Warning: SPOILERS for Batman #55
Batman has potentially suffered another huge personal loss, as Batman #55 ends with Nightwing a.k.a. Dick Grayson being shot in the head by a sniper's bullet. As if Bruce Wayne seeing his marriage to Catwoman fall apart wasn't heartbreaking enough.
It seemed like things were starting to look up for the Caped Crusader in Batman #54. The issue was focused on Nightwing and Batman's personal relationship, and why Bruce Wayne and Dick Grayson is a match made to last. Evidently though, Batman #54 was just the set-up to a another huge emotional gut punch in Batman #55. And a painful reminder of how important Nightwing is to Batman. Or was... assuming the bullet to Dick's head is as world-changing as it seems.
The arrival of Nightwing's seemingly fatal injury comes completely without warning. The issue is told in two halves: one a continuation of the previous issue with Nightwing and Batman patrolling Gotham's streets (with the former cracking jokes in an effort to cheer up his former father figure). The other half sees the return of the villain KGBeast, ready to exact his revenge on Batman. KGBeast was last seen in Scott Snyder's All-Star Batman where he was hired by Gotham crime lords to hunt down the Dark Knight. The hunt obviously didn't go in his favor, which only gives the villain another reason to want revenge (across all canon and non-canon storylines).
KGBeast tracks Batman and Nightwing to the rooftop of the GCPD where the Bat Signal is kept. As the dynamic duo talks to Commissioner Gordon, The Beast strikes. KGBeast uses a sniper rifle from across the street to shoot Nightwing directly in the head. The comic doesn't show the moment of impact in detail, leaving the immediate aftermath a mystery, beyond a few speech bubbles. Batman evidently screams, "No" while Jim Gordon calls for a medical team and back-up.
Neither is great news for Gotham's happiest hero, but fans shouldn't worry too much. Dick Grayson isn't going anywhere, at least not the way most might fear. Dick will survive his head wound, but it will come at a cost. Nightwing's attack will institute a tried and true comic book trope: amnesia. The publisher has given enough hints that KGBeast's attempted murder in Batman #55 will carry over into the mainline Nightwing series starting with Nightwing #50. Nightwing #50 will start a four issue arc where Nightwing effectively "dies" to be replaced by Dick Grayson (via CBR). In other words, the injury will make Dick Grayson lose all memory of his training, his history as a superhero, and his connection the Bat Family. Dick Grayson's body will survive... but Batman (and everyone else) will still lose Nightwing.
However, it's important to keep in mind that this still happening in comic books. Any shift in the status quo is almost always reversed, meaning Nightwing's "death" is almost certainly a very temporary situation. Batman himself has suffered a similar fate, seemingly dying and losing all his memory in Scott Snyder's "Endgame" story arc. The amnesiac Bruce Wayne was out of the cowl for an extended period of time as Jim Gordon took over the mantle of Batman, but it's unlikely the same will happen for Nightwing.
The real after-effects of Nightwing's attack is how the trauma will impact Batman. Dick Grayon might lose his memory, but Batman won't forget the attack any time soon. The memory of Nightwing being shot before his eyes is guaranteed to fuel him in his search to find out why, and on whose will KGBeast was acting. Even if he finds the answer he and the reader expects, the misery on Batman's platter is starting to get sky-high. Bad news for the villains, because a depressed Batman is a dangerous Batman.
Batman #55 is available now from DC Comics.