Dick Grayson was the first Robin, partner of Batman, from when he was a boy. Grayson was the member of a circus that loved him like a family but he was orphaned. Bruce Wayne took him in and eventually made him his partner, Robin. The two became so in tune, they fought crime in near perfect tandem. In way, he brought affirmation into Wayne's life. Grayson idolized him and wanted to be him. The older Grayson got, the more he realized he didn't truly know Wayne at all and how lonely growing up with him was. In his adult years, Grayson took on a new costumed identity - Nightwing. He went through two suits over the years. Aside from his trademark acrobatic prowess, Nightwing is also armed with a pair of Escrima sticks. Compared to his mentor, Nightwing was more well adjusted and lived both a normal life and the superhero one. However, Nightwing struggled for years to get out of Batman's shadow and build a life for himself as far away from his world. He had no desire to succeed Bruce Wayne as Batman.
While on patrol, Nightwing encountered a boy ninja trying to kill Ubu. With some effort, Nightwing defeated the boy and was not pleased to learn he was Damian, son of Batman. Nightwing informed Batman of the incident. Back at the Batcave, Nightwing was tended to by Alfred Pennyworth. Grayson and Damian quickly developed a sibling rivalry. He saw through Damian and forbade him from taking on the Robin mantle. However, Batman decided it was the most pragmatic choice. While Batman and Robin flew to Interlaken, Nightwing remained at the Batcave and supervised Dr. Langstrom's efforts to create an antidote to his new Man-Bat Serum. He also looked over some intelligence and noticed a dormant oil rig near the Outer Hebrides went active a few weeks back and it was owned by Ra's Al Ghul through a shell company. He informed Batman of the connection and updated him of Langstrom's progress.
Once Langstrom finishing making hundreds of doses of the antidote, they were loaded into the Batplane's arsenal. They flew to London and picked up Batman then proceeded to the oil rig. After dropping off Batman, Nightwing circled until Man-Bat Ninjas began surfacing from the ocean and rig. Dr. Langstrom blasted the ninjas with his antidote. With the rig collapsing, Nightwing kept circling and towed an escape pod containing Batman, Robin and Talia to safety just in time. During the Atlantean incident, Batman called in Nightwing and Robin to finish the Scarecrow case interrupted by Green Lantern. In short order, they found the Scarecrow and the rest of his henchmen but were surrounded. After taking out the henchmen, Nightwing and Robin jammed Scarecrow's two guns in unison. Robin took the lead and defeated the psychopath out with a flying kick. Both were unaware they were being watched the whole time by Talon from the building's skylight.
Several months later, Batman had Nightwing babysit Robin at Wayne Manor while he investigated a stolen owl feather on his own. Nightwing and Robin sparred in the Batcave. The former used his Escrima sticks while the latter used a katana. As the match went on, Nightwing observed Robin was sloppy but he insisted he was uninterested in his opponent. Robin resented being trained by a "circus clown" and boasted of the training he received from his grandfather. Nightwing quipped he was trained by Bruce Wayne, the person who defeated Ra's al Ghul everytime they met. Nightwing then smashed Robin against a case. He was infuriated to see it was the case holding Nightwing's old Robin costume. The first Robin. Nightwing boldly surmised he was the only one based on the current fight. Robin declared Nightwing was just an orphan Batman took pity on and he was Batman's son. Robin broke free, used a low blow and knocked Nightwing over the railings down onto the chair facing the Batcomputer.
Dick Grayson went to check on Damian Wayne in his bedroom but received a call from Koriand'r. Grayson was aghast to learn she was dressed in a red outfit with lace and the thong. He pleaded with her not to tell him anything else and promised he would see her the next night. As he entered the bedroom, Grayson realized young Wayne had sneaked out again. Musing over how angry Bruce Wayne was going to be, Grayson got a message from Alfred Pennyworth. He suited up and extracted a badly beaten Batman from the Gotham Museum of Natural History, where he was ambushed by three Talons. They returned home and waited in Damian Wayne's bedroom, in the dark, while Grayson tended to Wayne's wounds and bandaged him. After Wayne read the riot act to his son, he and Grayson conferred in the hallway outside. Grayson reminded Wayne he did his share of sneaking out in his youth but Wayne reiterated the threat posed by the Talons. Grayson implored him to talk to his son but he found it futile. Wayne told Grayson he wasn't like Damian, he had loving parents and a heart. Grayson quickly questioned if Damian had a heart or not. Wayne became frustrated and wondered if he and Damian were meant to be a father and a son.
