Warning: SPOILERS for Knight Terrors: Nightwing #2 Even after reconciling most of their differences, Nightwing may still be harboring a deadly grudge against his father figure, Batman. The two vigilantes are like family to each other, but that doesn’t stop Dick Grayson from resenting his mentor’s long shadow — and now one nightmare suggests that he secretly wants to kill Batman once and for all.
This secret desire is revealed by none other than Scarecrow in Knight Terrors: Nightwing #2 by Becky Cloonan, Michael W. Conrad, Daniele Di Nicuolo, Adriano Lucas, and Wes Abbott. Nightwing is trapped in a nightmare in which he’s been imprisoned in Arkham Asylum after killing Batman. Though the events aren’t reality — the characters are literally stuck in a dream — Nightwing’s tentative ally, Scarecrow, suggests there’s some truth to Dick Grayson’s nightmare.
“A part of you liked it,” says Crane as Nightwing begins to escape the nightmare realm. “That time you got to kill Daddy.” His narration goes on to suggest that there’s a “thin margin between dread and desire.“
Nightwing Has a Complicated History with Batman
Nightwing — along with other Bat-Family members and much of the rest of the DC Universe — has been trapped in a nightmare realm by the new villain Insomnia. The Knight Terrors event has forced the characters of the DCU to confront their worst fears and even their own character flaws, and Nightwing has not escaped this fate. But just being trapped in Arkham Asylum is not scary enough for Dick Grayson; he conjures an even worse fear in the shape of his own violence and anger towards his father figure, Bruce Wayne, who raised him after his biological parents were killed — and who gave him the role of Robin.
Despite his generally cheerful nature, Nightwing is no stranger to anger, and he has been known to lash out at those who’ve wronged him. Even though Scarecrow is the one who calls out Dick’s desire to “kill Daddy,” the accusation rings true, and many of these Knight Terrors dreams have reflected the darkest parts of DC’s heroes. Nightwing has a history of resenting Batman for his cold and obsessive nature, especially considering how that nature shaped Dick’s own childhood as Robin. It makes a sick kind of sense that he would secretly want to get rid of Batman, even by killing him.
Nightwing Is Ready to Step Out of Batman’s Shadow
That Nightwing wants to kill Batman in his dreams only proves that Dick Grayson has a fraught relationship with his father, Bruce Wayne. To “kill” one’s father can also serve as a metaphor for shaking off a parent’s influence, after all, and Nightwing — as opposed to Grayson or even Robin — has wanted to step out of Batman’s shadow since his Teen Titan days. Though it’s deeply unlikely that a hero as truly good as Nightwing would ever resort to literally killing Batman, this nightmare proves that Nightwing wants nothing more than to stand on his own as both a hero and a man.
Check out Knight Terrors: Nightwing #2, available now from DC Comics!