Saiko was a childhood friend of Dick Grayson named Raymond. He performed in the circus alongside Dick, until he supposedly drowned in an accident after Dick left the circus. Later, Raymond reveals that he never drowned, that the incident was staged by Mr Haley, and in secret Raymond was taken to a facility to be turned into a Talon and was 'broken'. Raymond was rejected and cast out into the forest, where 'birds clawed at his eyes.' Raymond believes this all to be Dick's fault for leaving the circus, making Raymond the ideal candidate to be tested as a Talon next. Saiko means 'the best', or 'highest', in Japanese. Saiko is also an English homonym for 'psycho.'
Saiko was created by Nightwing series writer Kyle Higgins, drawn by Eddy Barrows. He is the first villain that Dick Grayson dealt with in his return to the role of Nightwing following the post-Flashpoint relaunch of the DC Universe.
Major Story Arcs
Saiko appeared in the first issues of post-Flashpoint Nightwing series appearing as an assassin. Dick Grayson is seen walking through the street, going home, when suddenly Saiko, a man dressed in body armor with 2 long, sharp blades mounted on top of his wrists, jumps out at Dick, attempting to kill him. 2 policemen converge on the scene and shoot at Saiko, distracting him. Dick takes the time to hide in an alleyway and put on his Nightwing costume, however while Dick is occupied with his clothing, Saiko leaps at the policemen and guts them on the spot, instantly killing both of them. Dick, realizing that the death of policemen was his fault, attacks Saiko. Saiko, not realizing Dick Grayson is Nightwing, attempts to escape, telling Nightwing to 'stay out of this.' Nightwing comment that Saiko is faster than him, able to leap and climb up several stories of an apartment building very smoothly and lithely. Nightwing attacks him again, this time asking why Saiko is targeting Grayson. Saiko answers that Grayson is the fiercest killer in Gotham, a lie that catches Grayson off guard, and he is cut across the cheek. Saiko slashes again, and Nightwing dodges, only to realize Saiko's hit was designated to hit the water tower behind Grayson, which collapses; the downpour of water knocks Grayson off the building into a pile of garbage and breaks one of his ribs. Saiko attempts to kill him but is stopped by Nightwing's electric charge in his suit, which dazes Saiko but does not put him down. Saiko fires a rocket into a nearby car; as Nightwing goes to save the unfortunate people inside the car, Saiko escapes.
When Nightwing visits Mr. Haly for the will, Saiko comes as well. When Grayson leaves to go home, Saiko attacks Mr. Haly and calls Grayson on the phone, telling him he will kill Haly unless Grayson stops him. Dick turns his plane around to confront Saiko. When he reaches the circus, the two one again engage in combat. In the opening blows of the fight, Saiko fires a few rockets at Grayson, who dodges them all, however a fire is started in the old warehouse and Grayson realizes he must end the fight quickly, before Mr. Haly dies. When Dick sees Mr. Haly in a corner, he knocks Saiko away from him, and fires his grappling wire into the roof, bringing it down and forming a barrier between him and Saiko. Dick then grabs Mr. Haly and flees before the warehouse is consumed in flame.
At the end of Nightwing #3, Saiko is seen making a claim to kill Dick Grayson.
At the end of Nightwing #5, Saiko is seen with Raya, apparently showing that they are in cahoots and planning against Dick Grayson.
In the next issue, Raya reveals to Nightwing that Haly's is doing a show as a tribute to the Flying Grayson's, but Dick suspects that this is to set a stage for his death at the hands of Saiko, which is a correct assumption. Dick attempts to cancel the show, but the members of the circus vehemently object to this. In the end, Dick puts on the show, but puts a sensor on his phone to warn him if Saiko gets into the circus. Dick gives his opening speech, but when he goes backstage, he notices the alarm is off. He changes into his costume and confronts Saiko, who is already at the circus. Saiko pulls off his mask, and Dick finally realizes it was Raymond behind the mask. In surprise, Nightwing is knocked off the high platform they were fighting on. Dick shoots his grappling wire up, but it is cut in half by an expert knife throw by Saiko. Saiko says that Nightwing turned him into what he is now, and so did Haly's Circus. Saiko then detonates a series of bombs in the middle of the circus, blowing a hole in the center stage.
In the next issue, Saiko and Nightwing continue their fight in the circus on top of a large scoreboard in the center of the circus. Saiko tells his story, how the circus is a training ground for killers, and that, since he wasn't a good enough killer, he was cast out and left to die. Saiko is knocked off the scoreboard and is left hanging by a hand; Dick severs the cords on the massive scoreboard to put out the fire, which was started by magnesium, meaning water cannot extinguish the flames. The scoreboard, which apparently weighs 100 tons, hits the ground, crashing below the ground and pushing out tons of sand, which puts out the fire. Saiko is caught by Nightwing on his grappling wire, but Saiko cuts the wire and the two fall down to the hole in the middle of the circus where the scoreboard fell. Saiko gloats that he and Raya are 'in this together', when suddenly Raya hits a button, unlocking the exits to the circus, allowing the trapped people inside to run outside. Saiko reveals that Grayson was meant to be the next Talon from the circus, the next assassin, until the night his parents died and he was adopted by a billionaire. Saiko is knocked into the pit of the scoreboard; Nightwing fires his grappling hook into Saiko's leg, saving him, but Saiko says, 'You don't get to save me,' and slices the wire, sending himself to his own death.
Powers and Abilities
Saiko does not appear to have any superpowers, however he is very fast and agile, thanks to his training as an acrobat in Haley's Circus. He effortlessly jumps and climbs up buildings, completing elaborate flips as he does so. Saiko wears a suit that appears to give him heightened durability, as he is able to take Nightwing's electric charge without being knocked out, and also equips him with 2 long, sharp claws on each hand and several hand rockets that are powerful enough to destroy and set flames upon a small car.
Saiko is also said to be faster than Nightwing, and he has proved in his battles with Nightwing to be on par with him in terms of fighting skills.
It is unknown as to if Saiko is blind or not; the scars around his eyes and color of his pupils suggest he may be, however his suit is equipped with goggles that may enhance his vision, and he may have normal eyesight, or slightly diminished eyesight.