WARNING: This article contains SPOILERS for Nightwing #47
DC has confirmed that Nightwing, otherwise known as Dick Grayson or the first Robin, is one the universe's most important heroes. The overall story of Nightwing #47 sees Dick trying to take down new villain Wyrm. Nightwing is semi-successful; Wyrm's plan is thwarted, but the baddie escapes justice. However, the more intriguing element of Nightwing #47 is what it confirms about Dick Grayson's place in the DCU.
It's revealed by the end of the issue that Wyrm has big plans for Nightwing. Wyrm wants to control Nightwing's mind is because, in Wyrm's estimation, there is no hero in the DC Universe more valuable than Dick Grayson.
Honestly, Nightwing is the metaphorical hinge on which most of DC's mightiest heroes swing.
Most of Nightwing #47 details Dick's efforts (with a major assist from Batgirl) to cut Wyrm off at the knees. Wyrm, a maleovent and self-aware AI, is looking to control the city of Bludhaven through technology. The heroic mission is a lot of techno-talk and punching, but it's not really until Wyrm reveals to his lackey, Willem Cloke (and by extension the audience) why he's hunting Nightwing that things get interesting.
According to Wyrm, Nightwing is the "center in a web of heroes." In other words, as either Nightwing or Dick Grayson, Batman's former ward is connected to every major figure in the DC Universe. Dick Grayson's past as the first Robin clearly anchors his connection to Batman and the entire Batfamily. He;s even become Batman for extended periods of time, and served on the Justice League. He was also the first leader of the Teen Titans, as well as the current leader of DC's newest roster of Titans. And as the DC historians know even the name Nightwing comes from Superman, and a piece of Kryptonian folklore.
There may not be anyone more popular than Dick Grayson in the DC Universe itself. Over the course of that career, Dick has commanded respect from the very best heroes (even if he's not as mainstream as Batman, Superman or even Wonder Woman). Wyrm hopes that by taking control of Nightwing, he will therefore have an "in" to controlling the entire DC hero line-up.
The (failed) takeover of Bludhaven isn't Wyrm's only ambition. Wyrm wants universal dominance beyond it... and Nightwing is the key to unlock it.
In the context of Nightwing's comic series, Wyrm's goals are pretty straightforward. After all, world domination isn't a new supervillain pursuit. The far more meaningful examination is how Wyrm's musings serve as a canon confirmation of Nightwing's importance. He has always been a praised, influential character. Yet DC has rarely been so explicit about his significance, instead leaving those assumptions to the most hardcore fans.
The confirmation is even more intriguing with the looming prospect of a Nightwing movie in the DCEU. Will the movie demonstrate or help establish Nightwing's importance in the DCEU, with a plan to have him brushing shoulders with the other franchise stars? A Nightwing movie could also take a more standalone approach, like Wonder Woman or Shazam! seems to be relying upon for success.
But if part of what makes Dick Grayson so special is his interpersonal connections... then DC Films has a challenge on their hands.
Nightwing #47 is available now from DC Comics.