Nightwing Vol. 1: Better Than Batman – Review

DC Rebirth has been a success for the most part. It stopped a run of market dominance for Marvel, even if only for a little, and some of the comics have been critical successes. Given my limited time, I’ve had a hard time keeping up with all of the Rebirth titles, so when DC Comics gives me a review copy of one of the trades, I’m going to give it a shot. Initially, I was going to go with The Flash, but then Nightwing came across my desktop.

Nightwing is one of those characters that has survived despite reportedly being in DC Editorial’s cross-hairs to shake up the status quo. He has also become one of the more popular characters to not be recognized for the influential character that he is. Then there’s the position that Dick Grayson holds as beefcake, a still too-rare balance among fans, known for his sex appeal as well as his story potential.

Nightwing Vol. 1: Better Than Batman

Writer: Tim Seeley
Artist:  Javier Fernandez

A part of DC Universe: Rebirth! 

Nightwing is back…in blue!

He’s been Robin, he’s been a super spy, a ghost. Now, Dick Grayson finds himself back in Gotham City fighting to reclaim the life that was taken from him. But when a new evil threatens those closest to Dick, as Nightwing he must once again choose whether or not to tear himself away from his home in order to combat this dark force.

Everything Dick thought he knew about being Nightwing will be brought to bear, and his relationship to his former mentor Batman will be put to the test in NIGHTWING: VOL. ! written by Tim Seeley (GRAYSON) with art by Yanick Paquette (SWAMP THING, BATMAN/SUPERMAN) and rising star Javier Fernandez (RED HOOD/ARSENAL). Collects NIGHTWING: REBIRTH #1 and NIGHTWING #1-4,7-8.

Rebirth honors the richest history in comics, while continuing to look towards the future. These are the most innovative and modern stories featuring the world’s greatest superheroes, told by some of the finest storytellers in the business. 

Honoring the past, protecting our present, and looking towards the future. This is the next chapter in the ongoing saga of the DC Universe. The legacy continues.

Review:

Dick Grayson has to come back from a history as a secret agent, but never really seems to shake the sense of being an agent for someone. In his initial series, Nightwing became his own man, making a reputation for himself, and here, he just seems to be working for someone else. He practically severs his ties to his former spy organization, Spyral, but they show up almost as often as Batman does. For any book in the Batman family, the real trick is in acknowledging the shadow of the caped crusader, yet making sure that he doesn’t overshadow the hero. Tim Seeley gives it an honest effort, but so much of the time Batman is in the book builds Dick Grayson up as a sidekick striking out on his own, which a strong finish (and it should be a strong one) doesn’t get past. Nightwing has been a character for years, even in the new DC Continuity.

I do like that there are quieter moments with Grayson re-connecting with old friends like Barbara Gordon and Damien Wayne. His treatment of Barbara is one of those flaws to his character that Dick Grayson carries as an orphan. He feels alone in the world, and thus, whenever he finds himself as a duo, his only experience is with someone that kept himself emotionally distant. When your role model for social interaction is Batman, you have a few issues that you need to work out. I like this aspect moreso than the plot, which seems to ride a line between cleaning up loose ends from previous Batman-related stories and giving us a cliché personal vendetta from the hero’s pre-heroic past. To criticize that element any more would be to give too many spoilers away.

The artwork is good, and reminiscent of Kevin Knowlan. The story flows, but retains the feeling of a house style at DC nowadays. Very detailed artwork giving us insight into how every facet of a costume is put together, yet making the world these characters inhabit seem very, very real. Overall, though the comibination is good, but very banal. It doesn’t feel like the character that Dick Grayson is at the beginning is much different from the one he is at the end.

If you’re a Nightwing or Batman fan, you’ve probably already read the issues, but if you’re a lapsed fan like me, then an easy to find collection of these five issues are probably the best way to get reacquainted with Dick Grayson.

Rating: 7.0 (out of 10)