men in comics, and both the list and the comments considered it a no-brainer. Comics Alliance said the same.
  • Genius Bruiser: As befits somebody trained by Batman, he's both a highly trained intellectual and a lethally skilled fighter.
  • Gondor Calls for Aid: Nightwing has led the Teen Titans, the Outsiders, and the Justice League. If he has a problem that's too big for him, he can call help from anywhere from Metropolis to Oa to Heaven or Hell.
  • Good Is Not Dumb: Lampshaded in Batman: The Black Mirror. "I am a softy. And I do try to see the best in people... but that doesn't mean I'm stupid."
  • Good Is Not Soft: One of the nicest guys in the DCU and capable of punching you through a wall.
  • The Heart: Of the DC universe.
  • Heartwarming Orphan: It's commented in-universe multiple times that he brought joy and color into Wayne Manor after Bruce took him in. Alfred describes it as "as if color had come to our monochrome lives."
  • Heroes Prefer Redheads: And how! He admits it himself. Between Barbara Gordon, Cheyenne Freemont, Starfire, and Raya Vestri, he should probably start going to addiction counseling. It's even lampshaded in the third issue of his 2011 series when Barbara turns up after he's hooked up with Raya.
  • Heterosexual Life-Partners: With Wally West since their childhood.
  • I Have Many Names: Robin, Nightwing, Renegade, Batman, and Agent 37.
  • Indy Ploy: According to writer Fabian Nicieza, while Dick is smart (like most Bat-family members), what he excels at is "reflexive thinking", which is essentially this. While Batman is Crazy-Prepared, Jason is a Manipulative Bastard, Barbara is an Analyst, and Tim is all of the above, Dick excels at thinking on the fly.
  • Informed Ability: Several official profiles state that Nightwing's martial arts specialty is Aikido. Apparently no one told the writers, because it's very rare for his fighting style to even remotely resemble it. Especially considering the fact that his signature weapons, dual eskrima sticks, are quite literally named after a different fighting style.
  • Interspecies Romance: Whilst, as noted, he has had a lot of would-be, wannabe and actual girlfriends, one of his biggest "classic" love interests, other than Barbara Gordon, is the alien super-heroine Koriandr of Tamaran, aka Starfire, who he met as part of the Teen Titans. She was the first of his girlfriends that he was quite blatantly implied to have had sex with, they've been engaged at least once, and they were even almost married once — as in, the only reason they aren't husband and wife is because fellow Titan Raven attacked the ceremony and killed the minister before he could complete it. Though they are drifted apart in modern continuity, both still remember and occasionally flirt with each other over their former connection.
  • Jerkass: Bad writing often casts him as an egomaniac jerk.
  • Junior Counterpart: Like Batman, his parents' deaths was his motivation to start crime-fighting, though even from his time as Robin to today, he still retains youthful energy and idealism that Batman lacks.
  • Kid Hero All Grown-Up: One of the most famous comic book examples. He's been very successful transitioning from Batman's Kid Sidekick to an independent hero. See also Sidekick Graduations Stick.
  • The Knights Who Say "Squee!": Dick has always been an unapologetic Superman fanboy. It sometimes annoys Batman, actually.
  • The Leader: He has proven to be the most effective leader in the whole DCU, having led the Teen Titans and the Outsiders. Even Superman has stepped aside to let him lead the Justice League.
  • Legacy Character: All three of his identities.
    • He was the first Robin. The rest, in order, are: Jason Todd, Tim Drake, Stephanie Brown, and Damian Wayne.
    • He was the second Nightwing. The rest, in order are: Superman, Tad Ryerstad ("Nite-Wing"), Power Girl, Jason Todd, Chris Kent
    • He was the third Batman. The others are Bruce Wayne, Jean Paul Valley, Damian Wayne (in the apocalyptic future of Batman #666), and Terry McGinnis (in another possible future).
  • Legacy Immortality: Invoked this during his tenure as Batman.
  • Magnetic Hero: To the point where some believe his superpower is charisma. When he showed up to a fight with multiple generations of Teen Titans, Superboy noted how everyone instantly followed his lead. He also once convinced every hero on Earth, without question, to jump into a parallel dimension (saving them all). Batman even said it's one of the reasons he's proudest of Dick -— unlike Bats himself, he can gain and keep allies. So essentially, he's "Batman with social skills." A fact that was commented on by everyone from Jim Gordon to the Joker when he took over as Batman.
  • Morality Pet: Half of the DCU sees him as this. During a team-up, Catwoman (a villain/anti-hero) remarked that because he's been in the superhero biz since he was a child, most of the community sees him as a little bro/surrogate son. If you ever do anything to hurt Nightwing, you will call down the wrath of the entire DC Universe. Hell, Batman's first instinct was to GRAB A GUN when he heard a villain had killed Nightwing.note  See The Power of Friendship below, there are even some villains will come after you if you hurt him, granted some of it is because of The Only One Allowed to Defeat You, but still.
