Nightwing's New Codename Redefines the Dark Secret Behind His Origin

Contains spoilers for DC vs. Vampires: All-Out War #1!

Dick Grayson's name has been given a new dark meaning, pushing him further away from his heroic Nightwing mantle. Nightwing is now king of the vampires, having infected or killed most of his fellow heroes to install a new world order. Now, his undead servants are bringing back a name with twisted connections to his origin.

During an attempt to revive Batman with a Lazarus pit, in DC vs Vampires: All-Out War #1 (by Guillaume Singelin, Alex Paknadel, Matthew Rosenberg and Pasquale Qualano), various survivors of Nightwing's new world order encounter a vampirized Azrael, who claims to be a member of the Order of the Gray Sun - immediate servants of the vampiric regime. This new name is an interesting choice, since not only does it reference the fact the vampires have successfully blocked out the sun, but also calls back to Dick's original villainous destiny in the DC Universe.


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Nightwing grew up in a circus, but this circus had a dark secret - it was actually run by the Court of Owls. The Court would pick the most talented acrobats from Haly's circus and take them in, training them to become the next Talon, an enforcer for the Court. While this is already bad news for Dick, there was an even bigger connection that he personally had to the court. Dick Grayson's great-grandfather, William Cobb, specifically gave his son the name 'Grayson' because Cobb wanted the Owls to accept him as the "Gray Son of Gotham," as seen in Nightwing #9 by Kyle Higgens, Eddy Barrows, and Andres Guinaldo.

Nightwing Robin vampire

This shows that throughout his family line Dick Grayson was literally bred to be a killer. Growing up, Dick was meant to eventually join the Court and become their greatest Talon. Dick avoided becoming the new 'Gray Son of Gotham' in DC's mainstream reality, but now as the vampiric Gray Sun, he's finally claiming a version of the mantle that Bruce Wayne helped him avoid. Nightwing is such a hero that his good nature is actually a multiversal constant, but there is still darkness in his past always reaching for him. His new title shows that in this reality, his fall isn't random, but the fulfillment of his intended origin as a killer supreme - albeit one who rules Earth rather than serving the Court.

In becoming the Gray Sun, Dick Grayson has both embraced and defied his intended fate - instead of being something that was meant to designate servitude, the name is used for someone who rules over all. Nightwing's new power is beyond anything the Court of Owls dreamed for him, and yet the tragic truth is that Dick Grayson has justified their twisted plans for him by showing just how high he can rise once he embraces evil.