Bilal Asselah, a French-Algerian was raised by his single mother on the outskirts of Paris, France. Though peaceful, on Bilal's 16th birthday, he and his friend Aarif were caught in the middle of a French-Muslim protest, and beaten mercilessly by the police force. After they both healed, Aarif gave Bilal a gift including the music of Leni Urbana, an urban representative of the Muslim people in France, urging Bilal to listen to her words. That night Aarif was killed by police after he set fire to their station. After hearing of his friend's death, Bilal would forever be changed. He stated sympathizing with the protestors, and would find solace in becoming a talented parkour athlete. In order to help his people's cause, Bilal decided to adopt a masked identity and would become the vigilante, Nightrunner.
Nightrunner was created by writer David Hine in order to create a French representative of Grant Morrison's Batman Incorporated. Nightrunner would first appear in the 2010 annuals of Detective Comics and Batman, drawn by artist Agustin Padilla. Writer Kyle Higgins and artist Trevor McCarthy would expand on Nightrunner's origins in the back up feature of these issues.
Nightrunner was originally an untrained amateur vigilante running across the rooftops of Paris, France. During a chance encounter with both Bruce Wayne and Dick Grayson as Batman, it is decided that he should be the French representative of Batman Incorporated after extensive training under Dick Grayson.
Major Story Arcs
On a trip to France where Bruce Wayne intendes to start a branch of Batman Incorporated, he arrives in the country to find that many political leaders are being assassinated by killers who seem to be in a mysterious trance and wind up committing suicide after their target has been killed. Both Bruce and Dick Grayson find out that the next target is a revolutionist singer by the name of Leni Urbana, and both stake out Paris at night in order to try and find her would be assassin. The two Batmen come across Nightrunner, who they mistake as the assassin. Turns out that NIghtrunner's only intentions were to warn Urbana of the danger. He joins both the Batmen in order to save the singer. The team would eventually learn that the assassinations were being orchestrated by cult leader Korrigan and with the help of The Question, they manage to defeat Korrigan and stop the assassinations.
Before leaving France, Bruce would decide to offer Bilal the position of the Batman of France under his Batman Incorporated banner. After Bilal accepts, Bruce buys him a pent house apartment, with a secret base, and all the crime fighting equipment he could need. Dick Grayson would stay in France as Batman for a period of time to train Bilal in order to prepare him to be a successful member of Batman Incorporated. Early in his crime fighting career, Bilal attempts to help the oppressed Muslim people of France, but comes across resistance, as his people view him as member of an American police force attempting to thwart their ideals. Seeing anti-Batman propaganda across the city, Bilal almost gives up his career as the Batman of France, seeing that his very own people hate him. Bruce mangages to talk Bilal out of it, explaining that the people think of him as a symbol, and it is his job to define what that symbol means to them. After Bruce leaves, Bilal witnesses two young boys in a park, fighting over a makeshift Nightrunner mask. Seeing that he has at least started to change people's views of who he is, and who he fights for, Bilal regains his sense of confidence and continues to work as the Batman of France, Nightrunner.
Further on into his career, him and Batman are pursuing a criminal fraternity known as "Les Stereotypes", who were in the process of delivering a truck full of tranquillized children to a supplier of a slavery ring. The heroes manage to stop them, only to discover the children had been brainwashed to hack apart and murder their adult minders. Covered head to toe in gore, they scream "Leviathan!
During the events of Leviathan Strikes!
, a pair of sluggish Spyral thugs attack Dick Grayson, Robin and Red Robin whilst they are trapped in the Labyrinth of Dedalus. They are quickly beaten and unmasked to reveal both are actually brainwashed Batman Incorporated members, one of the being Bilal Asselah.
Powers and Abilities
Nightrunner is a skilled free runner and is great at parkour. Like everyone in Batman Inc. Nightrunner has all of the bat equipment including a utility belt and batarangs.