KYLE HIGGINS on NIGHTWING's Ties to Babs & Slade



When Batman fans originally found out Dick Grayson was back in his Nightwing costume, there were a lot of questions about what the change meant.

After all, just a few weeks ago, Dick Grayson was Batman.

Now that readers have read Nightwing #1, many of those concerns have been answered by writer Kyle Higgins and artist Eddy Barrows. The character's history as Batman isn't gone, and he's more focused on his role as Nightwing than he's ever been.

Yet there are still questions about what parts of his history have changed. For example, Higgins has confirmed that Dick was now adopted by Bruce Wayne when he was 16 instead of when he was 12, because of the DC Universe only existing five years.

Next up for Nightwing fans will be an exploration of his relationship with Barbara Gordon, as Dick appears first in Batgirl #3 then Nightwing #4.

Then we'll find out more about Dick's background with Slade Wilson, as Higgins writes both Nightwing and Deathstroke.

And Batman writer Scott Snyder already confirmed to Newsarama that his title is connected to Nightwing, which isn't surprising, since the two co-wrote the recent Batman: Gates of Gotham mini-series.

Newsarama caught up with Higgins at New York Comic Con to find out more about the Nightwing title -- and we found out what T-shirt he had on under his button-up shirt.

Newsarama: Kyle, now that we've read issue #1, what can you tell us about how things continue this week in issue #2?

Kyle Higgins: You know, Issue #1 is really tough when you have a legacy character, because you have all the exposition you need to set up while also teasing out what the new direction is going to be.

Now that we're through that, the series really kicks into high gear. So I'm really excited about issue #2, even more than I was for issue #1.

Issue #2 is continuing that idea that Dick Grayson as Nightwing is at a point in his life where his confidence and skills are at an all-time high. And he's looking to the future.

Nightwing to me is a character who is inspirational. Whereas Batman is more a symbol of fear to criminals, Nightwing is a symbol of hope and inspiration to people, the civilians.

However to really embrace his role as a future savior of Gotham City, he has to go through a Gotham that's trying to ruin him via his past.

With the circus coming back, there's a secret of the circus that may relate to the final teaser at the end of issue #1 of Dick Grayson being the fiercest killer in all of Gotham.


Beyond that, there are some interesting twists and turns with Mr. Haley, and the direction of the Haley Circus, as well as Dick's potential future role in it. So just as he's settled into Gotham, Haley's Circus, his past, is coming back and trying to tear him away.

Nrama: In the latest solicitations, it's been revealed that he's going to be traveling with the circus. Is that what guides the settings in this arc?

Higgins: Yes. He's going to go out with the circus. The events that happen in issue #2 are going to push Dick in a direction where, in order to find the answers to the mystery about the circus and himself, he ends up traveling with the circus.

What's cool is that, as he goes from city to city, as he's trying to find these answers, there are new threats coming up in each issue, and those are not going to be just one-and-done characters.

So the new villains and new threats he encounters while he's traveling with the circus are all going to come back to the book again. It's all part of my plan to build a rogues gallery for Nightwing. I'm doing it by taking him out on the road initially. So when he returns to Gotham, all these villains that he's affected during their encounters now have vendettas against him and will filter back to Gotham City... And they'll be different from when we first see them.

Nrama: Is the villain for hire that we saw in the first issue going to play a role in Nightwing's story, or is he just a pawn in a much bigger chess game?

Higgins: There's definitely a bigger chess game at play, so the mystery is who hired him? But at the same time, this character is important because he's part of this whole network of assassins and hired killers.

Nrama: Which you're also writing about in Deathstroke.

Higgins: Yeah! Isn't that funny? Hmmm.

But we're also going to explore that network a bit in Nightwing #3, because Dick Grayson realizes there are agents out there  -- booking agents who find work for these hired killers, assassins and mercenaries... like Christoph in Deathstroke. So Nightwing puts pressure on one of them.

Nrama: Since you're writing both Deathstroke and Nightwing, do the new, relaunched Dick and Slade already have a past?

Higgins: Well, this universe is a little different, so their relationship is as well. And I'll just say that I do intend to develop that relationship, so you'll find out the nature of it.

People who are reading Deathstroke will see something soon that will have a direct correlation to what I'm doing in Nightwing. And really, there are themes that overlap, as people try to manipulate the main characters in both books.

Nrama: Scott Snyder told us it wasn't a coincidence that Dick Grayson was implicated at the end of both Batman and Nightwing. That was on purpose?

Higgins: Very much so. I've known what Scott has been planning for Batman since before we launched Gates of Gotham. Before that project was even in the works, Scott and I were working on story ideas because he'd read my Nightrunner material and we just gelled and became really good friends really fast. He was sharing his pitches, and I was running my pitches past him that I was preparing for DC.

So when I was writing my first issue of Nightwing, I wanted to strengthen the twist that Scott was doing at the end of Batman. Dick Grayson plays a prominent role in Batman.

Nrama: So are the two books linked?

Higgins: Well, there's a connection between them, but the connection may not be what you think. They're definitely connected thematically though.


Nrama: Let's talk about issue #4 of Nightwing. We get to see Barbara Gordon working with Dick?

Higgins: Yes! She comes down to Miami working a case that she started in Gotham.

Nrama: But we'll see them together first in Batgirl #3. Does this meeting connect to that meeting?

Higgins: I'll just say that Gail Simone's issue #3 of Batgirl leaves things in such a way that it makes sense for me to follow up.

Nrama: Every time I've talked to you about this book, and even in the panel at New York Comic Con, you've re-iterated that Dick Grayson is your favorite character. So it doesn't surprise me that you'll be on this book for awhile.

Higgins: He's my all-time favorite character.

Nrama: I even saw the Nightwing T-shirt you were wearing underneath your shirt, with Dick in the disco costume.


Higgins: You saw it? Yeah, I have so much Nightwing stuff in my apartment. My film thesis from college was basically about a Nightwing character. He's the reason why I read comics. That was my book.

It's interesting, because I'm writing a continuation of a character that I love, but I'm also trying to make sure there's a bit of a new direction and a new take on the character. Well, not necessarily a completely a new take, but a new way of looking at him, through the lens of the New 52.

Check back later this week for our discussion with Higgins about what's coming up in his other "New 52" comic book, Deathstroke.

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