  • Mr. Fanservice: Both in-verse and in the fandom.
  • My Greatest Failure: Early on, it was Dick's failure during his Robin days to save an innocent from being killed by Two-Face. Later replaced by him "letting" Tarantula kill Blockbuster. He also blames himself partially for both the crippling of Barbara Gordon and the death of Jason Todd since both events happened when he and Bruce were on the outs. It's notable that he took a much more active role in the mentoring of Jason's replacement, Tim Drake and generally keeps a much closer eye on the other members of the Bat-Family since.
  • Nice Guy: It's practically his superpower. Other heroes admire him and his moral strength so much that they are willing to follow him anywhere.
  • No-Holds-Barred Beatdown: Deathstroke and Red Hood have been on the receiving end of quite a few of these, from Dick.
  • The Paragon: Dick is often credited as being perhaps the most inspirational hero in the DC Universe. Even more so than Superman.
  • Peek-a-Bangs: Is often portrayed with these when he doesn't have long hair.
  • Platonic Life Partners: With Donna Troy. Considering his status as Mr. Fanservice and that she's the twin sister of Wonder Woman, this is pretty surprising.
  • The Power of Friendship: Nightwing's greatest weapon. Sure, natural acrobatics and Batman-trained skills in combat and sleuthing are nothing to sneeze at, but no other hero in the DC Universe boasts the sheer number of allies Nightwing has. Hell, the guy has had his villains team up with him against bigger or badder foes. Why? Basically because he asked nicely.
  • Prodigal Hero: Dick Grayson had a strained relationship with Batman for the closer part of a decade. After getting fired from his role of Robin, he assumed his own identity as Nightwing. He finally repaired his relationship with Bruce in the fittingly titled run Batman: Prodigal.
  • Real Life Superpowers: Pretty much to the level of his mentor. Of all the traits on this list (Beauty, Intelligence, Skill, Charisma, Fame, Wealth, Physicality, Weaponry, and Luck) Dick has 9 out of 9. Where he differs from his mentor is that not many people believe Dick Grayson has physical powers (like the superstitious and cowardly believe about Batman)—however, Dick is so charismatic and dashing that people think he has Glamour powers. And that's not even getting to the fact that he's the greatest acrobat in the entire DC Universe.
  • Really Gets Around: Depending on the Writer, he's either a regular Casanova, or a flirt who means well and is looking for a serious relationship.
  • Shock and Awe: Courtesy of those shock sticks.
  • Sidekick Graduations Stick. Nightwing eventually becomes Batman and had remained so until September 2011.
  • Taking Up the Mantle: Ol' Dick is in the trope picture for this one. He first took up the Batman mantle temporarily once when Bruce was recovering from the Knightfall arc, and he did it again after Bruce "died" in Final Crisis and fighting Jason Todd for the title in Battle for the Cowl.
  • Took a Level in Badass: Does this really need explaining, old chum?
  • Unlimited Wardrobe: Since the New 52 reboot, the Nightwing costume has changed no less than four times in less than 20 issues.
  • Urban Legend Love Life: As mentioned on the trope page, the perception of him Really Getting Around is mostly blown out of proportion to the actual number of women he's been involved with. Prior to the reboot, he'd probably slept with a grand total of four women.
  • "Well Done, Son!" Guy: Anyone who works with Batman has this problem, but Dick had it really bad for awhile. Fortunately, he is now recognized as Batman's closest ally and favored son.
    • He's even started to have a sense of fun over Batman's inability to express emotions.
  • Working with the Ex: Dick Grayson and either Starfire or Barbara Gordon.
  • You Fight Like a Cow: Nightwing often keeps up a string of witty quips during a fight.

The various Nightwing series contain examples of:

  • Aborted Arc: Devin Grayson's run on Nightwing's ongoing was greatly cut into by several different events, including Infinite Crisis, thus preventing her from finishing the story she intended.
  • Big Bad: Blockbuster becomes one, learning Nightwing's secret identity as Dick Grayson and quickly proving just why heroes keep their identities secret by killing off everyone who lives in the same apartment as him and making plans to continue killing everyone Dick has ever been friends with.
  • Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: Raya Vestri, his Childhood Friend-turned-Love Interest
  • Bound and Gagged: Sylph pretty much had this as a superpower.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: During the infamous "Born Again" Arc Nightwing is so enraged he Curb Stomps all of Blockbuster's hired help when most of them had given him a hard time before. It was even worse in One Year Later when they tried to make Nightwing into DC's Spider-Man (!?).
