Dick Grayson was the first ever Robin in DC Comics, appearing as early as the 1940s and simultaneously becoming Bruce Wayne’s adopted son. Eventually, Dick Grayson moved on to become a superhero, Nightwing, while other boys took over his mantle, with Jason Todd and Tim Drake being the most notable ones. However, Damian Wayne, Batman’s biological son, is the most recent Robin and a great character that brought many great dynamics to DC Comics. However, the Injustice storyline brought us heartbreaking and shocking moments that fans still remember today – one of them is Damian Wayne killing his brother, Dick Grayson. This article will discuss why Damian killed Nightwing and he did do it intentionally.
Damian Wayne killed Nightwing in the comic book Injustice: God Among Us, where Superman goes insane when Joker manipulates him to kill his pregnant wife, Lois Lane. This tragedy prompts Superman to “police” everyone and ensures no crime is ever committed. During the “clean-up” of Arkham Asylum, Damian beats the inmates to a pulp, and Dick intervenes. That doesn’t sit well with Damian, who throws escrima sticks at Dick’s head, hits him, and murders him. Batman is absolutely devastated, and Tom Taylor brings us one of the most heartbreaking monologues we have seen from Batman in years. However, Damian didn’t kill his brother intentionally – that was part of their sibling game that went wrong.
We will discuss this topic by mentioning the reasons why Damian killed Dick, how Nightwing’s death affected the rest of the superheroes, and how this moment influenced the rest of the Injustice storyline. If you are interested, stay with us until the end.
Damian Wayne’s and Nightwing’s relationship in Injustice: God Among Us
Before we indulge deeper in this topic, let’s set the stage first. First, Injustice: Gods Among Us is a comic book story set in the alternate universe, and it was used as a prequel to the fighting game of the same name. In this reality, Superman slowly but surely goes insane when he accidentally kills his pregnant wife, Lois Lane, after Joker manipulates him.
The Justice League is torn between siding with totalitarian Superman, who wants to exterminate every criminal from the planet, and Batman, who heavily opposes killing, and other violent actions against other people.
When it comes to Damian Wayne and Dick Grayson, Robin and Nightwing are on opposite sides, with Damian supporting Superman and Dick staying with his father, who believes in rules and justice. In this universe, Damian is Robin, and Dick is his older brother and mentor, who helps him train to become the best he can be.
We know that Damian Wayne’s childhood was complicated and that his attitude has been questioned multiple times since his emergence in 2006. Damian is impulsive and mostly doesn’t have the best decisions during combat. In Injustice, Robin is more settled but still acts like a usual teenager – he doesn’t like being opposed and rebels against adults more often than not.
Damian and Dick have a true sibling relationship, and throughout the comics, you can feel that Nightwing loves Damian and wants to ensure that his brother succeeds as a superhero. For example, in one moment, before the tragedy happens, Nightwing mentors Damian in combat. After Nightwing defeats him and gives him a little pep-talk, Damian throws an escrima stick to Dick’s head while he is turned. Dick displays great skill and reflexes by catching the stick with his back turned, while Damian cannot believe it happened.
That particular moment foreshadows what will happen in future issues, and frankly, it was one of the most heartbreaking moments of the comics.
Why did Damian Wayne kill Nightwing, and was it intentional?
Circumstances around Nightwing’s death are full of tension and destruction caused by grief and guilt. Superman hates himself mainly because he tries to fix his mistakes at the cost of other people’s lives. Superman’s biggest supporter is Wonder Woman, and despite generally having good intentions, both superheroes go too far.
After the death of Lois Lane and the destruction of the Metropolis, Superman, with the support of Wonder Woman, goes around the world to “establish peace” but makes everything worse by provoking more conflict. Of course, Superman, without remorse, is the most dangerous being in the universe, and with the support of the rest of the Justice League, they forcefully stop the conflict. Batman doesn’t like that one bit, and that moment impacts their relationship negatively.
The relationship between the two superheroes gets even worse when Batman discovers that Cyborg, Wonder Woman, and Superman are in Arkham Asylum, trying to relocate the inmates to an unknown location.
Batman and Nightwing arrive at Asylum, and Damian immediately changes sides and goes with Superman. Why? Well, his interpretation of the situation solely focuses on Batman trying to protect murderers, killers, and psychopaths, who “infested” Gotham City to the core. Robin believes the criminals don’t deserve anything; partly, he is right, but he doesn’t understand the principle and the methods Superman and his supporters are using to “punish” those people – the same methods that those criminals have been doing all their life.
Superheroes need to be better than killing and acting as judges, jury, and executioners, which Superman tries to be. As a teenager, Robin is as stubborn as Batman because he is his biological son (which Dick also mentions). Nevertheless, Robin changed alliances, with Nightwing and Batman unable for their son and brother to realize the bigger picture.
Why Damian kills Nightwing? He kills his brother unintentionally. The fight in Arkham Asylum escalates when Harley Quinn enters the facility and opens the doors of every criminal in the building. Of course, everyone instantly attacks the superheroes, and Grundy almost kills Robin, but Superman and Nightwing save him. Robin tells Nightwing that he has everything under control, and Dick teases his little brother, angering Damian even more.
Batman goes with Superman and Wonder Woman to put inmates in their cells, while Damian and Nightwing deal with the rest of the criminals. With everything that happened before, Damian is distressed and angry and violently starts to beat the criminals. Nightwing scolds Damian saying, this isn’t how Robin should act. Damian snaps and yells, “Stop telling me what to do!” while throwing his escrima stick to Dick’s head, thinking he will catch it as he has done it multiple times before. However, Nightwing is distracted by fighting, gets hit, falls to the ground, and is instantly killed by falling with his neck on the rock.
Nightwing is dead, and everyone stops fighting, even the criminals of Arkham Asylum. Damian realizes what he did and starts crying. Batman is devastated, takes his son’s body out of Arkham Asylum, and goes home. This moment changed everything for Batman, whose monologue is absolutely heartbreaking and one of the most emotional moments of the Injustice comics.
Tom Taylor did an amazing job of portraying Batman’s childhood trauma, his love for his family, and how each death chips his heart every time. Superman is an enemy, and his tyranny needs to stop, including his son Damian, who is young and immature to understand the bigger picture.
Damian didn’t kill Nightwing intentionally, which is the most important thing here. We mentioned that writers foreshadowed this moment a few issues ago when Robin and Nightwing were training. Their sibling rivalry, Damian’s teenage hormones, Wayne’s stubbornness, and Dick’s immense patience and wittiness, in the end, cost Dick’s life.
However, further developments in the Injustice comic will satisfy some fans, but we will leave it to you to read and find out by yourself.
Ultimately, we can say that Dick Grayson died countless times in DC Comics, but this particular death is one of the most emotional. Some fans still argue the death of Injustice Nightwing is lame but not less emotional and impactful for our characters.