In Batman: Black and White #5, Nightwing’s inner thoughts reveal why DC Comics will never truly resolve his long-running love triangle.
Warning: contains spoilers for Batman: Black and White #5!
Few of DC’s characters have a romantic history as rich as that of Nightwing, whose on-again, off-again relationships with both Batgirl and Starfire have split fans as to which pairing is true love. But in Batman Black and White #5, Nightwing finally reveals he will always love both women in comics’ best love triangle, and the reason why is downright touching.
The first Robin, Dick Grayson later struck out on his own as Nightwing, leaving him equally connected to the Bat-Family who raised him and the Teen Titans who allowed him to grow. Over his costumed career, Dick has been seriously involved with both Barbara Gordon (aka Batgirl) and Koriand’r of Tamaran (aka Starfire). In Batman: Black and White #5, Nightwing patrols Gotham in a series of graceful acrobatic movements and reflects on the trajectory of his life. At one point in his travels, his thoughts drift to his love life, and he expresses what he loves about both Starfire and Batgirl, and laments failing both of them at different points in time.
Click the button below to start this article in quick view.
As Nightwing maneuvers through the city’s skyline, his thoughts on his love life provide a key insight into why he loves both women so deeply despite the romantic turmoil his feelings have long caused him. Dick appreciates both women’s differences from each other, loving them as distinct individuals from drastically different backgrounds and upbringings. While his relationships with Starfire and Batgirl followed similar trajectories (including failed marriage proposals and nasty break-ups), the women could not be any more different in what they meant to Dick and how they changed him. His thoughts on Barbara Gordon and Koriand’r while he patrols Gotham grant some key insight as to why both relationships are special to him, and so hard to let go of.
When his thoughts drift to Starfire, Dick thinks about her “luminous soul,” and readers see a photograph bearing a characteristically earnest message. Having been trained and raised by DC’s biggest cynic, it’s not surprising that Dick finds Starfire’s lust for life so inspiring, and her attitude to the potential wonders of what is, to her, an alien world is something Dick truly admires. Meanwhile, thinking of Batgirl, Nightwing reflects on her “unequaled brilliance.” As Oracle and Batgirl, Barbara Gordon has proved countless times that she is perhaps DC’s most consistently overlooked hero, but Dick already understands she’s one of the greats, and someone who has always been his fiercest and most dependable ally.
These qualities are echoed in the current events of DC comics, as Dick attempts to help the heroes of tomorrow flourish while running the ambitious new Teen Titans Academy alongside Starfire – the two back together after a rocky time apart – and to live up to his potential as a vigilante hero in Nightwing, buoyed by the support of Batgirl and deceased father figure Alfred Pennyworth. What makes Dick’s love life so compelling is that both the women he admires so strongly are heroes in their own right rather than members of his supporting cast, establishing separate lives that sometimes intersect romantically, sometimes professionally, and sometimes by chance.
While this love triangle may get complicated at times, Dick’s admiration for Batgirl and Starfire is an expression of what each of his longtime allies and sometime partners mean to him, and what he admires about what each relationship brings out in his own personality. Fans may never agree on how Nightwing‘s famous love life should go, but Batman: Black & White makes it clear that Dick’s affections run deeper than who he’s dating at any given moment, and for good reason.
More: Nightwing isn’t the World’s Greatest Detective, He’s Something Better
Why Titanic Spoils The Ending In The First 10 Minutes