Robin heard the conversation and sneaked out again. Pennyworth admitted he turned off the outgoing security system as a gesture of good faith to Robin. Batman was not pleased. Nightwing assured Pennyworth he did the right thing and Robin would be back but reminded him Batman didn't get over anything. While he investigated the Court of Owls, Batman was drugged and experienced a nightmarish hallucination detailing an apocalyptic future caused by an angry adult Damian Wayne. Even Nightwing was among the dead surrounding him. Luckily, Nightwing followed Batman's last known tranmission, found him, and brought him back to Wayne Manor. In the meantime, Nightwing went back out to search for Robin but was unable to find him. Seven hours later, Batman awoke but still in a stir. Nightwing and Pennyworth tried to keep him calm and tried in vain to get him to continue recuperating. In the invasion of Wayne Manor, Nightwing helped battle the army of undead Talons. In the course of battle, Nightwing was impaled in six places through his shoulders and legs.
Batman came to Nightwing's rescue and destroyed a Talon about to swing its axe then severed the ropes being used to drag him. However, Batman tricked Nightwing and put him through the passage to the Batcave then continued fighting. Nightwing quickly removed the blades and bandaged himself as best he could. Batman soon arrived and the battle continued. As Batman made his way to Sub-Level 3, Nightwing fought off Talons on the main level. He encountered the main Talon who remarked he could have been a Talon as well. Talon easily defeated the wounded Nightwing and pinned him to a costume case. After Talon killed himself and the army was frozen in place, Grayson helped with clean up. While he, Bruce Wayne and Alfred Pennyworth boxed up books, he struggled to speak up about Damian, who left. Wayne stated he needed his own place in the world. Grayson stammered Damian was just a 10 year old boy. Wayne disagreed and remarked Damian wasn't like any other child on Earth.
Nightwing was en route to "the Tower" and visit Starfire after weeks of not seeing each other. He was delayed by the appearance of Blockbuster in a red light district. Blockbuster threw vehicles at Nightwing but missed. Nightwing made his way to Blockbuster and hit him in the chin with a knee and assaulted him with his staves. Starfire distracted Nightwing by saying she almost forgot what he feels like. He took a kick from Blockbuster and was propelled into a construction site. Nightwing threw out a throwing star at a crane and severed the wrecking ball. It landed right on top of Blockbuster. Nightwing was about to resume his trip to "the Tower" but Alfred Pennyworth sent him an emergency call. Nightwing begrudgingly cancelled on Starfire and drove to the Batcave instead. He eavesdropped on Pennyworth posing as Bruce Wayne at a Wayne Enterprises board meeting. Once the feed was cut, Nightwing teased Pennyworth to watch the "bloody hells" and give himself away. Pennyworth was not amused.
Nightwing asked how long Batman was gone. Pennyworth replied two weeks, one day, and 15 hours. Nightwing remarked it wouldn't be the first time. Pennyworth agreed but Batman should have contacted him already. He worried the surge in criminal activity would only increase in Batman's absence. Nightwing made the hard call and donned one of the older Batman suits. He drove to the docks and interrupted Black Mask's operation unloading a weapons shipment. More of Mask's men converged on the site but Robin suddenly appeared and jammed Mask's own weapon causing it to blow back in his face. Batman was not pleased. Modest as ever, Robin criticized Grayson's impression of Batman and insisted he needed his help. Batwoman continued following the Batmobile but Batman and Robin confronted her in an alley. Batwoman deduced he was really Nightwing then admitted she witnessed the real Batman's death. She showed them the ruins of the warehouse where she and Batman fought a gang of supervillains.
Grayson proposed they should all work together but Batwoman declined to join the "cult" and glided back to the city. On the drive back, Robin insinuated Grayson wanted to Batman to be dead so he could keep the suit on. Grayson braked and gave him an earful about how he wanted nothing to do with it. Pennyworth made contact and played Batman's file on Batwoman. But he and Grayson were surprised to learn she was Katherine Kane. The next night, he and Robin responded to Lucius Fox's security breach alert at Wayne Tech. They entered the sub-level 3 vault and battled Heretic's gang. However, Batman could not pursue with Robin electrocuted into submission and Fox bleeding out. Grayson later visited Fox in the hospital. Luke Fox, his son, demanded to join the war against Heretic but Grayson turned him down and said it wasn't his call. That night, as Batman he found Kane in a bar and sent her an anonymous text to meet him on the rooftop. He revealed his secret identity to Batwoman and admitted he had a childhood crush on her. Batwoman remarked she thought he was annoying.
