Since you’ve read every N52 book, you are probably the person to ask. Has Blüdhaven ever been mentioned by anyone in the New 52? I’m assuming it’s still a gooey pile of toxic waste, but I am curious as to whether it has been acknowledged.
[Edit: The information in this post is now no longer (completely) accurate! Make sure you check the update at the bottom!]
Oh, awesome question! So, for those playing at home, Blüdhaven is/was a city not far from Gotham, most famously for:
- Being the place Dick Grayson went off to to play at being Nightwing out of Bruce’s shadows
- Cassandra Cain spent a bunch of time there too as Batgirl. Tim Drake, the third Robin, also joined her for a time.
- Being destroyed and turned into, as /u/gamer4maker aptly put it, “a gooey pile of toxic waste” after being destroyed by Chemo during Infinite Crisis.
- Being even more corrupt and messed up than Gotham. It’s basically New Jersey to Gotham’s New York.
Anyway, since the New 52 reboot there hasn’t been a lot of word of it, in fact I can’t remember anything, not even an offhand mention. Whether it exists, and if it does whether it was destroyed, is in a state of limbo.
One of the problems is how much we don’t know about the history of the New 52. People swore that, clearly, Final Crisis hadn’t happened until it was made clear recently that Bruce did do the whole time travel thing after being shot by Darkseid, even though the events may have happened differently, for example. Infinite Crisis is in a similar limbo in that it was hinted that what brought Jason Todd back wasn’t simply the Lazarus Pit but rather that helped stabilise his resurrection, so did Superboy Prime punch reality in the New 52 too?
It’s made even more complicated by the truncating of time of the Bat family but apparent insistence on keeping all the history, especially when it comes to Dick. It seems that pretty much his whole history – other than his love of blue – is there, but what about his time in Blüdhaven then, working as a cop? So far there hasn’t been anything that directly contradicted it but nothing that showed any of it still happened either.
For the fate of Blüdhaven itself, though, it might be best to turn to the real world. In interviews it has been stated that N52 Nightwing never lived there, so maybe those stories now took place somewhere else or maybe they didn’t. Given Blüdhaven is so intrinsically linked to Nightwing, his N52 writer Kyle Higgins is probably the best source. Back in 2011 as part of the New 52 launch he had this to say:
What led to the decision of Nightwing operating within Gotham as opposed to Bludhaven on his own?
Higgins: Thematically, I felt it was quite important for Dick to continue his campaign in Gotham, especially coming off what Scott [Snyder] did in Detective and what he and I did with Ryan [Parrott] in Gates of Gotham. Before Dick came to take over as Batman, he had spent several years avoiding the city.
Higgins basically states that they’re focused on the future. Blüdhaven had served its purpose in the past for Dick and wasn’t needed anymore. Since then Higgins has been even more straightforward on Twitter:
And then, when asked about why the move to Chicago over Blüdhaven:
Now, of course that’s all comic book continuity and a new writer could step in tomorrow and say that Blüdhaven does exist, has always existed in the N52 and either is or is not a radioactive sludgepile, but for now the only info we have comes from the creators, with the consensus being that Blüdhaven is no more.
Hope that helps :)
So, while it’s only a minor thing, Blüdhaven apparently no longer “doesn’t exist”, no matter what Higgens once said! In Green Arrow #37 (published in December, 2014) the character John King is the subject of a new story arc called The Kingdom.
John King was an extremely successful business man and the third richest man in America, with only Bruce Wayne and Lex Luthor with more money to their names. On the surface, John King appeared to be a humanitarian who used his billions to travel from city to city, rejuvenating and improving their conditions with the goal of saving lives, but he was secretly gaining control of crime and using his charity to indenture the citizens of those cities to his will as servants of The King.
Why is him turning up in the Green Arrow’s (New 52) home of Seattle relevant to those of us missing Blüdhaven? Because when gloating about his past successes King name drops the city! As far as I know this is the first and only mention of Blüdhaven in the post-Flashpoint contintuity and I’m super excited! :)