  • Doomed Hometown: Blüdhaven was destroyed in Infinite Crisis. And again in Battle for Blüdhaven
  • Double Standard: Rape, Female on Male: In Devin Grayson's run, who then went on to claim that it wasn't rape, just "nonconsensual" sex. Right. After the character Tarantula forced herself on him in the middle of the street, afterward it was treated as though he was simply uncomfortable dating a criminal than anything and the whole "sexual assault" thing was glossed over completely. A few years earlier Nightwing slept with an obscure Titans character by the name of Mirage, who had disguised herself as Starfire. When she revealed the ruse not long after, the only real reaction it got was a shocked look, without a whole lot of follow-up, in fact it's mostly been played for laughs since. Rape is Irrelevant When It's Female On Male?
  • Dramatic Gun Cock: Once faced a group of carjackers, one of whom decided to attempt to intimidate him with this. Being Nightwing, he wasted no time in asking him if he learned that on TV before pointing out that he just ejected a perfectly good round for no reason and then finished by continuing to cock the gun until all the ammunition had been ejected.
  • Evil Costume Switch:
    • As "Renegade", the identity Dick created in an attempt to infiltrate a group of villains.
    • Not evil actually, but in the New 52, his black and blue changed to black and red, reflecting his more anti-heroic nature. Which, ironically enough, looks kind of like the Robin costume from Batman & Robin, albeit without the cape.
  • Even Bad Men Love Their Mamas: Blockbuster loved his. And he makes Nightwing pay dearly for it when he indirectly causes her to have a fatal heart attack.
  • Go Seduce My Archnemesis: Saiko's plan with his girlfriend, Raya. This being Dick Grayson, it works.
  • Heävy Mëtal Ümlaut: The city of Blüdhaven.
  • High-Heel–Face Turn/Sex–Face Turn: Flip-flopped in that Raya doesn't fall in love with Dick, but she does betray Saiko after he goes too far.
  • Hijacked by Ganon: Has happened repeatedly with the 2011 series.
    • The opening arc, where Nightwing is being hunted by Saiko and inherits Haly's Circus before finding a mysterious ledger with his name in it, was revealed to part of the Night of the Owls storyline that had been building in Detective Comics as it turned out Haly's Circus had routinely given a child to the Court of Owls to become a Talon, and Dick was being groomed to be next in line before his parents died.
    • The overarching plot of Dick setting out to rejuvenate the Amusement Mile in Gotham with Haly's Circus as the centrepiece, was brought to an end thanks to Death of the Family (Which saw Joker attack the circus to get at Nightwing in part of his larger plan to destroy Batman) and the subsequent and unrelated death of Robin.
    • After re-establishing himself as an independent hero away from Gotham & the rest of the Bat Family, Nightwing is promptly unmasked by the Crime Syndicate in Forever Evil. However, rather than having the Nightwing series tie-in to the story, the story is instead told in the main Forever Evil series & the Justice League tie-ins, with Nightwing instead telling a completely unrelated tale that solicits are hyping as taking place in the final days before Forever Evil began. That's right, the story with major developments for the character has been hijacked from the book altogether.
  • Ineffectual Sympathetic Villain: Subverted by Nite-Wing. There are few idiots bigger than him in comic books but he's still a monster.
  • Kick the Son of a Bitch: Tarantula killing Blockbuster came off like this.
  • Meaningful Name: Saiko ("Psycho")
  • Oh, Crap!: A number of them. Including the time Dick came home to find Deathstroke waiting for him.
  • Outlaw Couple: Bride and Groom
  • Pet the Dog: Tarantula becomes leader of a street gang during War Games, not to stake out a territory for herself, but to keep its young members alive.
  • Poke the Poodle: Dick Grayson during the Renegade arc. Deathstroke the Terminator, of all people, finds it embarrassing.
  • Poorly Disguised Pilot: Issue #30 of the New 52 series is very clearly meant to serve as one to the Grayson ongoing, giving the context for the series. That, and it in no way relates to the previous arcs, and it's the last issue.
  • Red Skies Crossover: The "Zero Year" tie-in.
  • Servile Snarker: Alfred makes a few appearances. The trope image is from a Nightwing issue in in fact.
  • Too Dumb to Live: Used in Issue #150. One of Two-Face's mooks was standing right behind a guy Two-Face wanted to shoot. Two-Face points out that this isn't a good place to be, and the guy needs it explained to him: "I can't afford to lose any red shirts." When the mook doesn't get the reference, Two-Face has had enough, declares him too dumb to live, and blows him away.
  • The Unmasking: In Forever Evil #1, Nightwing is promptly beaten to a pulp and publicly unmasked as Dick Grayson in a show of force by the Crime Syndicate.
  • Weapon of Choice: The Eskrima Sticks. Simple metal poles which may or my not contain various gadgets built in, which he's capable with of similar skill to Batman with his Batarangs.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: Tarantula really wants to help Bludhaven, and is perfectly fine executing crime bosses to do it.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: The entire Renegade arc is meant to be this.
  • Wretched Hive: Bludhaven is (or was) probably the worst city in the DCU after Hub City.