Did Batgirl just spoil Nightwing's fate in Forever Evil?
With the delay of Forever Evil #7 until late May, several DC comics that have been released so far in April are taking place after the end of the event — because issue #7 was originally expected to be in readers' hands by now.
After the launch of Forever Evil in September, the plan was for most other comic books in the DC Universe to continue as if they took place before the event started. After Forever Evil ended, all DC comics in April were supposed to jump forward in time, taking place after the event.
In most April comics released so far, the change in timing is subtle — for example, in Superman/Wonder Woman #7, the superhero couple talks about how a lot of time has passed since they spent time alone together (even though they were just together in March's issue).
But in this week's Batgirl #30, written by Marguerite Bennett (rather than series writer Gail Simone), title character Barbara Gordon is referring to Nightwing/Dick Grayson in the past tense — how he "understood" and that he "used to laugh" at her.
"Dick used to do a lot of things, but now he's gone, isn't he?" she says, later adding, "I do think of him... and it hurts to think of him."
When Forever Evil #6 ended, Dick Grayson was technically dead, but every indication was that he could be revived before the mini-series ended.
Readers have previously wondered if Dick Grayson might survive Forever Evil but go into hiding for awhile, or change his name, because his secret identity was revealed during the series.
But Batgirl #30 indicates that Barbara Gordon thinks he's dead — or at the very least, so far gone that she's talking about him in the past tense.
Would Dick Grayson fake his own death? Would he keep the secret of his survival from the inner circle of the Bat-universe? Would he keep it from Barbara Gordon?
Or is Babs talking about Dick Grayson in the past tense because he actually stays dead in Forever Evil?
The last we saw Nightwing, Lex Luthor killed him because he was trying to stop a bomb that was connected to the young hero's heart. But after Nightwing flatlined, and the bomb was disarmed, Lex Luthor said to Batman "it's not too late."
Internet fans have already been concerned about the possibility that Nightwing would die because DC canceled his series, and his secret identity was outed in Forever Evil #1. The hero is also not mentioned in any teasers for the year-long weekly series, Batman Eternal.
However, there is a character wearing a Nightwing-looking mask in the "Happy Batsgiving" teaser, but he has blond hair (not Dick Grayson's black locks). So either Dick Grayson bleaches his hair for some reason, or someone else takes his mantle.
Batgirl doesn't change any of these possible outcomes, but it does raise even more concerns about whether Nightwing will survive. And if he does live through the ending of Forever Evil, Batgirl must at least think he's dead and/or gone for good.