Is Nightwing destined to be a Kryptonian god? Based on the trials and tribulations faced by another person to bear the moniker, it seems Dick Grayson could potentially be powerful deity just waiting to ascend to an amazing level of power.
While the hero name “Nightwing” might sound like it fits right into the Bat-Family, the name actually has an interesting history behind it. The name is classically associated with Superman and was originally a secret identity the hero went by when he visited the bottle city of Kandor. The Post-Crisis continuity would establish the hero Nightwing and his partner Flamebird as figures of Kryptonian legend and later, portray them as actual deities once worshipped by the people of Krypton. A young Dick Grayson was so enraptured by the tales told by Superman, he took on the name of Nightwing as a tribute to the hero.
But is Dick’s hero identity more than just a namesake? Based on the life of another Nightwing, it’s quite possible. The lesser-known Nightwing’s life was explored in Action Comics Annual #12 by Greg Rucka and Pere Pérez. This young man is Lor-Zod, the one and only child of General Zod and foster son of Superman. Lor-Zod, aka Chris Kent, lives as a prisoner of his mother and father due to his association with their hated enemy, Kal-El. Chris doesn’t know it, but he’s actually the reincarnation of Nightwing, the Kryptonian god of shadows. Kent reaches out to the reincarnation of his other half, Flamebird, aka Thara Ak-Var, to help free him from the Phantom Zone. Against all logic, Thara ventures to the ethereal space to rescue Chris. With nothing but a primal yearning spurring their reunion on, the narration clarifies that “Flamebird and Nightwing are defined, time and again, by their emotion.“
For Dick, Nightwing knows how feelings can take the lead. Of all the members of the Bat-Family, Dick is the one ruled most by his emotions. He also knows a thing or two about sorrow, facing similar struggles as the Kryptonian Nightwing did with loneliness and loss. While these issues might come with the hero territory, it’s Dick’s choice of the Nightwing mantle that really brings his past experiences and personal traits into a new light.
Is it possible that Dick could have some parts of the Kryptonian god within him? With Dick Grayson’s exuberance and optimism, he certainly takes more after Superman than the Dark Knight. The legendary Nightwing is also a ruler of shadows, the same environment Dick honed his skills in. While Dick is missing a part of the prophecy (i.e. a stable Flamebird), it would be an interesting avenue for the hero to explore. Dick’s already been down the road of being Batman before and it inevitably takes him back to Nightwing. If Dick really was the reincarnation of a Kryptonian god, that could make him potentially one of the most powerful heroes in the DC Universe. If anyone deserves that level of power-up, it would absolutely be the Superman-influenced Nightwing.
Next: Nightwing’s ‘Last Words’ Were the Perfect Tribute to His Father