Nightwing Embodies Batman’s Greatest Lesson After Bruce’s Death

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Warning: preview images for Justice League: Road to Dark Crisis #1 are ahead! 

Few characters hold the distinction of working along Batman for as long as Nightwing has. When Dick Grayson lost his parents and was adopted by Bruce Wayne, the Batman set out to do more than recruit and rehabilitate a vulnerable young man. Batman set out to teach Nightwing everything he would need to succeed as both a crime fighter, and a human being; following the Justice League’s apparent demise, Nightwing embodies Bruce’s greatest lesson when it matters most.

Dark Crisis is the DC Universe’s next big event, with the death of the Justice League setting off a great chain of events as the next generation of heroes scramble in their absence. For next generation heroes like Nightwing, Jon Kent’s Superman, Yara Flor’s Wonder Woman, Jo Mullein’s Green Lantern, and Jace Fox’s Batman, Dark Crisis presents an opportunity for them to step into their mentors’ shoes, though the process will be far from easy.

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Related: Nightwing’s Secret Justice League Role Explains Why He Isn’t on the Team

In Justice League: Road to Dark Crisis #1’s “Team Up” by Joshua Williamson and Dan Jurgens, Nightwing is interrupted by a panicked Jon Kent, who has just learned of the League’s apparent deaths. Dick sits Jon down and consoles him; after ordering some comfort food, their lunch is interrupted by another emergency demanding the combined might of The Man of Steel and Blüdhaven’s Favored Son. As a member of the Bat-Family, it’s obvious that Nightwing can hold his own in a fight, and serve as a great detective when the occasion demands it. While these were key formative aspects of his tutelage under Batman, his interaction with a distraught Jon shows both Batman’s most important lesson, and his greatest personal strength: compassion. Dick’s initial reaction is a little coarse since he’s been around long enough to see several heroes (including Batman) die and come back to life. Nightwing believes that this time will be no different, and as such, there is nothing to worry about.

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Nightwing quickly picks up that his attitude and citing precedent doesn’t do enough to help Superman, and takes on a more compassionate approach to console the Man of Tomorrow. Dick admits his own moments of doubt, and the times that he’s really struggled with the death of his loved ones, and their eventual return, relating to Jon and showing that those anxieties and fears are normal, and that the League has proven that they can always hold on to hope. Crowning the pep-talk with two orders of Clark Kent’s favorite steak, Nightwing is able to comfort Jon, and agrees to attend the younger heroes’ vigil for the fallen League. Dick understands how much his participation would mean to Jon and the other younger heroes, and how important it would be to keep morale up in the face of a new threat. Nightwing’s compassion here is both about consoling a dear friend, and ensuring that the younger heroes like those at the Teen Titans Academy are in a fit state of mind to defend the Earth.

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Batman has many lessons for the members of the Bat-Family, from managing obscene amounts of wealth to consistently winning six-versus-one fights. His greatest lesson, however, is compassion: one of the driving forces behind his war on crime. As the Justice League has seemingly perished, Nightwing has stepped up and demonstrated Batman-levels of compassion as he consoles Superman as it appears that his father is among the dead.

More: Batman’s Ultimate Anti-Superman Armor Has a Terrifying Secret Weapon

Justice League: Road to Dark Crisis #1 will release from DC Comics on May 31st, 2022.

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