Nightwing vs. Firefly, Pt. 1Posted: 12/08/2013
It’s difficult to believe Nightwing has achieved his level of popularity. Not that he hasn’t proved himself as Batman’s partner, Teen Titans leader, etc. But the dude’s good-looking, cocky, over-emotional, dated every DC superheroine, and doesn’t have any superpowers besides an Olympian-level gymnastics ability. Most importantly, Nightwing lacks a fatal personality flaw that endears him to readers. We need that fatal personality flaw — it helps comic book readers relate (who are usually not good-looking, cocky, and able to join Cirque du Soleil). Yet we adore Nightwing (the first Robin, Dick Grayson), maybe because we grew up with him — or more importantly, we saw him grow up within the comic pages themselves — or maybe it’s just nice to see a member of the Bat posse emerge untraumatized and still able to form long-lasting, meaningful relationships. Still, while I don’t know why, I do love Nightwing.
Today and Wednesday, we’ll take a look at a few occasions Nightwing and Firefly tangled over a span of six years, leading up to Nightwing’s Blockbuster confession to Batman on Friday. Please enjoy:
Detective Comics #727, written by Chuck Dixon and drawn by William Rosado
Nightwing #88, written by Devin Grayson and drawn by Shane Davis
Nightwing #98, written by Grayson and drawn by Sean Phillips
Nightwing #99, written by Grayson and drawn by Zach Howard
We’ll start back at the lead in to No Man’s Land, when Firefly makes a horrible mistake.
Meet Firefly (real name Garfield Lynns), a fairly dumb pyromaniac. He possesses no superpowers and no super genius, just a flying battlesuit that shoots fire. And now he has no skin. Firefly’s been buzzing around since 1952, when he premiered as a special effects guy. Eventually, his origin retconned him into the fiery psychopath you just saw here accidentally explode himself.
Lynns didn’t always look like Gollum. But a toxic waste/flamethrower combo can do wonders for turning the human body into a boiling goo pile. Nightwing and Robin battle Firefly for a while before the situation gets infinitely worse for dear Firefly. The best part of having a Firefly fight is the background always gets covered in flames. It makes the scene far more dramatic.
So now you know where Firefly gets the 90% body burns that’s stated in Batman: Arkham Origins. From his own incompetence. Luckily, Robin saves his life, because that’s the obligation superheroes have to obey.
Day saved, moving on. But then we skip ahead a few years, and this is where Firefly burns a searing hole in Nightwing’s heart. Something that will definitely give him an escrima stick to the face later. In Grayson’s occasional visit to his hometown (the circus), he gets recruited for nostalgia’s sake.
See our buddy in the corner? I figure security must be light if a bug-shaped battlesuit can get past the metal detectors or gypsy psychics or whatever the circus uses. And now everything goes bad. Grayson has horrible luck with life tragedies while on the trapeze.
Also, Irving, he’s a superhero, no matter what tanktop and leggings combo he currently wears. Though we mustn’t forget the difference between Nightwing and his brooding mentor. While Grayson proves himself faster and more agile than Batman, he’s also less armored, less protected, and with less tricks on the utility belt. Especially now, because a batarang and grappling hook pouch make quadruple flips difficult to complete.
Our protagonist emerges unharmed. Physically, anyway. He breaks down into a heap of tears on the next few pages. In part two on Wednesday, Nightwing’s vengeance will comes to fruition — he’s going to beat the crap out of Firefly.