Nightwing’s subjugation of Earth was swift and ruthless. As the new Vampire King, he managed to trick the heroes until the time was right for him to strike. What followed was nothing less than the overthrow of world governments and the executions or hijackings of heroes who might have stood in his way.
Despite this, DC Vampire Slayer: The Hunters #1 (by Matthew Rosenberg, Neil Googe, Antonio Fabela, and Troy Peteri) seemed to imply that Nightwing doesn’t actually yearn for the destruction of humanity, but rather their subjugation, out of which a tenuous but necessary. Since being transformed, Nightwing has displayed a cold, calculating, practical mind, setting aside his personal wants and desires for what is necessary for his species. You could say that, as brutal as his actions were, they were all in the service of the vampire genre. So his preservation of humanity is actually a necessary logical choice for both to survive.
Looking at his directions, Nightwing never orchestrated an outright slaughter of humans. His targets have always been people or organizations who might otherwise pose a threat to his new regime. It’s why he turned or killed members of the Justice League before anyone could figure out what he was doing, and why his first real acts of aggression were to destroy any other government power that might challenge him.
As barbaric as it sounds, it is actually a calculated assault on humanity’s ability to defend itself on a more global scale than it could locally. The results are evident: vampires rule the world, humans cower in hiding places, the few remaining heroes fleeing the new authorities and doing their best to help the surviving humans.
Even then, Nightwing only ever targeted the last bits of active resistance. He knows that as long as there are heroes who aren’t returned or killed, there will always be a threat to his kingdom. Yet he preserves humanity, because logically, vampires cannot survive without them. They need human blood to sustain themselves. If they killed every human on Earth, they would wipe out their food supply and starve to death, leaving behind a barren world.
Looking at all of this, it makes sense that Nightwing would want peace between humans and vampires, as he asserted to Alfred Pennyworth when he let him go. Both species need each other. Vampires can provide protection and direction to humans, while humans provide sustenance for their new lords. In a twisted sense, everything Nightwing did was a necessity for his race’s survival.
However, one could also argue that such brutality only became necessary once the vampire population began to increase, a direct result of Nightwing’s usurpation of the vampiric throne. So while these actions could be described as the hard choices made by a desperate leader to save his people, these same actions are the result of a choice Nightwing made to expand his kingdom beyond its ordinary borders. This practice that prevents him from annihilating humanity is just as easily a shield used by a power-hungry despot to justify his atrocities.
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