(Editor’s Note: The following was originally written by Keith Feltenstein.)
In our next “Versus” match, we have two sidekicks that went pro! We have in one corner Nightwing (DC), and in the other corner we have Winter Soldier (Marvel). Who would win this all-out, sidekick no more fight? Hand-to-hand combat! Weapons! You name it, they will do it! We will let you decide who would win? Here is a little something about each character:
Nightwing is a superhero identity assumed by numerous characters in the DC Comics universe. Most prominently, Nightwing is the superhero name adopted by Batman’s partner Dick Grayson when he outgrows his identity as Robin. Nightwing remains strongly associated with Batman, but title and concept have origins in classic Superman stories.
The original Nightwing in DC continuity was an identity assumed by alien superhero Superman when stranded on the Kryptonian city of Kandor with his friend Jimmy Olsen. Drawing inspiration from Batman and Robin, the two protect Kandor as the superheroes Nightwing and Flamebird. Following a continuity reboot in 1985, Nightwing is a legendary figure much like Batman from Krypton, and it is this legend which inspires Dick Grayson’s choice of name when he sheds the name Robin.
Other stories set among the Batman family of characters have seen acquaintances and friends of Dick Grayson briefly assume the title, including his fellow Robin alumnus Jason Todd. Meanwhile, Superman stories have seen Superman’s niece Power Girl and adopted son Chris Kent take up the name for brief turns as Nightwing. Various other characters have taken the name in stories set outside DC’s main continuity as well. And at times the role has been unoccupied, such as when Dick Grayson operated as Batman and after faking his death. Nightwing, the comic book which focuses on Grayson, has long been a top-selling DC book. In 2013, Nightwing placed 5th on IGN’s Top 25 Heroes of DC Comics.
Dick Grayson has almost reached Batman to a point and is believed literally and figuratively to be his successor. Master Detective: Grayson is a world-class detective, second only to the likes of Batman. He was rigorously trained by the Dark Knight in everything from escapology to criminology, fencing, stealth, disguise, and numerous other combat/non-combat disciplines.
Grayson is a prodigious natural athlete, possessing a peak human level of agility/acrobatic skills. He is regarded as the greatest human acrobat in the DC universe. Batman himself is an incredible athlete in agility, and is at peak human perfection, but even he gives the advantage in that area over to Nightwing. He is the only person on Earth who can do the quadruple somersault. As Nightwing, Grayson is a master of dozens of martial arts disciplines, with an emphasis on Aikido and Escrima, taught to him by Batman. His preferred fighting style combines Escrima, Judo, Savate, Capoeira, Aikido, Boxing, Wing Chun, Hapkido, Jeet Kune Do, Taijiquan, Ninjutsu, and Bojutsu with his acrobatic abilities. He is considered one of the finest human combatants in unarmed combat, almost on par with Batman. He has fought and held his own or defeated some of the best fighters in the world. Prominent examples include Ra’s Al Ghul, Deathstroke, Jason Todd, Shrike, Red Arrow/Arsenal (Roy Harper), Azrael, and even Batman himself. Through his martial arts training with Batman, he has become an expert on almost all types of weaponry.
A Russian patrol submarine find Bucky’s cold-preserved body missing one arm. Bucky is revived in Moscow, but suffers brain damage with amnesia as a result of the explosion. Scientists attach a bionic arm, upgrading it as technology improves.
Programmed to be a Soviet assassin for Department X – under the code name the Winter Soldier he is sent on covert wetworks missions and becomes increasingly ruthless and efficient as he kills in the name of the state. While a Soviet agent, he also has a brief relationship with the Black Widow. The Winter Soldier is kept in a cryogenic stasis when not on missions, and as a result has aged only a few years to a young adult since the closing days of World War II. In 1968, the Winter Soldier was sent to kill Professor Zhang Chin, whom he had met over 20 years earlier. He was thwarted by an intangible being called the Man with No Face, though he was able to escape. On assignment in the United States in the 1970’s, he suffers a breakdown and goes missing for days after assassinating his target.The Winter Soldier also aided in Wolverine’s escape from the Weapon X laboratory and later murdered Itsu, Wolverine’s wife, seemingly killing their unborn son Daken, who survived the attack after being cut from his mother’s womb.
In the present day, the Winter Soldier seemingly kills the Red Skull and Jack Monroe (Nomad) under orders from former Soviet general Aleksander Lukin (Karpov’s former protégé). The Winter Soldier launches a terrorist attack on Philadelphia, PA, killing hundreds, and charges the Cosmic Cube which Lukin sent him to retrieve. He kidnaps Sharon Carter, an agent of the international espionage agency S.H.I.E.L.D. and a former lover of Steve Rogers (Captain America). Upon her rescue, Carter tells Captain America that Winter Soldier looked like Bucky. S.H.I.E.L.D. chief Nick Fury confirms the Winter Soldier’s existence, but cannot ascertain his identity.
Captain America tracks down and confronts the Winter Soldier. Regaining his memories, Bucky becomes overwhelmed by guilt over his past actions, crushing the Cosmic Cube and teleporting away. He reappears shortly afterward in London, England, where he helps Captain America fend off a terrorist attack. He asks Nick Fury for employment and new equipment following the loss of his bionic arm. Following the events of the superhuman Civil War, Winter Soldier helps Fury plan the escape of an arrested Steve Rogers. Before the plan can be implemented, however, Rogers is assassinated. Considering registration architect Tony Stark (Iron Man) as ultimately responsible, Winter Soldier plans to kill Stark in revenge. Deducing that Stark will oversee the appointment of a new Captain America, Winter Soldier steals Captain America’s shield from S.H.I.E.L.D. agent Black Widow so that it cannot be handed down.Ultimately, he heads to Kronas’s headquarters, where Lukin reveals he is the Red Skull and has the evil psychiatrist Dr. Faustus attempt unsuccessfully to brainwash the Winter Soldier.
Having trained under Steve Rogers (the original Captain America in World War II) and others in the time leading up to World War II, “Bucky” Barnes is a master of hand-to-hand combat and martial arts, as well as being skilled in the use of military weapons such as firearms and grenades. He also used throwing knives on occasion and was a gifted advance scout. His time as the covert Soviet agent known as the Winter Soldier helped to further hone his skills, making him the equal to his predecessor in combat skills and an expert assassin and spy. He is also fluent in many languages, including English, Spanish, Portuguese, German, Russian, Latin, and Japanese. He can understand French. Winter Soldier’s left arm is a cybernetic prosthetic with superhuman strength and enhanced reaction time. The arm can function when not in contact with Barnes and can discharge bolts of electrical energy from its palm. The arm can discharge an EMP causing electronics to either shutdown or become useless. The use of Barnes’ EMP is shown when Barnes uses it to shut down a Nick Fury LMD and when he attempts to use it on Iron Man. The arm has a holographic function to disguise it as a flesh and blood arm.
As Captain America, he possesses the original, indestructible, vibranium alloy shield used by his predecessor, as well as a Kevlar/Nomex blend, shock-absorbing costume. He often carries several conventional weapons such as knives, guns – mostly a Colt 1911-A1 .45 and a P08 Luger and grenades.
With that all said, who would you like to see win this brawl? Would it be Nightwing, or would it be Winter Soldier? We want you the fans to decide which of these two men should walk away from this fight. Vote now! Make a difference!
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