Nightwing #50 – Benjamin Percy, Writer; Travis Moore, Chris Mooneyham, Klaus Janson, Artists; Tamra Bonvillain, John Kalisz, Nick Filardi, Colorists
Ray – 7/10
Corrina: This Is Not Dick Grayson But He Is Definitely a dick
Ray: The start of a bold new era for Nightwing instead turns into the beginning of the end, as Benjamin Percy leaves this title with Nightwing #50, an oversized anniversary issue, leading into an editorially-driven Scott Lobdell run. The overarching plots of Percy’s run have been abandoned, with hints that they’re going to be taken up by Maighread Scott’s Batgirl run. While the immediate aftermath of Dick’s shooting is being dealt with in this week’s Batman, this issue flashes ahead to pick up after he’s recovered. He’s survived the shooting and has all his physical abilities and basic skills, with virtually no sign of the massive brain injury he suffered – with the exception of his memories, which has basically been hollowed out. When we meet him again, he’s hanging out in a diner, trying to collect his thoughts. A robbery erupts and he finds himself playing hero by knocking out the robber. He then disappears into the night again, drowning his sorrows with visits to dive bars, poker games, and illicit Bludhaven fight clubs. All the while crime in the city is getting worse and worse in Nightwing’s absence.
A series of flashbacks take us back to Dick’s early days as Robin, and they’re probably the best part of the issue. They also feel mostly irrelevant, which is part of the odd structure of this issue. You have Dick patrolling the city with Batman, as they encounter the Scarecrow holding a hall full of his fellow academics hostage. Batman and Robin break in and beat him, but in the process, Batman forcibly exposes Scarecrow to his own fear gas. This is also how Karma was created, so maybe he should stop? While Batman defeats Scarecrow, it’s Robin who is exposed to him when the gas is at its peak, leading Scarecrow to develop an obsessive terror of the boy wonder. In the present day – to which Scarecrow will undoubtedly be returning for revenge – Barbara shows up to try to get Dick to come home and recover with his loved ones, but he rejects her. While Barbara returns to the Batcave to tell Bruce and Alfred that she thinks Dick is lost to them, Dick burns his old Nightwing gear and begins anew. I’m not sure about this direction as a whole, but this issue makes me think Percy could have spun something interesting out of it. Sadly, he won’t get the chance.
Corrina: Why would I want to read this book if it’s about a completely different person than Dick Grayson/Nightwing?
Answer: I do not.
This is not Percy’s fault but I have a ton of questions about Dick’s physical condition. A bullet to the brain but only his memory is affected rather than his motor functions? What kind of rehab did he undergo? What other steps did he have to take?
Did Bruce and Babs not stick around for his rebab? That seems like an incredibly callous thing if they did not, especially for Babs, who knows what it’s like to suffer a debilitating injury. I guess if they did, they just managed to make him upset? Which does not sound like Babs.
His recovery might have made for a compelling story.
Instead, all that is skipped so we can have Dick, excuse me, Rick Grayson with all his skills intact, but with a more edgy personality, one where he’s estranged from the Bat-Family. In other words, we have an entirely new, “darker” character who retains nothing of the Dick Grayson from before except, ironically, that he acts like a dick.
Why DC would make this choice, I have no idea, though the fact that they wanted to kill him in Infinite Crisis and make Jason Todd into Nightwing seems to have come true anyway because this new personality is basically Jason Todd at his worst.
Except we already have Jason Todd, so Rick Grayson is now just another angry young hero, instead of what made him unique.
So, in the end, DC did kill Nightwing anyway.
To find reviews of all the DC issues, visit DC This Week.
Disclaimer: GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.