Concept Factory: “Nightwing: Brave and the Bold”

As perhaps the most successful “legacy” character in comics (besides Wally West), sometimes Dick Grayson feels underused and under-appreciated. Dick Grayson—as Robin, Nightwing, and Batman—has fought alongside a score of heroes. He’s led the Teen Titans, the Titans, the Outsiders, and the Justice League. He’s even fought alongside major villains (while undercover of course). In being that awesome guy everyone knows, gets along with, and the ability to adapt, Nightwing is the closest thing to Marvel’s Spider-Man, especially during its Marvel Team-Up series. Hell, I almost want to call him the Kevin Bacon of DC Comics. Often he hasn’t been given the most interesting villains or supporting cast, but this is where a new title could come in:

Nightwing: Brave and the Bold.

You see, DC had it’s own “team up” book far before Marvel did, called Brave & the Bold, starring Batman (the real Kevin Bacon of DC Comics). This was recently resurrected by DC Entertainment into a successful (and quite fun) cartoon TV series. Teaming Batman with a ton of unlikely allies makes for an easy concept, a fun dynamic, and a chance for lesser-known heroes to shine when characters like Superman, Wonder Woman, and Green Lantern usually steal the limelight.

But what if it was used to give both the main character and the guest-stars the attention they deserve?

In this, he could be more than just Batman’s “first sidekick”, more than just “That Gotham Guy that isn’t Batman” (anymore). He’d be that guy who teamed up with the Creeper to take out those lunatic werewolf warehouse workers. Or undercover as a villain to see what the Rogues in Keystone City are doing before meeting and teaming with the Flash. Tales could be as grim and gritty as a team up with I, Vampire’s Andrew Bennett would be, as weird and disturbing as a team up with John Constantine could be, or as cosmic and exciting as a team up with the Green Lanterns could be.

Dick Grayson’s been in the tights since adolescence—so he’s comfortable with danger and how to think fast on his feet—and was trained by one of the smartest men in DC. All of this alone makes him uniquely suited for the insane situations different comic book genres contain. At this point, superheroing is as normal to him as breathing. Every conflict he finds may not be in his expertise, but for a quickly adapting, sharp mind like Dick’s, surviving, defeating the bad guys, and saving the day is a cake-walk.

Plus with his pre-Flashpoint history, it’d be interesting to explore new takes on previous relationships, like teaming with the new Justice League (and Cyborg in particular), or riding with Red Hood and the Outlaws to see his interactions with Starfire, Roy Harper, and Jason Todd. Or meeting Huntress on her otherworldly adventures with Power Girl, or even meeting his original Earth 2 counterpart who never outgrew the role of Robin.

“So my hot ex-girlfriend Starfire is sleeping with one of my closest friends and my ex-rival. FML.”

All of this could be more than just a glorified “DC Presents” book, too. Perhaps kicking off with a huge conspiracy plot Dick’s trying to solve, this Brave and the Bold could appear as an anthology series and later develop into something much larger in scope. Introduce an interconnected web of twists and turns and a compelling narrative and Nightwing: Brave and the Bold could make for an addictive series that keeps readers coming back for more.

His adventures abroad would only increase the narrative possibilities in his own book, widening its possible scope and adding more depth. And honestly, he needs it. But more importantly, he deserves it. He’s proved he’s as good as Bruce Wayne (both critically and financially, according to most reviews and statistics on Grant Morrison’s Batman & Robin run) and he’s one of the most well known characters in the DCU. The Court of Owls storyline added some strength to Dick’s story, but let’s do more. Give Dick his due, DC Comics, and remind people why the first Robin is more than just a 60’s TV joke or a throwaway fan service in movies.

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