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Alfred Pennyworth is still missing after having resigned his post at Wayne Manor. Nightwing tracks Alfred down to London, where Alfred is catching up with his ex-fiancee Joanna Clark. It is explained that they were to be marri

Quote1.png What I've gotten is the realization that you did the best you could with what you had. You weren't a perfect father but that's okay because -- probably nobody's a perfect father. No family's perfect, either. I was lucky. I was privileged. Not because of the big house and the money, but because you gave me a lot of yourself. You taught me, you showed me, you encouraged me -- you never lied to me and you never demanded that I be anything I'm not. I didn't imitate you because you insisted that I do so, but because I wanted to. Of all the men I knew, you were most worthy of imitation. Quote2.png
Dick Grayson src

Ties That Bind is a Nightwing storyline written by Alan Grant and Dennis O'Neil with illustrations by Dick Giordano and Greg Land. It consists of the first published solo series based on Nightwing, the one-shot Alfred's Return by Grant & Giordano followed by the four-issue miniseries by O'Neil & Land.


Alfred Pennyworth is still missing after having resigned his post at Wayne Manor.[1] Nightwing tracks Alfred down to London, where Alfred is catching up with his ex-fiancee Joanna Clark. It is explained that they were to be married, but their wedding was interrupted by Alfred's rival Jonny Forsythe who had been having an affair with Joanna. Alfred and Joanna have a pleasant reunion where she reveals that Johnny is dead and she now has a son, Derek. Derek is in trouble because of gambling debts to the local mobsters, and Joanna asks Alfred to help. Alfred is reluctant at first, but Joanna tells Alfred that Derek is really his son. Nightwing confronts Alfred about leaving without saying goodbye, and they reconcile. Nightwing and Alfred work together to deal with the mobsters, who turn out to be involved with high-ranking military officers in a coup attempt on the royal throne. They're using the gambling debt to blackmail Derek into changing some government papers, which will help them cause the death of thousands. Nightwing and Alfred foil the plot, but Derek is killed in the action. Alfred explains this to Joanna, and she reveals that she lied about Derek being Alfred's son. Alfred decides to finally return to Gotham with Nightwing.[2]

Nightwing rescues a pretty girl named Miggie Webster from a kidnapper named Kevin Gipley. Batman appears out of the shadows and it's explained that Nightwing called him to the scene of the crime but asked him not to intervene. Nightwing explained that he wanted to prove his competence so he can quit without Batman thinking he's doing it out of weakness. He hated his brief stint as the third Batman and has decided he no longer wants to try to be Batman. Dick Grayson takes his costume off and gives it to Batman to do with as he pleases. Later, in his civilian identity, Dick approaches Miggie and asks her on a date. Alfred Pennyworth visits Dick to give him some of his parents' old affects. Looking through these items, Dick finds a note implying that his parents might not have been killed by Boss Zucco as he previously thought. The note is a threatening letter they received during a tour of Kravia. Grayson makes plans to visit Kravia and investigate. When the country's monarch Prince Balsik learns of this he sends an American hitman named Goode Ole Bernie to kill Grayson.[3] Bernie tries to kill Grayson, but Dick defeats him and he escapes. Oracle investigates Kravia and finds that Prince Balsik has plans for an ethnic cleansing. Dick realizes he will need a costume to stop Balsik, and Harold Allnut makes him a new improved Nightwing costume. The new costume includes bulletproofing, more weapons/gadgets, and a communications link with the Batcave. Nightwing parachutes into Kravia and finds himself in the middle of a warzone.[4] He fights his way through the soldiers killing civilians trying to save as many lives as he can. Eventually he is betrayed by a citizen and captured by Balsik, who sentences him to execution. They cover Nightwing in honey and place him in a pit to be filled with rats who will eat him alive. Inside the pit he learns from a political prisoner that the Flying Graysons witnessed the assassination that put Balsik in power. They make it out of the pit, but the prisoner is shot before he can reveal whether Balsik ordered the murder of the Graysons.[5] Nightwing takes the prisoner back to Gotham, where he can tell his story to the media and help the government bring down Balsik's regime. Goode Ole Bernie attacks Grayson again, but this time Grayson knocks him out. Miggie calls Grayson for help, explaining that she's being abused by her father and she hired Gipley to get her away from home. Dick arrives too late and Miggie has already shot and killed her father. Dick visits the prisoner as Nightwing, and the prisoner reveals that the Graysons were killed by Zucco before Balsik could attempt an assassination. Batman meets Nightwing outside the hospital and asks if he wants to talk, which Dick notes as a first in their relationship. Nightwing says that he is disappointed he didn't learn anything new about his parents, but he did learn that it doesn't matter... because Bruce and Alfred were the greatest family he could have possibly hoped for. He rescinds his resignation, ready to become Nightwing full-time again.[6]


Recommended Reading

Links and References

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Batman Family Storyline
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