Warning! Spoilers for Future State: Gotham #14 ahead!
Although Nightwing has always been a formidable opponent, Future State: Gotham depicts a world in which the former Boy Wonder became the greatest fighter in Gotham City. In the recent storyline of the book, Dick Grayson gains enhanced abilities after taking a drug, and now Grayson aspires to become the only real Batman in the dystopian Gotham of the future.
Future State: Gotham continues the storyline shown in the 2021 event, where new legislation in Gotham City stipulates that costumed heroes such as Batman are outlawed by a dictator-style magistrate. A highly skilled task force known as the Peacemakers is in charge of the hunt for the “masks”, and Bruce Wayne has lost his fortune and vacated the role of Batman. Others have stepped in to fill the void, most notably Jace Fox as the new Batman fighting against the peacemakers and the corrupt magistrate regime. Hoping to find the missing Damian Wayne, Dick Grayson takes a drug that gives him psychic powers of foresight. He then gets a vision of the future, showing him that the only way to defeat the magistrate is for Grayson himself to assume the Batman mantle. Wearing a new suit that directly pumps brane into his body, and declaring himself a real Batman, Nightwing soon comes into conflict with his former allies in his single-minded quest.
In Future State: Gotham # 14, Denis Culver, Yannis Milonogiannis and Jeffo, several Batmen come into play. In addition to Dick Grayson and Jace Fox, an adult Damian Wayne appeared again, dressed in his Batman costume No. 666 and calling himself — appropriately enough — Batman 666. The Batman villain Hush also began to wear a bat costume and impersonate him. The Dark Knight for his own nefarious reasons. All these Batmen are running around, and everything is ready for a major confrontation. Readers get the setup for “Batman at War” promised in the title of the story arc when Grayson makes contact with Jace Fox in Future State: Gotham #14. The former Nightwing gives the new Batman an ultimatum, telling him that Batman alone has only one room to look after Gotham City. A fight ensues, and Grayson easily defeats Fox—his new psychic abilities give him an advantage, since he can predict his opponent’s every move in advance.
Grayson was already a trained acrobat and a deadly martial artist, so the addition of the precognition of “combat sense” makes the former Nightwing now virtually invincible, even foreseeing a possible future. Bran is a drug that increases the mental abilities of the one who uses it, so now that Grayson has developed a bat suit that provides him with a constant dose when he needs it, he unlocks abilities that he didn’t have before. Like the hero Midnight, Grayson can now make complex calculations in his mind, seeing what actions his enemies will take even before they do them. Even more dangerous is that he has opened himself up to psychic visions of a possible future, forcing the once-level-headed Grayson to take extreme measures to prevent catastrophes that have not yet happened.
Whatever happens as a result of his extreme measures, one thing is for sure: with his new abilities, Nightwing is now the deadliest fighter in all of Gotham City. Future State: Gotham #14 is already on sale.