Spoiler warning: if you don’t’ want Forever Evil #1 spoiled for you, don’t read this article.
In issue one of the DCU-wide event Forever Evil, we saw the Crime Syndicate, an alternate-universe version of the Justice League, gather all of the most dangerous DC criminals and deviants together and enlist their help in taking over the earth. They went proclaimed that the earth was theirs, tossed whatever remnants of the Justice League they had (Superman’s Cape, Aquaman’s trident, Wonder Woman’s lasso), and, most crushingly, unmasked Nightwing on public television, whereupon the networks also brought up all of his documents, revealing him as Dick Grayson. Ultraman then says to the shocked audience, “We will hunt down and destroy everything this Richard Grayson cares about. All who would oppose us – you risk not your lives, but the lives of those you cherish.”
The unmasking of Nightwing sends a powerful message throughout the DCU. “It’s a psychological blow to the world’s remaining heroes,” said Forever Evil writer and DC Chief Creative Officer Geoff Johns in a phone interview with Hero Complex. “With the Justice League out of the way, the top of the heap is Nightwing. Every other hero, in my opinion, looks up to Nightwing…. And I think in some cases, people listen more to Nightwing than they would to Batman, because Nightwing is sincere, and Batman can be a little bit mysterious.” Nightwing’s unmasking is an unprecedented event that will have huge ramifications for the rest of the DCU, but Johns has not revealed anything about what they might be.
Nightwing, being the first ever superhero sidekick in all of comics, is a figure that may of the younger heroes can relate to, and so, as Johns said, his unmasking would be a brutal psychological blow to any of the remaining heroes. A new cover for Forever Evil #2 shows some members of the Crime Syndicate standing over the battered and broken bodies of the new Teen Titans, suggesting that the effect his unmasking has on them incites them to go up against the Crime Syndicate. “They’re not very prepared,” Johns said. “I think the Titans of the New 52 have a lot to learn, and I think it’s partly illustrated here. But that group is not the New Teen Titans.”
Source – Hero Complex