What is Blüdhaven

First appearing in the comics in October 1996, in Nightwing (Volume 2) #1, Blüdhaven, often simplified as Bludhaven and also called Bloody Haven, Blutige Haven, The Blüd, Devil’s Tongue, and New Essex is a fictional city created by Chuck Dixon and Scott McDaniel for the DC Comics Universe.

Image: DC Comics, all rights reserved

Located near the coast of New Jersey, between Gotham City (located to the north) and Atlantic City, it is a harbor town with its metropolitan area divided into two main counties, known as Avalon and Have.

Its representation in the comics resembles, but in some way exaggerates, the relationship that New York City has in real life with Newark, New Jersey, highlighting not only the difference in the infrastructure of both cities, being Gotham City (NY) much more imposing but also the socio-economic and cultural situation of both, with Blüdhaven (Newark) having a poorer level. Despite this, both cities function independently in the comics, particularly when talking about law compliance.

In the DC Comics Universe, this city has its beginnings as a whaling city due to its proximity to the ocean. In 1912 it was officially incorporated into the “Commonwealth”, however, it always remained on a low socio-economic level, largely due to failed attempts to transform itself into a fully industrialized city, like its sister city Gotham City.

During its growth, Blüdhaven was the victim of heavy corruption within the syndicates and lawmakers, which deeply affected the local police. However, with the arrival of the supervillain and now turned into organized crime boss Roland Desmond, A.K.A. Blockbuster, the power of the city’s streets passed into his hands.

This attracted the attention of Nightwing, the alias used by Dick Grayson (Robin)Batman’s sidekick, who, following clues to the murder of some gang members, arrives at the city, becoming its first hero and protector. Here, he confronts the corrupted police and, especially, Blockbuster, keeping him at bay from organized crime.

Not to be confused with Nite-Wing, the alias of Tad Ryerstad, a self-proclaimed vigilante of the city, who in fact, is a thug that frequently beats innocent individuals and spent his time reading comic books.

During a confrontation between Nightwing and Blockbuster, a vigilante known as Tarantula, the alias of Catalina Flores, a former FBI agent and the sister of Blüdhaven’s assistant district attorney, got involved in the fight. She functions as the successor of Jonathan Law’s Tarantula, a superhero that was living in Blüdhaven when Blockbuster burned down the building where he was living in.

Even when Grayson didn’t approve of Flore’s more extreme crime-fighting methods, the calculated assaults made by Blockbuster on diverse Nightwing loved ones due to the knowledge of his secret identity made him take a step back and let Tarantula kill the crime boss. Soon after, the hero left the city out of guilt.

In a different arc, after the events of Identity Crisis and War Games, the third Robin, Timothy Drake, arrived at Blüdhaven when he soon became involved in a plot organized by the Penguin. During a fight, Robin was being defeated by Shrike (Boone), an assassin and martial arts expert, when Batgirl appears to assist him and put an end to the Penguin’s plan. Subsequently, they both remain to protect the city for some time, but certain events occur that take them both away from the city.

During the Infinite Crisis arc, the Secret Society of Super-Villains, as an act of vengeance against the hero Nightwing, released the gigantic monster Chemo onto the city, where it is entirely composed of toxic chemicals and radioactive waste body caused immense destruction and mayhem, resulting in the loss of 100.068 lives

Nightwing, Batgirl, and Robin survived the attack because they were outside the city, but the destiny of other Blüdhaven vigilantes like Tarantula remains unknown. From this attack, the hero Firebrand (Andre Twist) gained his pyrokinetic abilities.

After this, many heroes arrived at the destroyed city to save as many lives as possible, where Chemo tries to regenerate itself taking advantage of all the environmental pollution. Soon, Superman fights the monster and takes it into space, destroying it. The disaster was so big that fictional U.S. President Jonathan Horne put the whole city under quarantine.

A year later, during the “Battle for Blüdhaven” miniseries, the city is surrounded by a structure called “The Wall”, which divides the residents into two groups: the inhabitants who stayed outside and live as refugees while being protected by the Monolith, and those who live inside the structure and are controlled by Father Time’s forces, who also perform experiments on them, while a group known as the Atomic Knights smuggles citizens out of the city.

These and other forces, such as Society of Evil’s teams, the Teen Titans, and Captain Atom engage in a confrontation, which ends with a warning made by Atom: everybody who wants to live has to evacuate the city. After, he produces a nuclear explosion that destroys the remnants of the city, leaving a huge radioactive crater behind.

Due to its residual activities, the A.I. Brother Eye arrives and creates a new army of OMAC (One-Man Army Corps) cyborgs, controlling the city. Upgrading itself, the A.I. travels to Apokolips where it begins working with Darkseid and the Monitor Solomon. The remaining city of Blüdhaven is then used by Darkseid as a base for his plans to conquer Earth. The major part of the city is destroyed after the battle between Darkseid and superhero forces.