They say that clothes make the man, and if that’s the case then Nightwing has been made many times over. The former Boy Wonder has worn some diverse outfits, as have the other men who've donned the Nightwing mantle. Fans like you recently made their voices heard in our poll for greatest Nightwing costume, but why stop there? Let’s take a deeper look into Dick’s closet as we rank (almost) every Nightwing costume ever!
Background: During a wacky Silver Age adventure, Superman and Jimmy Olsen became hunted fugitives in the bottle city of Kandor. Since Superman didn’t have any powers, he decided to model himself after Batman by fashioning a disguise. Since bats and robins don’t exist in Kandor, Superman and Jimmy took the names of the Kryptonian birds Nightwing and Flamebird. That’s right, Dick Grayson’s iconic costumed identity comes from a space bird. This identity and costume was later used by Superman’s Kandorian friend Van-Zee.
Debut: 1963’s Superman #158
Our Ranking: 5/10. It’s visually appealing when compared to other Silver Age costumes, but it reminds us of those unlicensed Batman costumes you sometimes find in Halloween stores.
THE DISCO SUIT
Background: After shedding his Robin identity, Dick Grayson forged his own path by becoming Nightwing. He admitted that the name was inspired by Superman. Due to the high collar, fans have dubbed this outfit “the disco suit” even though Dick first wore it years after the disco craze had died.
Debut: Tales of the Teen Titans #44
Our Ranking: 8/10. The high collar looks goofy, but anytime this suit was drawn by George Perez it was extraordinary.
THE NIGHTWING OF THE NINETIES
Background: This outfit was designed by Mirage when she used her shapeshifting powers to impersonate Nightwing’s girlfriend Starfire. This costume lost the high collar, but added retractable wings so Dick could fly. After Mirage’s ruse was discovered, Nightwing kept using the costume, which probably ticked Kory off.
Debut: The New Titans #88
Our Ranking: 7/10. This costume is a more simplified version of the “disco suit” that doesn’t get enough credit.
THE MIDLIFE CRISIS SUIT
Background: How do we put this delicately... There was a period in the mid-1990s where Dick stopped...taking care of himself. Arsenal was installed as the Titans' new leader in a government-backed coup, and Dick’s relationship with Starfire had fallen apart. Nightwing wore a leather jacket (WHY?!?!) over his costume and stopped grooming.
Debut: Thankfully this shameless display was only seen in The New Titans #114.
Our Ranking: 0/10. Let’s never speak of this monstrosity again.
THE ICONIC LOOK
Background: After a very brief retirement, Dick returned to his Nightwing identity with the help of Batman’s assistant Harold. Anticipating Dick’s return to action, Harold designed a suit that has become the most iconic Nightwing outfit to date. The yellow was removed, and replaced with a black jumpsuit, complete with a blue-wing emblem. Perfection.
Debut: 1995’s Nightwing #2
Our Ranking: 11/10. That’s right, this costume is so perfect that it gets an extra point. This is the gold standard for Nightwing, which is why variations of it are still used to this day, including in the recent live-action Titans series.
NOW WITH FEATHERS
Background: The animated version of Nightwing kept many of the features from the "Harold suit" and changed the bird emblem, adding a head and feathers.
Debut: The New Batman Adventures episode “You Scratch My Back”
Our Ranking: 9/10. The blue-feathered bird has become synonymous with Nightwing, and is seen on tons of cool DCU merch from wallets to hats. This version of the outfit has been seen in other media projects, such as Young Justice.
Background: Tad Ryerstad was a Bludhaven resident who had a few screws loose. He decided to indulge his violent tendencies by taking to the streets as a vigilante known as Nite-Wing. It didn’t go well for anyone, especially fans of good taste.
Debut: 1998’s Nightwing #21
Our Ranking: 1/10. We appreciate a good DIY effort, but don’t just throw something together.
THE LEGENDARY SUIT
Background: After ending his partnership with Batman, Dick Grayson turned to Superman for advice. The Man of Steel told Dick about the Kryptonian legend of a hero named Nightwing. Not much is known about this ancient Nightwing, but we were treated to a cool illustration of his high-tech suit of armor.
Debut: Nightwing Secret Files #1
Our Ranking: 5/10. It’s a good science-fiction suit, but nothing to write home about.
LOIS AND CLARK
Background: While visiting an alternate simulation of Krypton (it’s complicated), Lois and Clark donned special armored suits. Locals began calling the couple Nightwing and Flamebird, despite Lois reminding Clark that two heroes with those names already existed on Earth.
Our Ranking: 2/10. Clark and Lois look like a certain insect-themed crimefighting duo from another marvelous comic company.
POWER GIRL’S SUIT
Background: Power Girl and Supergirl donned the identities of Nightwing and Flamebird to help the citizens of Kandor rebel against an evil ruler. Power Girl’s Nightwing costume looked like a metallic nightmare suit from Hell, as opposed to Clark’s original spandex version.
Debut: 2006’s Supergirl #6
Our Ranking: 8/10. Now that’s a costume that will strike fear into the hearts of criminals!
THE KRYPTONIAN KID
Background: Chris Kent, also known as Lor-Zod, was the son of the Phantom Zone criminals General Zod and Ursa. When a group of Kryptonian refugees settled on Earth, Chris suited up as Nightwing to maintain order, and to search for the Phantom Zone criminals before they could create chaos.
Debut: Action Comics #871
Our Ranking: 4/10. It looks like the copyright-safe versions of superhero costumes you see in kids' coloring books.
SON OF ZOD
Background: After a few adventures, Chris switched to a blue suit of armor. He reasoned that the armor would make his Kryptonian powers seem like suit enhancements, helping him hide his alien identity.
Debut: Action Comics #875
Our Ranking: 6/10. Chris’s second costume was an improvement, but ultimately there is nothing special about it.
NOW IN RED
Background: We’re not sure how this happened. We imagine that one day Dick Grayson said “I’m feeling kind of spontaneous. Maybe I’ll change the color of my emblem to red.” To be fair, Chris O’Donnell did it first. But Batman & Robin did lots of crazy things we don’t talk about.
Debut: 2011’s Nightwing #1
Our Ranking: 9/10. You should never mess with a classic, but swapping out blue for red doesn’t change how awesome this costume is – though it does lose a point!