Dixon and McDaniel created the city as a former whaling town, which was officially incorporated as a "Commonwealth" in 1912. The town has been depicted as having a generally poor socioeconomic populace, owing in part to failed efforts to transform itself into a manufacturing and shipping center. The stories often state that culturally and financially, Gotham City has always overshadowed Blüdhaven, and that the city has a worse crime rate than Gotham. Not unlike Gotham, organized crime syndicates always dominated Blüdhaven, which were, until its final years, protected by endemic police corruption.
Introduction to the DC Universe
Blüdhaven first became a major setting in the DC Universe with the start of the nightwing ongoing series. Nightwing goes to Blüdhaven in pursuit of the supervillain-turned-crime-boss, Blockbuster . Blockbuster proceeds to take over organized crime in the city. Soon Nightwing sets up shop in Blüdhaven, becoming its protector. Writers quickly introduced corrupt police officers, such as Detective Soames and Chief Redhorn . In his civilian identity of Dick Grayson, Nightwing joined the force himself and fought the corruption from within.
Effects of later stories
After numerous plots in which the villains lead back directly, or indirectly, to Blockbuster , who was never completely defeated in any of these stories, writers built a more complex arc to bring resolution to the arc. Under the writing of Devin Grayson (noted for her work on Batman series Batman: Gotham Knights ) Nightwing allowed the amoral vigilante Tarantula to shoot and kill Blockbuster, although the reader sees that he could have stopped her. Suffering a crisis of conscience and wracked with guilt, Nightwing left Blüdhaven, apparently for good. Writers soon relocated two other Batman related heroes, Robin and Batgirl , to Blüdhaven, to act as its resident heroes.
Destruction of the city
In Infinite Crisis #4, the Secret Society of Super Villains drops Chemo , a gigantic, semi-intelligent pile of chemicals, on the city, causing a devastating explosion and toxic chemical fallout. The city is destroyed. Nightwing, Batgirl and Robin survive, since all were out of the city at the time of the attack, but the fates of other Blüdhaven-based heroes such as Tarantula are unknown. In Adventures of Superman #648, official sources set the resulting death toll from Chemo's assault on Blüdhaven at 100,068.
Superman and other superheroes such as the Teen Titans enter Blüdhaven to save people from the chemical fallout at the same time that Chemo tries to re-integrate. Superman fights the monster, surmising correctly that Chemo would regenerate more quickly if he were in battle. As Chemo regenerates, he draws the toxins out of the city, removing harmful fall-out and chemical waste. At the culmination of his battle with the regenerating Chemo, Superman hurls the giant into outer space.
The Battle for Blüdhaven
Following the Chemo disaster, the President declares a state of emergency and erects a wall around the city, as it is a threat to public health. Since Chemo was only chemically toxic, the nuclear fallout present in the city is a mystery. A new government-sanctioned super team codenamed "Freedom's Ring" (an apparent spin-off of the Force of July) takes charge of Blüdhaven, and orders the Teen Titans and all other metahumans to leave the city. One year later, "The Wall" has become a permanent structure, and displaced citizens compare the immediate area to the Gaza Strip. Many live in refugee camps that have sprung up around the wall while the superhero Monolith helps to keep the peace.
Within the city, Father Time the supervillain commands American forces, ordering his men to shoot and kill any heroes (referred to as insurgents) who enter the city. His forces also erect internment camps in which experiments are conducted upon American citizens. Also active in the city are the Atomic Knights, who run an 'underground railroad' in an attempt to smuggle citizens out of the city. The Society dispatch the Nuclear Legion (Geiger, Professor Radium, Reactron, Mister Nitro, Neutron ) to discover the nature of the radioactive leak inside the city, but in a conflict with Freedom's Ring and the Atomic Knights, one member of the Legion is killed. The Society sends the Nuclear Family to assist, and they locate the leak, but engage the Atomic Knights under the city in a struggle that merges into a larger battle between the Titans and SHADE agents.
Increasingly concerned by the developments, Robin leads the Titans back into the city. The Black Baron, once a drug lord who was mutated by the blast, now styles himself as the leader and ruler of the inner part of the city. In a fight with the Titans, Monolith and Firebrand, the Baron is punched into the next state by Monolith. SHADE agents engage the Titans and Lady Liberty is killed by Ravager, who then defeats the SHADE officers sent to retrieve the Titans. The Green Lantern Hal Jordan arrives to square off against Major Force, and Major Victory tells Force to stand down. Force refuses and beats Victory to death using Victory's own arm, after which Force's subordinates and some of the SHADE agents refuse to stand by him. Monolith is shattered in the fight and Firebrand escapes, following a voice that urges him to come to the Mississippi River.
The Atomic Knights place Captain Atom in a containment suit designed to limit his radiation output, similar to the armor worn by Monarch. Atom kills Major Force by draining all of the radioactive energy out of him and delivers a warning, telling anyone who wants to live to evacuate the city. After the evacuation, Captain Atom unleashes a nuclear explosion, destroying what is left of Blüdhaven and leaving a radioactive crater in its place. Meanwhile, the Atomic Knights retreat to an underground bunker known as Command-D. Later Brother Eye, in pursuit of Karate Kid, Una and his creator, the scientist Buddy Blank, claims Blüdhaven for himself, activating a new OMAC Army.
Final Crisis and its Aftermath
Blüdhaven has been the geographic focus of all issues of Final Crisis published to date. In issue #1, it is seen on T.V. as televangelist Godfrey Goode speaks about the inability of the government to do anything for the city. In issue #2, Dan Turpin, acting on a tip from the Mad Hatter, travels by bus to the city, where he sees the Atomic Knights, and is later led to the Command-D Bunker, which is revealed to be a new version of the Evil Factory, which Darkseid's minions are using as a base of operations on Earth.
Early in the series, the troubles of Blüdhaven are used as part of the new identities several of Darkseid's people have laid down. Its troubles are still the focus of TV broadcasts. Battles continue to be fought in its remnants, before and after the time compression in issue three. The area is cleared of Darkseid's influence by the end of the series.
During the events of Batman: The Return of Bruce Wayne # 3, the immediate region around the Command-D Bunker is depicted as so toxic as to require Batman and Robin to wear hazmat suits to investigate the possibility of Darkseid's exiling of Bruce Wayne into ancient history.
- It appeared very briefly in JLU episode "Grudge Match". You can Briefly see Nightwing.
- It is mentioned in Batman Beyond, Birds of Prey, Smallville.
- It is the main setting of Batman the Brave and the Bold episode "The Color of Revenge", where it is protected by Dick Grayson as Robin.
- It is the refuge of a retired Deadshot in Arrow.