This version of the DC Comics superhero Nightwing comes from the alternate universe of Absolute DC .
Issue 8: Absolute VengeanceEdit
The southern African states in modern days are in a continuous upheaval of warlords profitting off of the callous slaughter and rape of innocent people to assume great military power through fear. There are many men and women who attempt every day to escape these reigns of terror, refugees with no true hero to call their own. Until now...
Years ago, a South African woman Marjani had been forcibly married to a warlord from a neighboring country, who made his way into the city of Johannesburg to sell drugs and firearms. Violated every night, Marjani finally managed to take a large shard of glass and plunge it into his eye to escape. She ran for months before finding sanctuary in a coast city. Marjani sold her body to a group of smugglers who managed to sneak her onto a cargo ship to America. Making a new start for herself in New York City, Marjani worked two jobs to support herself, but ran afoul of a local street gang. They used her as a drug mule in exchange for her life, but when a supply run went rotten, they tried to kill her. A narcotic task force officer named John Grayson saved her life in the shootout, and he helped her get legal citizenship into the USA after she testified against the gang members. John and Marjani's relationship blossomed into romance and they were soon enough married. They then had a son they named Richard Grayson.
John was later transferred, so the family moved from New York to Pittsburgh, PA. When Rich was nine years old, the Grayson family was beginning to make its way home from the circus when they were assaulted by a custodian from the circus crew; John was instantly killed, and as Marjani took her last breath, she told Rich that recognized the custodian as the vicious warlord she was married to by his scarred eye. None of John's relatives wanted Rich, and Marjani had no family in the US, so Rich was shipped from foster home to foster home. And with no solid support, the boy fell sharply into delinquency.
It has been 8 years now, and Rich has fallen into a bad way. Upon returning to Pittsburgh, 17-year-old Rich Grayson adopted the persona of a vengeful vigilante known as the Nightwing. His skills as a thief and free runner were serviceable, but his inability to infiltrate criminal strongholds or engage in hand-to-hand combat is matched only by his violent streak and impatience. One night, Nightwing barged in on a black market deal involving domestic chemical magnate-turned-crime lord Carmine "The Roman" Falcone and his impish attorney Harvey Dent. As one can imagine, Nightwing was easily beaten was about to be executed when the Batman, a more disciplined and successful crime-fighter, intervened. As the fight ensued, the weakened Nightwing seized a gun and tried to fire on Carmine, but the bullet struck a chemical canister and caused an explosion. Batman then saved Nightwing from the resulting fire, but then handcuffed him in an adjacent building since he saw him as a liability. The Batman had been able to gain video footage of Rich's uncovered identity and his reckless endangerment of the criminals he assaulted and was planning to turn him over to the police... but he decided to strike a deal with him. He saw much potential in Nightwing as a true hero, but he needed discipline, so Batman offered him a year of his tutelage in exchange for the video. Rich didn't trust the Bat, and figured he was bluffing about the footage, but he decided to play it safe and accept Batman's deal.
A year passed as Nightwing learned the skills that Batman developed in order to fight crime more effectively, and without endangering anymore lives. Their relationship evolved from blackmail to a true partnership and mutual respect, and when it time for Batman to uphold his end of their deal, Rich allowed him to keep the tape. A powerful hero in his own right, Nightwing finally found the warlord who killed his parents to bring him to justice; he had dreamed all his life about killing this scumbag, but his comeuppance through legal channels was able to end his terror in his mother's home country, which brought Rich greater satisfaction. With his parents avenged, Nightwing decided to travel to Africa to bring down the other warlords who plagued the innocent. He traveled to Johannesburg, South Africa, setting up patrol in the neighborhood called Blue Haven. After months of investigation, Nightwing will confront the head of the region's drug trade, a rogue Lieutenant Colonel from the American military...
- The decision to make Richard Grayson biracial came from an early script for Batman Returns where he would have been played by Marlon Wayans.
- There is no Robin for right now, but it would probably be a lesser-known bearer of the name for the Absolute version of him/her.
- “Marjani” is the African version of Mary Grayson.
- The African warlord responsible for killing Rich's parents is based on Tony Zucco.
- Pittsburgh is in place for the fictional Gotham City.
- Absolute Nightwing's origin is a mix of Mainstream Batman and the angst of “Tad Ryerstad”, a mainstream vigilante called “Nite-Wing”.
- Carmine Falcone survived the explosion, but was heavily scarred. He became the crime boss called “Black Mask.”
- Harvey Dent survived the explosion unscathed, but his psychotic personality, which stems from childhood abuse, surfaced. This new alternate personality controls Harvey, speaking it's decisions over their victims' fates through the toss of a special coin. When Batman faced this new criminal, he caused Harvey to lose the coin, and without it the voice drove him mad. Until he found the coin again, Harvey sliced up half of his face, the pain drowning out the voice. That is the origin of the Absolute version of Two-Face.
- Nightwing doesn't know that Batman's real name is Bruce Wayne nor has he seen his real face.
- As a partner to Batman, Nightwing has access to the Matchstick, a cyber-vigilantism network founded by Batman and his allies Barbara Gordon and Al Pennyworth.
- Nightwing's weapons include dual sickles, grappling lines, and throwing blades.
- Blue Haven, a real life neighborhood in Johannesburg, South Africa, stands in for the fictional city of Bludhaven.