Dick Grayson unwittingly says “I love you” to Barbara Gordon, a longtime flame that he has alternated between dating and breaking up with for years, in DC’s Nightwing #93.
The three little words slip out of Dick’s mouth by accident as he interacts with Babs in her hideout in Gotham City. Accompanied by Dick’s three-legged rescue pooch, Haley, the two assess footage showing Nightwing fighting off several masked assailants who vandalized a statue of Alfred Pennyworth that Dick erected in the center of Blüdhaven in the previous issue.
After Barbara reveals that she’s managed to compile a database on the identities of the masked men, Dick takes a look at the material and whispers, “You’re incredible. I love you.” A second later, a stunned expression appears on his face and he apologizes, but not before Babs grins and asks him if he really meant to apologize for expressing his affection. Before Dick can elaborate, a phone call saves him from the awkwardness.
Moments of on-again, off-again romance between Dick Grayson and Barbara Gordon have existed for nearly as long as the pair have worked alongside each other as Batman’s original partners. Originally shown as flirtatious young adults in series like The Batman Family — which ran in the late ’70s and showed Dick as a college-age crime fighter and Babs as a slightly older congresswoman — the relationship between the two has evolved, particular after Babs was shot by the Joker in 1988’s The Killing Joke and spent many years in a wheelchair.
Dick and Babs advanced their relationship over the course of writer Chuck Dixon’s runs on the ongoing Birds of Prey and Nightwing series of the late ’90s and 2000s. Dick even popped the question to Babs in 2006’s Nightwing #117. While Babs accepted, the pair’s engagement ended off-screen.
In current continuity, Dick and Barbara deeply care for each other but danced around a proper relationship until Nightwing #85, where the two shared a kiss while fighting alongside each other in the midst of the “Fear State” event. Since then, the pair have slowly been testing the waters of commitment — and with Babs increasingly helping Dick with his Blüdhaven activities, there’s a good chance that the two lovebirds will finally be more willing to express their affection for each other in due time.
Nightwing #93 comes from writer Tom Taylor, artist Bruno Redondo, inker Wade Von Grawbadger, colorist Adriano Lucas and letterer Wes Abbott, with cover art by Redondo and variant cover art by Jamal Campbell, Serg Acuña, and Nick Robles. The issue is on sale now from DC Comics.