"I love you, Dad" - Nightwing #100 features a Batman and Robin moment 82 years in the making

Nightwing #100 art
Nightwing #100 art (Image credit: DC)

January 17's Nightwing #100 by writer Tom Taylor and artists Bruno Redondo, Rick Leonardi, Scott McDaniel, Mikel Janin, and Javier Fernandez begins with Dick and Bruce meeting at the gravesite of Alfred Pennyworth, Bruce's long-time loyal butler and Batman's man Friday. 

Alfred's gravestone reads "Beloved Father and Grandfather," foreshadowing a pivotal moment later in the issue.

Nightwing #100 cover (Image credit: DC)

The opening seems to set up Bruce asking Dick to lead the way in filling the DCU power vacuum left with the Justice League deciding not to reform (for the immediate future, at least) following the events of Dark Crisis on Infinite Earths. And it does, but it actually leads to a much more personal exchange.

That first page gives way to a story involving the new and key supervillain Heartless, as well as KGBeast, Elephant Man, Barbara Gordon/Oracle, and the Titans, and the scene is picked up later in the issue. 

In the penultimate of three key epilogue sequences in the issue and following Superman and Wonder doing the actual Justice League replacement recruiting, Batman and Nightwing hardly talk about replacing the JLA at all, instead focusing on their own relationship following the death of Alfred a few years back.

a page from Nightwing #100 (Image credit: DC)

Admitting Alfred's presence eased the sometimes tension between the two and kept the lines of communication between them open, Batman confesses Alfred would say all the things to Dick he wanted to for him.

Dick asks what would Alfred have said, and in a rare confessional, Bruce acknowledges that Dick's presence as Robin early in this career saved him from being consumed by this mission of vengeance and from becoming a darker version of the Batman he has become.

Dick counters by saying Bruce would have been fine without him because he's a good man, but taking off his cowl, Bruce retorts that Dick's reaction is exactly what he is referring to - that Dick looks to help people before punishing them, and it's why he's being chosen to be Earth-Prime's protector and that his kind nature inspires Batman.

Apologizing for what he feels like was failing Dick and pushing him away because of his own failings, Nightwing counters by going in for a much-needed child-like hug.

a panel from Nightwing #100

a panel from Nightwing #100 (Image credit: DC)

After a few more words about their relationship and Dick telling Bruce he's going to rely on his guidance in his new role as protector of Earth-Prime, the sequence's final panel is an image 82 years in the making - Nightwing giving Batman another child-like hug and saying "I love you, Dad."

a panel from Nightwing #100 (Image credit: DC)

Bruce has been in the process of repairing some fractured relationships over the last couple of years, including his fraught relationship with another former Robin - Jason Todd/Red Hood, and it looks like however Dick's new leadership role in the DCU shakes out, he'll have the full support of his mentor Batman to rely on. 

Dick Grayson is one of the best legacy superheroes in comics.

I'm not just the Newsarama founder and editor-in-chief, I'm also a reader. And that reference is just a little bit older than the beginning of my Newsarama journey. I founded what would become the comic book news site in 1996, and except for a brief sojourn at Marvel Comics as its marketing and communications manager in 2003, I've been writing about new comic book titles, creative changes, and occasionally offering my perspective on important industry events and developments for the 25 years since. Despite many changes to Newsarama, my passion for the medium of comic books and the characters makes the last quarter-century (it's crazy to see that in writing) time spent doing what I love most.