*Trigger warning: rape*
Dick Grayson is such a lovable character. It’s no wonder he’s so popular. He’s number 11 on IGN’s “Top 100 Comic Book Heroes”, a well deserved position. He was the original Robin and later became his own hero, Nightwing. He’s loving, kind, friendly, and an all-around good person. And yet, despite all of these wonderful things about him, DC Comics still continues to completely ruin him.
One of the most despicable things that DC has ever done to Dick Grayson was how they killed him in the comic series, “Injustice: Gods Among Us”. When I played the video game for “Injustice”, I hadn’t known anything about the comic series. So when Batman said that his son, Damian, killed Dick Grayson, I assumed that since Damian was on the villain’s side, he had murdered Grayson to eliminate the enemy. However, when I saw the panel of the comic where Dick dies, I was appalled. Dick Grayson — who, keep in mind, is a professional acrobat, a trained police officer, and a goddamned superhero — was killed by a rock. Damian hits Grayson on the head, knocking him down and causing him to fall onto a rock, right on the back of his neck. It wasn’t even a big rock. Damian probably could have just thrown the rock at Grayson and it would have made for a better story. Not only was this death completely unrealistic, concerning the character’s incredible balance, it was also extremely lazy writing. It’s downright insulting how such a memorable and popular character like Dick Grayson could be killed off in such a ridiculous way.
Between the death of his parents and the Joker paralyzing his girlfriend, Barbara Gordon, it’s hard to imagine Dick Grayson’s life getting any more depressing. And yet it does. When Bruce Wayne “dies”, Dick takes over the role as Batman, with Damian Wayne as his Robin, in “Batman Reborn“. Damian is cold and detached from other people, the exact opposite of Dick. However, as time goes on, Dick and Damian bond, establishing a trusting partnership. The two of them created a completely new dynamic to the relationship between Batman and Robin. Rather than having a brooding and angst-ridden man under the cowl, we now have a more cheery and lighter Batman. We no longer have a optimistic side kick, making bad puns while they punch villains in the face; the new Robin is darker, and crueler than any one we’ve seen before. Despite how different these two are, they make the partnership work, and work well. Dick wasn’t just Damian’s guardian; he was his mentor, his brother, his Batman. Even after Dick leaves the mantle of Batman when Bruce comes back, the two of them had a good relationship. So when Damian is killed in “Batman Incorporated”, it crushes Dick. He had made Damian the person he was before he was killed. He had taught him that there are other ways to fight crime that don’t involve killing. He brought out the child that Damian was hiding inside of himself. He helped him adjust to the identity of Robin. He made Damian feel loved. He gave Damian a family…and then Damian dies. The boy that Dick had spent so much time for caring for was killed by a clone of himself, sent by his mother. While the obvious purpose of Damian’s death was to sell more comics (which is ironic because Damian’s death was the only reason I started reading “Batman Incorporated” in the first place) and to give Batman even more manpain and angst than he needs, it affected others as well, namely Dick. However, he learns to move on from the tragic death of his little brother. Meanwhile, Bruce is still obsessing over his death and trying to think of ways to resurrect him, kind of like the way Jason Todd was brought back from death. When Dick tries to help Bruce move on from Damian’s death, he’s shut out by him. So not only has Dick lost his little brother, but he’s basically lost his father figure as well.
One of the most twisted moments in Dick Grayson’s history is when he was raped by Tarantula. Tarantula was a sort of student of Nightwing’s. When the villain, Blockbuster, tells Nightwing that he’s going to kill everyone he’s ever loved, Tarantula shoots him. Dick feels that, by letting her shoot Blockbuster, that he’s betrayed Bruce, who held himself back from killing the Joker even after he killed Jason Todd. He runs up to the roof of the building they were in and proceeds to sob, upset that he let her kill him. Tarantula follows after him so she could comfort him. Her idea of comfort was not at all what Dick wanted or needed. She lies him down on the roof and has sex with him. Throughout the entire scene, Dick doesn’t move. Well, just because he wasn’t moving doesn’t mean he was raped, right? Here’s the thing. As Tarantula is laying him down on the roof, he says, “Don’t…touch me…”. The writer, Devin Grayson, says that Dick wasn’t raped and that the sex was only “non consensual”. Obviously he doesn’t understand what rape is, considering rape is literally non consensual sex. As if this whole situation couldn’t get any worse, Tarantula used Dick’s vulnerable state to her advantage by dragging him out to a courthouse and having him pay for them to get a marriage license. Luckily, Dick leaves at the last second.
With a character as wonderful as Dick Grayson, it’s a wonder how DC manages to keep ruining his life and still make money at the same time. Now that Dick is no longer going to be a superhero and is taking on the job of a detective in the upcoming series “Grayson”, it leaves fans wondering if DC can ever treat Dick well. I’m attached to all of the Robins, but Dick has always been my #1 since the beginning. Seeing such a terrific character being treated so poorly is breaking my heart. Even after everything that’s happened in the New 52, “Injustice”, “Forever Evil”, and every other series he’s appeared in, DC continues to make Dick Grayson’s life a living hell.