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Summary

  • Nightwing’s immunity to fear gas, granted by Alfred, sets him apart from other non-metahuman heroes in the DC universe.
  • The revelation of Nightwing’s unique superpower in Battle for the Cowl #3 showcases his exceptional resistance to Scarecrow’s fear toxin.
  • Alfred’s decision to inoculate Dick against fear gas raises ethical questions, but could play a crucial role in future storylines.



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Like most other members of the Bat-Family, Nightwing is highly respected for his status as a non-metahuman superhero, making him one of the most formidable and esteemed heroes in the DC universe, despite lacking superhuman abilities. However, Nightwing secretly does possess a unique superpower which distinguishes him from all others, and it’s all thanks to his loyal butler and grandfather figure, Alfred Pennyworth.


The revelation comes in the midst of Battle for the Cowl #3 by Tony Daniel, Sandu Florea, Ian Hannin, and JD Smith, when it is made strikingly clear that Nightwing possesses a unique resistance to the fear toxin used by infamous supervillain Scarecrow.

Nightwing Confirms Immunity to Scarecrow Fear Toxin in Battle for the Cowl #3 from DC Comics

As it turns out, Nightwing’s exceptional immunity to fear gas was granted to him through Alfred’s meticulous inoculation of the Boy Wonder against every known variant of this hallucinogenic drug.

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Nightwing’s Immunity to Fear Toxin is His Secret Power

Nightwing Vol 4 #56 (2019) by Scott Lobdell, Fabian Nicieza, and Davide Gianfelice

Within the daunting landscape of Gotham City, Nightwing, and the Bat-Family confront an endless array of nightly threats, many of which stem from Batman’s notorious Rogues Gallery. Among these iconic adversaries, few can induce as much spine-chilling dread as Scarecrow. Armed with his infamous ‘fear toxin,’ a potent hallucinogenic concoction of his own creation, Scarecrow immerses his victims in their darkest nightmares, subjecting them to unparalleled terror.

As evidenced in Battle for the Cowl #3, the potent fear agent proves utterly ineffective against him, causing, at most, a hint of disorientation. This remarkable immunity is effectively Nightwing’s overlooked ‘superpower,’ and the envy of every Gotham citizen. This extraordinary resilience is vividly showcased in Nightwing Vol. 4 #56, during the infamous ‘Ric Grayson’ storyline. In an encounter with Scarecrow, the villain doses the vigilante with the toxin; Dick Grayson remains utterly unaffected.


While Scarecrow’s gas is the most famous, the first villain to weaponize terror was Dr. Hugo Strange, whose similar “Fear Dust” made its debut in
Detective Comics
#46 (1940)

Nightwing’s Secret Superpower Could One Day Save Gotham

nightwing batman powers

Alfred inoculating Dick against fear gas may have been a boon for the hero in the long run (and the larger hero community, for that matter), but it does call into question the ethics of Alfred’s decision. Since this was most likely done during Dick Grayson’s early Robin years, it would have been performed when Dick was still just a boy, incapable of giving proper consent. As apparent in Battle for the Cowl # 3, Nightwing doesn’t hold this against Alfred, since he mentions the tampering to his biology in a nonchalant and positive context, but it still is a decision made on Pennyworth’s part that may not have been one of his proudest.


This unique ability has the potential to be a pivotal factor in future storylines, where the tide of a crisis involving fear gas could be shifted by Dick’s exceptional immunity. In such scenarios, Nightwing may emerge as the sole hero capable of saving the day, highlighting the profound significance of his immunity in the face of perilous encounters with this menacing hallucinogenic substance.



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