Batwoman told Grayson about the night Batman saved her life and how she vowed she would never need someone to save her again. Grayson understood but believed she didn't have to be alone as a result. Pennyworth alerted Grayson of Robin's sudden disappearance. Batman and Batwoman followed Robin's tracker to the Sisters of Perpetual Grace convent outside the city. They were met by nuns armed with M-60s and katana blades. Somehow, Grayson convinced Batwoman to use rubber bullets. As the battle continued, Batwing came to their aid. Tusk informed Talia of three intruders. Talia ordered a retreat but left Bruce and Damian Wayne behind. Batman had Batwing blast the front doors in. He made his way through the compound and encountered Hellhound. Hellhound did a series of stances but debris rained down on him. He encountered Bruce and Damian Wayne and helped them outside. However, the convent began to collapse. Batman struggled to hold onto the grapnel line Damian and Bruce clung to but he soon fell as well. Batwing saved them and flew them back to stable ground.
Without so much as a thank you or acknowledgement of Batwing and Batwoman, Bruce Wayne ordered Robin and Nightwing back to Gotham. A week later, Wayne informed Damian, Pennyworth, and Grayson they would pursue Talia after he finished hosting the World Tech Summit. Grayson felt they shouldn't wait and instead call in Kane and Fox to help. The conversation became heated between Wayne and Grayson about including them and telling Kane their secret. Pennyworth commented he was gone and Grayson had to make a judgment call and thought it was the right one. Wayne conceded but wanted it be family only going forward. Grayson revealed Kane was working the the hard drive they confiscated from the convent. Wayne wanted her out after she was done and declared he called the shots. After Wayne left the cave, Pennyworth noted he went through an extraordinary ordeal. Grayson stated they all did, too. He started a work out and called Kane to inform her of Wayne's decision. He tried to apologize but Kane told there was nothing to be sorry about.
A short time later, Nightwing and Robin met with Batwoman on a rooftop. She told them about how her brainwashed father tried to kill her. Nightwing suspected Wayne told Talia about the hard drive and the secret Wayne Tech vault earlier. Batwing arrived with the data he extracted from the hard drive. Nightwing noticed a list contained names of vice-presidents, military officials, and corporate leaders and realized Talia planned to brainwash them all at the summit. They infiltrated the Watchtower Initiative above the city. Nightwing declared first priority was evacuating the attendees but Talia cut them off with her team. Nightwing was forced to battle a brainwashed Batman. Batman eventually broke Nightwing's left shoulder and soundly bested him. Talia tossed him a gun and ordered him to execute Nightwing. Robin appeared and deduced Talia was all about control. Talia ordered Batman to kill Robin first instead. Nightwing pleaded with Wayne not to kill because he never killed. Not to let her win or take his soul.
Talia retorted she cleansed his soul and took away his trauma. Nightwing declared Batman brought them all together because he understood their pain and lonliness better than anyone could. They needed a family. They needed him. Batman struggled with the gun. Nightwing continued and admitted he wasn't just a mask, he was a man and the best man he ever knew. Batman held the gun to himself and stammered he couldn't fight the programming. Nightwing implored him to fight it for the boy who lost his world in that alley. Talia drew her sword and was about to kill Nightwing herself but Batman shot it out of her hands then fell over. Nightwing and Robin tended to him as Batwoman decked Talia. Batwing arrived. Talia was surrounded. She pulled a grenade and declared she would have Wayne in death. It was just a ploy and Talia got away in her transport but to crash into the ocean when Onyx attacked her for putting the Heretic down. A short time later, back at Wayne Manor, Grayson thanked Pennyworth for lunch and was about to depart for the Tower. He noticed Pennyworth was observing Bruce and Damian Wayne having a heart-to-heart outside over Talia's death.
Grayson made a full recovery. Batwoman caught up with Nightwing on her motorcycle as they made their way to the Gotham City Police Department headquarters to meet up with Batman and Robin. Batwing soared over them. They all noticed a police chase down below involving the Penguin and joined in the pursuit.