Nightwing #51 – Scott Lobdell, Fabian Nicieza, Writers; Travis Moore, Garry Brown, Artists; Hi-Fi, Nick Filardi, Colorists
Ray – 1/10
Corrina: Hard Pass
Ray: The previous issue, setting up the new “Ric Grayson” status quo, had a massively flawed concept and logical holes but good scripting courtesy of writer Ben Percy.
Percy is gone now, heading off to write a Wolverine series for Marvel, and this series no longer has that going for it. Nightwing #51 feels very clearly slapped together at the last second, with two writers, two artists, and two colorists – and it shows. It’s also probably the most half-assed comic I’ve read in quite some time. As the issue opens, a new character, Detective Sapienza, is introduced as he heads to the bombed-out Nightcave where Dick destroyed the remnants of his old superhero life last issue. After talking to the costume, he heads back to investigate the open cases in Bludhaven. As for Dick, the issue’s biggest problem is the way it rewrites the facts of his condition every time it’s convenient. He seems to be otherwise functional, but he keeps having dreams of faceless versions of Batgirl and Robin. Creepy, yes, but rather nonsensical.
“Ric” now seems to spend most of his time getting drunk in a seedy bar, racking up a massive tab and trying to charm the owner. He in no way sounds or acts like a brain injury survivor – this kind of amnesia might be believable for a severe concussion sufferer like we saw in the movie “The Vow”, but not someone who had a chunk of their brain shot out.
Alfred apparently likes to visit Dick and pay off his tab, unlike the other members of the Bat-family (especially Bruce) who seem to be giving up on him. While Dick is working as a rideshare worker in Bludhaven, Scarecrow – whose longstanding grudge against Dick was set up the last issue – has set up camp in the city, working as a shady therapist helping people “embrace their fear”. The issue ends with Dick being mugged by a local derelict and suddenly manifesting Nightwing skills, kicking the man half to death – just as Detective Sapienza heads back into the bunker to steal the Nightwing costume to bring some law and order back to the city. This whole issue is nonsense, reminding me more of the weird Bruce Jones Nightwing run from One Year Later more than anything.
Corrina: That weird Bruce Jones run was supposed to star Jason Todd but got swapped at the last minute because DC decided not to kill Dick Grayson in Infinite Crisis after all. They finally have killed him here because this character in this comic bears no resemblance to any version of Dick Grayson. He’s most like the not-lamented Deathwing who turned out not to be an alternate version of Dick Grayson.
As for the comic, I’m not really reviewing it, as stated previously, because of Lobdell’s admitted harassment of a fellow panelist at a comic con. It is unfortunate that the art team is stuck in this awful story, as the panels with Alfred in the shadows, looking sad, are quite well done, as is the art in rest of the issue.
Yet the concept continues to be a true WTF? that DC choose this direction for this character. But maybe they wanted him to match fellow Titans drunk Donna (Wonder Girl/Troia), dead Roy (Arsenal), apparently dead original Wally (Flash), and mutated Beast Boy. Raven and Starfire, who are mostly intact at the moment, better watch out.
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Disclaimer: GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.