DC Database

Tony Zucco is the man that killed Richard Grayson's parents, the Flying Graysons.

In his youth, Zucco was a mobster in Gotham. His first wife was a young mail order bride from Asia named Meili Lin, and Tony was violent and possessive towards her. When the couple visited Haly's Circus, Meili took the opportunity to escape Tony's abuse and fled into the crowd, taking refuge in the trailer of a young acrobat named John Grayson. The circus performers roughed Zucco up and threw him out when he tried to enter the trailer, with John sarcastically giving him a carnival prize teddy bear as compensation. Meili travelled with the circus for some time and formed a relationship with John, eventually becoming pregnant with his child.

When the circus passed through Star City, Zucco kidnapped Meili from the trailer and left the bear in her place. He lay in wait for John then pistol whipped him from behind and broke his hand when he came into the trailer. He took Meili to Bludhaven where John would be unable to find her, and six months later she gave birth to a baby girl, Melinda. Tony suspected that Melinda was not his, but claimed her as his daughter to save face and eventually convinced himself that she was. When Melinda was eight, Meili left him and took Melinda with her, and this time Zucco did not try to stop her. However, Zucco did kill the Graysons by making them fall to their deaths during a trapeze stunt in retaliation.

At some point, Zucco remarried and had a daughter, Sonia, with his second wife.

Sometime after his murder of the Graysons, Zucco fled to Chicago and vowed to turn his life around. Changing his name to Billy Lester, the reforming criminal settled down with a wife, raised a child, and became good friends with the corrupted mayor. Zucco managed to keep his identity a secret pretty well before Richard Grayson, disguised as his alter persona Nightwing, came looking for his parents' murderer.

After his identity had been compromised, Zucco was captured by Nightwing. Zucco, not knowing his capturer to be the son of his victims', unknowingly apologized for his sins. Later, Zucco actually saves Nightwing's life from the terrorist having his way with Chicago, Prankster, by shooting the villain cleanly through the arm as the Prankster was strangling the hero. Zucco was then quickly captured by the police, not resisting his demise.

Later, in jail, Zucco is told that his wife had left him with his child. Trashing his Billy Lester alias, Zucco demands to be called by his real name.

Later, Zucco's daughter Sonia goes to visit him in prison. Zucco expresses immense gratitude in seeing her, despite the pain he must have caused her by going on the run, and vows to make amends to her once he gets out. However, Sonia interrupts him by stating that she will personally ensure that he is never released from prison. Sonia goes on to explain that while Zucco has apologized for leaving her and expressed love for both her and his son, there is one subject that he has avoided. He killed the Graysons. Without saying another word, Sonia leaves her father in prison.

Zucco was eventually released from prison on good behaviour. Shortly before Zucco's release, Blockbuster, the leader of Bludhaven's crime families, was murdered and the BPD under Maggie Sawyer dismantled his organisation. This created a power vacuum in Bludhaven's underworld which Zucco planned to fill. Zucco knew that Blockbuster's lieutenant Boss Maroni didn't trust digital currency and had stored his wealth as gemstones; and that his most valuable jewel, the Eye of Khandaq, was stored in a secret bank used by Bludhaven's criminal elite known as The Hold. He planned to steal the gem and use the money to buy the loyalty of the remaining gangs and assume Blockbuster's throne.

As Melinda had recently become the Mayor of Bludhaven, Zucco came to her with his plan, telling her that they could rule the city as father and daughter. The next night, he and his new henchmen, the criminal acrobatic twins Double Dare, easily robbed the Hold, which had minimal security under the logic that nobody would dare to steal from them and their customers. However, Nightwing followed them to the Hold and captured Zucco when he attempted to flee with the gem.

Zucco was incarcerated in Bludhaven Private Prison, facing yet another lengthy sentence as The Hold passed on evidence of his crimes to the city. Melinda came to visit Tony in prison, and he assumed that she was there to help him, but Melinda told him that she knew her real father was John Grayson, and that Zucco had killed him. Tony denied this, claiming that Meili had lied to her, but Melinda told him that the GCPD had reopened the investigation into the Grayson's deaths, and that Meili would be testifying against him. She also revealed that she had legally changed her name to "Grayson-Lin", and that she would make sure the name Zucco was forgotten, and he would have no legacy. She walked out just like Sonia had, leaving him to his fate.

Heartless assaulted Bludhaven Private Prison and freed and armed the inmates. In the ensuing riot, Heartless found Zucco and told him that he had done it all so they could meet. Heartless told Zucco that he had been a fan of his for years, and that he had made him who he is when he killed the Graysons. Nightwing and the Titans quickly stopped the riot, but Heartless and Zucco managed to slip away.

Zucco told Heartless about The Hold and the billions in wealth they held, and Heartless decided to rob them. Heartless easily killed the minimal security, but when they got inside they found it had been stripped bare.

Zucco became one of Heartless' key henchmen in his plans to take over Bludhaven. The first step in the plan was to frame Dick Grayson, who Heartless also bore a grudge against, for Heartless' crimes. At a fundraiser in Gotham for Grayson's Alfred Pennyworth Foundation, Heartless and his forces staged a fire in order to evacuate the building. When almost everyone had gotten out Heartless, in his civilian identity of Shelton Lyle ran up to Dick and told him that he couldn't find his butler Gerald. The two "searched" for him while Zucco secretly injected drugs into the fake smoke. Dick found Gerald seemingly collapsed on the floor, but in fact he and Shelton were both wearing gas masks. Dick passed out from the drugs, which also prevented him remembering what had happened. Shelton then carried Dick outside where he was loaded into a fake ambulance driven by some of his men.

The ambulance met up with Lyle and Zucco in an alley, and when one of the fake paramedics searched Dick to take his cellphone they found Nightwing's mask, revealing that their two greatest enemies were the same person. Gerald murdered the paramedics and told Shelton and Zucco that this was a huge opportunity, but nobody could know except the three of them. They took Dick back to Bludhaven, dressed him in a Heartless costume and dumped him on a rooftop with a duplicate of Heartless' gun and a dead man, framing Dick for the murders.


  • Deception: Tony Zucco was able to fake his death, move to Chicago, and start a new life, all without anyone finding out who he really was.



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Nightwing Villain(s)
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