Nightwing was once DC’s best secret agent, and in the latest issue of Batman, Dick Grayson proves he’s still got the spy game chops!
Warning: contains spoilers for Batman #104!
Nightwing just proved once again why he is one of DC’s best secret agents! In Batman #104, writer James Tynion IV, artists Ryan Benjamin, Danny Miki, Bengal and Guillem March and colorist David Baron showcase for readers Dick Grayson’s amazing secret agent skills as he and the rest of Bat-family search for information on the Ghost-Maker, a new vigilante in Gotham with ties to Batman’s past.
Dick Grayson has had several alter-egos in addition to Nightwing. In addition to being the first Robin, he has also filled in for Bruce Wayne as Batman on two occasions, but one of the more unconventional roles he has found himself in was that of an agent of Spyral, a spy network in the DC Universe. Ordered to infiltrate the organization by Batman, Grayson abandoned the Nightwing persona and became a secret agent. He would eventually return to being Nightwing, but he never forgot the secret agent part of him, and those skills are on full display for fans in this issue.
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Ghost-Maker, a mysterious vigilante who trained alongside Bruce Wayne, has arrived in Gotham, declaring Batman a failure and cleaning up the streets in a violent and extreme manner. At the end of the previous issue, Ghost-Maker imprisoned Batman, Harley Quinn and Clownhunter in a secret lair. Now, the rest of the Bat-family, including Nightwing and Barbara Gordon (acting as Oracle), are scrambling to not only find where Batman and the others are being held, but to find out any information on Ghost-Maker that could be of help. Nightwing reveals that when he was Robin, he and Batman had a run in with Ghost-Maker.
And it was here that Nightwing showed off his secret agent chops, revealing that he learned about the Ghost-Maker while in Spyral, and was already using this information to help find the Ghost-Maker; even Barbara Gordon, the premiere information broker in the DC Universe, was amazed at what he knew. There was also a deeper reason for Nightwing learning this information: he had felt like Ghost-Maker was truly Batman’s first partner, and thus had felt threatened.
Ghost-Maker is an impressive villain who is close to Batman’s abilities in terms of working off the grid and covering his vigilante tracks, but what is even more impressive is that Nightwing used his secret agent training to find out this information not even because of a present threat, but just in the event he would ever need it. Nightwing’s time with Spyral was a heady, secretive affair, so the fact he was planning ahead for future conflict and solving old mysteries shows that he wasn’t just playing spy: he was one. DC have taken pains to keep Nightwing’s time with Spyral at the forefront of reader memory, making it not just one adventure, but a pivotal experience for the character that informed him going forward. Will Nightwing go undercover again soon, and will these skills translate to actually fighting Ghost-Maker and freeing Batman? Fans will have to wait to find out.
Next: How Nightwing Was a Better Father Figure to Robin than Batman
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