Dick Grayson aka Nightwing is one of the oldest DC superheroes ever. Grayson was the first ever Robin, Batman’s sidekick until he grew up and decided to retire his mantle to ultimately become a Nightwing, one of the best heroes of DC comics. On the other side, we have Slade Wilson aka Deathstroke, one of the best mercenaries and biggest enemies of the Batman and Wayne family. In this article, we will discuss and find out who would win in a fight, Nightwing or Deathstroke.
Deathstroke would win in a fight against Nightwing. Even though Nightwing was trained by Batman, and is one of the most agile and versatile superheroes of DC comics, Deathstroke is just better in every aspect. Slade Wilson is a former soldier of the United States Army, has enhanced physical powers, accelerated healing factor, heightened senses, and more, due to the drug provided by U.S. Army that wanted to create meta-human soldiers. Do we even talk about Deathstroke’s equipment at this point? God Killer Sword? Yes, Deathstroke is superior to Nightwing.
We will discuss this topic further and mention all aspects of the fight from a physical and psychological standpoint, talk about the gear each fighter has, maybe mention a few canonical instances in the comics of these two fighting, and ultimately come up with final words about this fight. We will do the best-of-seven system, so the one that gets first to the fourth point is the winner of the fight.
We all know that pure raw power is usually enough what it takes to beat enemies but in the comics, when it comes to the mental strength of the individual, anything is possible. Let’s start with Dick Grayson and his psychological prowess. Dick is actually a really level-headed man who usually doubts himself and his fighting skills. Dick also witnessed the murder of his parents at the hand of mafia boss Tony Zucco.
He witnessed multiple traumatizing situations while working and being a protector of Blüdhaven, and even going to other cities like New York and Chicago. Dick also saw Batman dying, his half-brother Jason Todd dying as well, and then coming back from the dead being only a shell of himself, a man who is killing everyone on sight. So yes, Dick went through a lot and that is why he is mentally incredibly strong.
On the other hand, Slade Wilson’s backstory alone is insanely traumatizing and sad. He joined the U.S. Army when he was only seventeen years old and was proven to be an exceptional soldier. He went through a lot in the army and even witnessed his team massacre the village which disgusted him. After some time, he met his wife Adeline Kane and got a child with her, Joseph. A criminal named Jackal kidnapped Slade’s son who got injured in the incident that left him mute. His wife Adeline was enraged and wanted to kill him but only managed to destroy his right eye.
All in all, both Deathstroke and Nightwing went through a lot in their lives, however, in this section, we need to give a point to Deathstroke, and here is why. You see, Deathstroke has a lot of similarities to Batman, who was Dick’s stepfather and mentor. Deathstroke and Batman are just two sides of the same coin because both of them believe in their goals, codes, and just overall techniques they use but in a different way. Even though Deathstroke was softer during some fights with Nightwing in the comics, Deathstroke still has a mental advantage over Nightwing.
Point: Nightwing 0 – (1) Deathstroke
As a young adult, Dick Grayson is a really smart individual. His leadership of teams like Teen Titans, Outsiders, and Young Justice proved time and time again how his detective skills, which he inherited from his mentor Batman, and polished in Blüdhaven Police Department, are one of the best in DC Comics.
Nightwing usually uses his intelligence to beat opponents that at first look much stronger than him. For example, in the few instances in the comics, Dick Grayson defeated Killer Croc, who is incredibly strong and much bigger than him. On that list is Ra’s al Ghul as well, after Batman’s death in the comics.
Nightwing is a really intelligent individual but Slade Wilson aka Deathstroke is a manipulating genius – because of the drug he received while he was in the Army, Deathstroke, besides enhanced strength and healing factor, also got enhanced mental brain activity. That means Deathstroke is always two steps ahead of anyone who is not a meta-human or a certified genius. Unfortunately for Nightwing, Deathstroke takes the point from this section as well.
Point: Nightwing 0 – (2) Deathstroke
Nightwing’s, as most of you already know, signature weapon of choice is his twin Eskrima sticks made from an unbreakable polymer. He also carries modified several dozens of batarangs (wing-dings) along with the de-cel jump lines and gas capsules.
Deathstroke does not come into fight light – he has multiple weapons that he uses in combat. Ballistic staff is one of the weapons of choice for Slade that retracts and is made of promethium. It can also shoot energy or explosive pellets from both ends. Deathstroke is highly skilled in swordsmanship, and his promethium swords which include katanas and giant broadswords are deadly to most of his enemies.
Slade Wilson carries guns as well, and him being an expert marksman, this is not surprising at all. He has dual pistols, powered sniper rifles, and rocket launchers in his arsenal. This is already overwhelming for Nightwing, isn’t it? Well, we did not mention God Killer yet, a divine blade forged by Hephaestus, the sword can shapeshift into different weapons and mystical energy and really effective against supernatural creatures and Kryptonians.
Yeah, Nightwing was defeated even before mentioning firearms. Obviously, Deathstroke once again takes a point.
Point: Nightwing 0 – (3) Deathstroke
If we take into account only the amount weapons wielded by each individual, Deathstroke would win overwhelmingly. However, let’s indulge more in this section. Dick Grayson having a circus background and exceptional athletic talent, makes him one of the best aerialists and acrobats of the DC Universe. Moreover, Batman’s rigorous training while being Robin, made Nightwing even better. Why are we mentioning that? Well, peak physical human conditioning is really important in combat.
Nightwing uses his immense athleticism to evade enemies’ attacks and strike them from the angles they least expect and then if we combine it with his prowess as a martial artist and hand-to-hand combatant, Dick Grayson is a really skilled individual.
On the other hand, Slade Wilson, as we already mentioned, can wield multiple different weapons. He is an expert swordsman, marksman, and martial artist who has a military background where he learned from Adelaine Kane, a captain that was tasked with training young soldiers in new fighting techniques. Slade adapted those skills really quickly, and later took on the mantle of a notorious assassin, which earned him the reputation of the deadliest assassin in the DC universe.
All in all, even though Nightwing is not scrub and can beat and has beaten a lot of great enemies, Slade Wilson is just better than him in this section and that is not embarrassing for Nightwing at all.
Point: Nightwing 0 – (4) Deathstroke
Nightwing Vs Deathstroke: Who Wins?
To conclude this fight, Deathstroke will win over Nightwing convincingly in most of the fights they find themselves in. If we take into account just Deathstroke’s God Killer Sword, that fact alone gives Deathstroke an overwhelming advantage over Nightwing.
Yes, Dick is more agile and at peak of his physical powers, however, with Deathstroke’s military and assassin background combined with his enhanced powers and endurance, Slade Wilson once again beats Nightwing.
Even though Grayson is considered one of the most intelligent individuals in the DC universe with which he saved the day multiple times in the comics, and is considered the best detective besides Batman, Slade once again takes the point there. I mean, he literally has an enhanced mental brain activity that makes him, like it or not, smarter than Nightwing.
To be fair there were fights in the comics between these two that actually went in favor of Nightwing, more precisely, DC’s Dark Crisis #2 where Nightwing has beaten Slade which was good from the plot standpoint but should not happen more often. Slade was also “nerfed” a bit after New 52 but that fact is for another article. Moreover, with Teen Titans, Nightwing managed to overpower Deathstroke, however, only with the help of his allies.
In the end, Deathstroke is just more powerful than Nightwing in almost every aspect of the fight, and maybe if the DC writers decide to actually enhance Dick somehow or decrease the power of Deathstroke even more, maybe Nightwing will prevail but until then, Slade Wilson aka Deathstroke will win in the fight against Nightwing.