With the Joker back wreaking havoc in Gotham City, Nightwing would have expected the city to be a madhouse. Usually, Gotham's gangs and mob factions tend to take advantage of the distraction the Joker provides by being more active. However, tonight, there seems to be a sudden drop in crime, and all avenues of investigation thus far have turned up nil. Nightwing goes back to his loft and tries to contact Bruce and Alfred, but neither responds. Finally, Dick remembers that there is one man in the city who always knows what's happening in Gotham's underground: The Penguin.
At the Iceberg Casino, the Penguin is discussing business with Ogilvy when Nightwing crashes in through the door. He questions Penguin about the drop in crime. Penguin explains that if it were the Joker's return, his establishment would be packed with gossips. However, the place is empty because all of Gotham's underground are afraid to go out since they were tipped off to the arrival of Lady Shiva. Nightwing has crossed her before, back when he was Batman's partner. He decides that he should deal with her while Batman is preoccupied with the Joker, though he isn't sure how well he will fare against her, given how nearly she had killed him last time.
In the morning, Dick visits his fledgling revival of Haly's Circus at Amusement Mile, but unfortunately, many of the acts have decided not to join in his venture. Jimmy has, however, managed to recruit a new family of aerialists, the Soaring Sorranos. Though they have heard of the Flying Graysons' fate, they are eager to get started. His meeting with them is interrupted by Sonia Branch and her personal assistant Melody - who is openly flirty, to Sonia's annoyance. After passing him some paperwork to notarize, Sonia invites Dick to return it to her, signed, at dinner later. This confuses him, as he's not sure what the significance of this dinner will be.
That night, while trying to get in touch with Bruce and failing to find leads on Lady Shiva, Sonia calls to reschedule their meeting - apparently not more than that - because she has a meeting with an auditor for her SEC hearing.
Dick takes the opportunity to get back to work on chasing Lady Shiva, but not long after getting outside as Nightwing, he encounters Batgirl. She has come to enlist his help in tracking down the Joker. She has recently encountered his handiwork, and at this point, she isn't sure that she's ready to face him alone - or at all. He crippled her, last time they met. When she realizes that Dick isn't interested in helping her, she becomes angry, and leaves him.
Nightwing tries to get a lead on some crime in Gotham by checking in at the Black Bass, a regular hangout of Handsome Johnny, a regular, unknowing informant. Dick uses Batman's EMP mask to take on the appearance of a gun for hire called Snake Feldman, and gets a line from Johnny on a job with a minor gangster named Chipper Panoicia, who is trying to make a name for himself by killing Lady Shiva.
Though he has mixed feelings about it, Dick decides he has to protect Shiva from the numerous trigger-men that Panoicia has hired to kill her. When the men spot a motorboat coming for them, they assume it must be the assassin, and they open fire. Deftly, Nightwing leaps into the fray and disables as many gunmen as he can. Unfortunately, the motorboat was a decoy - there was nobody on it. Shiva has been in Gotham for some time, and her most recent victim is the SEC auditor that Sonia Branch was scheduled to meet.
- The Penguin
- The Joker (Mentioned only)
- Jimmy Clark
- The Soaring Sorranos (First Appearance)
- Vito Sorrano (First Appearance)
- Gina Sorrano (First Appearance)
- Christina Sorrano (First Appearance)
- Sonia Branch
- Melody Martin (First Appearance)
- Handsome Johnny
- Chipper Panoicia (Only appearance)
- Lady Shiva
- Batman (Mentioned only)
- Alfred Pennyworth (Mentioned only)
- Catwoman (Mentioned only)