Nightwing's Future Superpowers Should've Gone To Robin Instead

Warning: Spoilers for Future State: Gotham #9!

In DC Comics’ Future StateNightwing and Robin are still fighting the good fight on the streets of Gotham City, but the new powers they’ve acquired don’t exactly make sense for either of them. Suffice it to say, Nightwing getting an intellectual upgrade and Robin getting one that levels up his brawn are great on their own, just not for the specific hero they’ve been given to.

Shown in the continuation of last year’s Future State event, Future State: Gotham #9, by Dennis Culver and Giannis Milonogiannis, sees Nightwing as he tracks down a new designer drug called “Brane” in a city that’s still at the mercy of the fascist forces of The Magistrate. Snagging a bag of Brane from a dealer trying to sell it to some locals, Nightwing is met by Talia al Ghul, but it’s quickly determined that her sudden arrival has nothing to do with Dick Grayson's budding resistance movement.

Related: Is Marvel's 'Timeless' Event Its Version of DC's Future State?

Telling Talia that he’s only micro-dosing the Brane drug to help him achieve an intellectual edge in the field, Talia draws parallels to the Venom serum patented by Bane that Batman once used to gain a physical advantage against the criminal scum of Gotham City. Originally a highly addictive compound, Talia explains that Brane is derived from Venom, and instead of enhancing the body, it enhances the mind, potentially giving Nightwing “psychic abilities” should he take more of the drug, and linking Nightwing to a new power that would have been better off as something given to Tim Drake’s highly intelligent version of Robin instead.

Seen in Future State’s Robin Eternal series, Tim was shown to be tracking down the origins of something called Lazarus Resin, and as the series progressed, is killed by one of The Magistrate’s cyber-soldiers. Bathed in the Resin at the moment of his death, Robin is revived as an overpowered and self-healing brawler, an upgrade that makes far less sense for this more tech-savvy and intellectual Bat-Family member than it does for someone like Nightwing who’s usually held up as one of the group’s better fighters.

Being a former trapeze artist who works without a net, Nightwing oftentimes leaps into danger at the first provocation, whereas Tim is the de facto genius of the family, forcing fans to put some thought into whether or not these new powers actually make sense for the hero they’ve been bestowed upon. Not only that, but it would clearly behoove Nightwing to become indestructible given his more brawler-like mindset, while Tim further increasing his intellect along with potentially getting some sweet psychic powers would no doubt open doors for his character that he’s already been knocking on for decades.

So although it’s still unclear as to how much Nightwing will use this new drug in his mission to save Gotham, him using it to be more cerebral while Tim has been imbued with untold amounts of strength is a head-scratching power swap that does neither character justice. Nightwing and Robin’s escapades in DC’s far-off future may still be ongoing, but swapping the powers they’ve received could have made this story even more interesting as they try to save the city they love.

Next: Tim Drake's Coming Out is Making Batman A Better Hero

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