When FOREVER EVIL #1 was released, we all saw that Dick Grayson was in a pretty sticky situation. Caught off guard by the Crime Syndicate, he was captured and unmasked on television. For a hero that's long kept his secret identity well-guarded, this was set to change his status quo.
We've seen superheroes have their identities revelaed, sometimes by their choice. It wouldn't necessarily be the end of the road for Nightwing. There could be the question of what is Richard Grayson's connection to Batman? It could be easily found out that Dick was Bruce Wayne's adopted son (is that still a thing in the New 52?). With Bruce Wayne having funded Batman Incorporated and Dick's upbringing as an acrobat in Haly's Circus, he could have easily applied to be an associate of Batman's. There's also the fact that the general public might not be fully aware that Nightwing used to be Batman's full partner as the original Robin. In other words, it could've been danced around.
Dick's capture by the Crime Syndicate almost made all of that out of the question.
When Dick was found by Batman and Lex Luthor, he was attached to the Murder Machine. Made from technology from Apokolips, the chances of freeing Dick didn't look too great. While we have to wait for FOREVER EVIL #7 to see how he gets out, we do know he will manage to become free.
Once free, what would be his options?
While some heroes may be able to operate without a secret identity (they seem to be more common at Marvel), Dick has too many people close to him and too many crazy enemies. What it comes down to is too many villains are evil enough to try to go after Dick's loved ones as revenge or to use as leverage against him. Dick's always been a character that has embraced his relationships while Batman has kept them to a minimum. The only way to keep them all safe is for Dick Grayson to die.
We could still have the character we all loved if "Dick Grayson" had to "die" in order to keep his loved ones safe.
Last year we saw that Thanksgiving Day teaser for BATMAN ETERNAL.
Upon seeing a mysterious blonde figure with a familiar mask sitting next to Tim Drake, many assumed this was Dick Grayson. He could simply dye his hair and maybe take on a different costume and identity. If the world believed Nightwing was dead, why would they assume some new vigilante had anything to do with him. We may find it hard to believe that characters can hide their identities behind a tiny domino mask but when there's nothing or nobody to associate them with, their identity remains a mystery.
From the news yesterday, we know that is not Dick Grayson. (Who is it? Was it meant to be Dick but the idea thrown out? Is it supposed to be Calvin Rose? Jean-Paul Valley? Someone else?) The world will believe Dick Grayson is dead while he goes off to become a spy.
This is something that could work but obviously there are some concerns. And we're just basing this off one single image.
Dick's supposed to be dead yet he's not making any attempts to hide his face. He'll even allegedly be wearing a suite with a big "G" reminiscent to the "R" from the Robin suit. With an identity publicly exposed, you would think some sort of change would be attempted. His hair appears to possibly be shorter. Maybe he should consider some facial hair or something? But spies don't usually sport beards, right?
Dick is using a gun. That's a huge no-no for Batman. Yes we saw Harper Row use a gun in the future spoiler issue, BATMAN #28, but that wasn't a regular gun. Will Dick insist to his new employers that he will only use guns that incapacitate but don't kill? How much say will he have with his employers? He would indeed be an asset to their organization but he's also relying on them to keep his secret as well as the lives of his loved ones.
It seems crazy. It will be hard to accept for die hard Nightwing fans. But it's not the first time he's gone through changes. He used to be Robin, the Boy Wonder. He left that behind and moved out Batman's shadow.
The good news is he'll be joining Spyral. That's the spy organization we saw in BATMAN INCORPORATED. It's also the one that Kathy Kane, the original Batwoman, is a part of. We saw in BATMAN INCORPORATED #13, you don't mess around with her.
Last July, I wrote about why it was time for the return of Kathy Kane. With her involvement, it makes some sense that Dick Grayson could operate with the world believing he was dead. Kathy, herself, was thought to be dead. She was killed by Bronze Tiger, or at least in the previous continuity. Even Batman, the World's Greatest Detective, had no idea she was alive. After her encounter and revel to Batman, she said:
"Stick to what you do best. And don't try to find me. I don't exist."
If Kathy could hide her identity from the world, they should be able to keep Dick Grayson's identity a secret as well. Will Batman even know what Dick's up to? With all the craziness that happened during FOREVER EVIL, people would likely overlook a tiny detail like that when you consider the entire moon was moved out of orbit.
Dick Grayson as a spy just seems wrong. But of course we'll check it out. Change can be good. We have to have open minds and all that. If characters don't go through changes, they could become stagnant. This gives us the opportunity to explore more of the darker areas of the DC Universe with a espionage twist. It is unfortunate because we were enjoying Nightwing's new adventures in Chicago but this could be fun. It'll take some getting used to but at least Dick Grayson won't be dead.
And if it means we get more Kathy Kane in the New 52, I will be all for it.