Warning: SPOILERS for Nightwing #51
Dick Grayson may be retiring from his role as a Bat-Family superhero, but a new Blüdhaven police officer has stepped up to become DC's new Nightwing.
It isn't the first time that a member of the Batman family decided to call it quits, only to have another civilian take on the responsibilities. But it is the first time that Bruce Wayne's original Robin has decided to cut ties to his old life, and start living for himself (taking a bullet to the head will do that to you). And for Dick Grayson-- sorry, Ric Grayson these days, that means burning his Nightwing costumes and weaponry, and starting fresh.
At least that was his intention... but DC's newest Nightwing has different plans for the hero's legacy.
- This Page: The Identity of The New Nightwing
- Next Page: Dick Grayson isn't Actually Quitting, Right?
Nightwing's Base is Found by a (Good) Cop
When we say Grayson meant to burn what remained of Nightwing, we're not using metaphor: Nightwing #50 ended with Batman's former sidekick setting fire to his costumes, his tech, weapons, motorcycle, everything. The first scene of Nightwing #51 shows that the arson was less than flawless, and Blüdhaven firefighters were able to put out the blaze before it actually consumed all, or from the looks of it, even most of the contents. The smoke kept the firefighters from identifying the base for what it truly was - but not Detective Sapienza, the first member of Blüdhaven police to arrive and discover the former headquarters of Nightwing.
Sapienza offers a new perspective on Dick's brain injury, recovery, and retirement by revealing that four months have passed without any sign of the city's former protector. And considering that Blüdhaven has often been seen as corrupt and dangerous enough to make Gotham look good, the criminal element has flourished in Nightwing's absence. And when the fire chief reassures Sapienza that he's doing everything in his power to keep the city's worst elements at bay, the gears being turning in the detective's head.
Looking out at a city desperately in need of its high-flying, vigilante guardian angel, and standing in front of Nightwing's arsenal without any sign of the hero's return... the answer is clear.
DC's New Nightwing is Born
The Epilogue of this issue returns to the scene, as Detective Sapienza (whose first name is not yet given) dons the costume and mask made famous by Nightwing. The detective's accompanying dialogue boxes confirm he's doing this job for all the right reasons, looking to protect the citizens of Blüdhaven that he can't protect as just a police officer. Where that line is going to be drawn is the biggest question moving forward, especially given the one major difference between Sapienza's Nightwing, and Dick Grayson's.
The biggest difference in their costumes is the holster and handgun - a common accessory for a police detective, but a detail guaranteed to concern some fans based on the above image alone. If it's simply to emphasize that a different kind of person has taken over as the new Nightwing, then the change could be an intriguing one. After all, Dick Grayson chose a career in law enforcement as part of creating his own path (which ultimately created the Nightwing identity).
But if the gun is a sign that Detective Sapienza is going to don the Nightwing costume so he can use force not allowed by a peace officer... well, we're sure Dick's other Bat-allies will have something to say about it. Because we seriously doubt that Dick Grayson himself will actually care...