So slight change to this weeks piece, I had several faded gems, one hit wonders or generally obscure characters to choose from. But I have decided to look at the Forever Evil rumors about Dick Grayson and whether there is any precedence for them.
But what are the rumours?, Well so far we have been told the announcement due on the 4th will “explode the internet”. Coupled with fan speculation and what we know are the typical character changes that illicit spreading virally on the interwebnet or the media it would seem Dick Grayson will either die or turn to the dark(er) side. Sure a death is possible after all Dan Didio has previously said it was his intention for Dick to die during Infinite Crisis as he was one of the last characters who has seeped into pop culture and yet hasn’t died.
Would DC really kill off Robin 1.0 a mere months after Robin 5.0 (or rather 3.0, damn you New 52)?, I Tend to think not, it just wouldn’t sit right and be too much like trying to capture lighting in a bottle being so soon after Damian Wayne’s demise not to mention Nightwing shifts more copies than solid characters like The Flash thanks to Kyle Higgins just shredding it. So by my estimation this leaves two other options. Option A: It is a psyche out!, Look how fan speculation was built up over Death and the Family and swerved at the last minute seemingly. Then obviously option B: Dick goes Evil, But would it be a first time?
Week 10: Nightwing, not Forever Evil but occasionally so Prt.1 – Deathwing.
Who were they?: Deathwing appeared in the Titans titles during the 90’s featuring briefly in Team Titans and New Teen Titans and I am just putting this out there but despite being written by perhaps the definitive Titan’s writer Wolfman well the 90’s were rather forgettable in terms of Titans lore goes, having come from an alternate future where Donna Troy’s godlike son becomes a tyrant. This future was averted as both his future self Lord Chaos and future Titans (whom this Nightwing trained) came to the past, Donna ensures that she and her child are de-powered and the kid died a few years later because writers seemingly despise Donna Troy and giving her any easy to follow character development.
This Nightwing then turns bad in a big way siding with Raven who was then “Dark Raven” that is possessed by her father Trigon. Dubbed Deathwing he visits Mirage who he had previously been close with and rapes her. Later he adopted a less Nightwing-like more generic biker look before Raven’s evil side is removed and he was thwarted by the Titan’s never to be heard from again.
What have they done recently?: Nothing given it was as part of a continuity that was then retconned, which was also then retconned and is all now a giant moot point in light of the new 52 and that is comics. Prior to the biker look he adopted his identity was brought into question as the events of Zero Hour in issue 2 (or the third one given it counts backwards) had revealed that all the Team Titans were pawns of Extant plucked from faked different timelines which were destroyed. The only surviving members were Deathwing, Mirage and Terra. Finally and perhaps coincidentally the last issues of the Titans he appears in with his Biker look was also called … Wait for it … Forever Evil.
Evil Dick Rating: **** – Sure Deathwing was evil, He was a rapist after all but was it ever really Dick Grayson?.
Nightwing, not Forever Evil but occasionally so Prt.2 – Renegade/Red X.
Who were they?: These two alter egos of Dick’s served the same purpose as Dick feigned being villainous to infiltrate Deathstroke’s organisation. The key difference being that Renegade was just Nightwing playing bad but with it being known it was himself where as the Red X persona was supposed to be secret and the obvious difference in that one happened in the canon as opposed to the Teen Titans TV show. Renegade was Dick’s attempt at ingratiating himself with the Secret Society just shy of Infinite Crisis kicking off. During this time he tries to align himself with Deathstroke but is discovered and as a result Deathstroke gains revenge.
Similarly in the Teen Titans TV show in the episode “Masks” we see Robin adopt the alter ego of Red X and using an upgraded yet unrecognizable suit. He too then proceeds to send the Titans on wild goose chases whilst he is “gaining intel” but actually stealing chips for Deathstroke as a way to lure Wade out and eventually crosses paths with the Titans quickly dispatching them due to Robins knowledge of their weaknesses. Later in the episode in his Red X guise he is unmasked with the Deathstroke he drew out turning to be a robot (ah the old Dr.Doom maneuver). This led to friction between Robin and the Titans which nicely mirrored Young Justice’s distrust of Tim Drake in the wake of Tower of Babel.
What have they done recently?: Well there isn’t a lot to say about Nightwing turning Renegade the story ran it’s course. Where as an unknown person stole the Red X costume from Robin and became a reoccurring villain in the Teen Titans show. It just seems a waste DC never crossed Red X over as it would seem that there is mileage in the character that would have been interesting if tapped.
Evil Dick Rating: ** – On both occasions Deathstroke saw through the guise, proving Nightwing/Robin was just too heroic .
Nightwing, not Forever Evil but occasionally so Prt.3 – DK2.
Who were they?: In the “you either love it or you really don’t” follow up to The Dark Knight Returns, The Dark Knight Strikes Again it follows several years after its predecessor. Where Lex Luthor has finally taking over, Keeping the majority of heroes under his control e.g. holding relatives of the major players in the DCU Superman and Wonder Woman under there control, Rendering Martian Manhunter powerless, Stickig Atom in a petri dish and hooking the Flash up to the national grid. Now I’m just going to fast forward to the end as I am sure a great deal of you will know the main plot points as the story progresses into an expansive one of Justice League proportions with the heroes taken on and eventually defeating Lex and braniac.
But as this is happening on a side plot has a metahuman resembling the Joker kills heroes as he is shown killing Martian Manhunter and stabbing Guardian with screwdrivers. But is doing this independent of Lex’s agenda as the collected heroes take down Lex in Metropolis the heavily beaten receives a distress signal from Carrie in the batcave as she is being beaten. With Bruce remotely triggering the self destruct sequence of the Batcave and Dick being revealed as the grossly mutated villain by using a outdated code to disable it. Bruce blindsides him by using a hologram and drops the latch on a trap door to a volcano under Dicks feet which does not work, He then decapitates Dick which given his Lex Luthor acquired genetic reconditioning does little and finally hurls himself with Dick into the volcano only to be saved by Superman.
What have they done recently?: The Dark Knight universe was re-explored further in All Star Batman and Robin which was met with even more negative views from fans. It showed a great deal of the conditioning Miller’s Batman gave Robin that would in a small way lead to his actions in TDK2 but it just borders on psychopathic and yet comical, Let’s not forget the many clunky exchanges of dialogue between the too [INSERT GOD DAMNED BATMAN REFERENCE AND/OR MEME HERE].
Evil Dick Rating: *** – Miller’s Dick always seemed too forced to me, Yeah maybe the Leon styled traumatized child routine would explain why Batman would take a kid into the field and also why that could then lead to villainy But not what Grayson is about and after all that was what made him such a good counterpoint later to Damian Wayne when he had the cowl.
What can we expect next?
Well in a week or so we will find out, Anticipation is high so here is hoping it pays of. But as you will see in the past Dick has been evil but pains have been made to distance these from the clean cut former Kid Wonder, Either being chopped into a complicated mess of retcons and significantly changed visually like Deathwing, Being a temporary charade like Renegade or taking place entirely removed from DC canon like in Miller’s stories. Either way evil or dead or an uncertain future things look grim from Nightwing right now.