A year ago I bashed Superman and praised Nightwing, now 12 months later the shoe is on the other foot. Now we are not talking a complete role reversal in that I am despising Nightwing as I initially felt about Superman, but I am not enjoying the direction Nightwing has taken. With Nightwing my issue is with how Kyle Higgins has conceptualized Dick Grayson/Nightwing but how the series has developed.
Nightwing has now gone through 12 issues and the only thing that has happened emotionally is that he has slept with an old friend a few times. I am not saying the comic is lacking a romantic angle, what I am saying is that the story is devoid of all emotional content: happiness, angry, joy, frustration,anything. The issues are not bad, they are just BORING, like a horrible season of your favorite show boring.
Comic fans have long criticized Nightwing for its lack of independence because DC will not let him out from under Batman’s wing and just have the freedom to develop outside of Gotham. For a short time in the late 90s and early 2000s while Chuck Dixon was writing and even part of Devin Grayson’s run Nightwing was apart from Gotham, living in Bludhaven and moonlighting as a police officer taking down corruption and staying clear of Batman. Now I love Batman as much as the next but he stretches too far, cut some slack DC. DC has pretty much done the same with Tim Drake’s exile as Red Robin which has all but seen him dead and buried. For years Nightwing has suffered and failed as a superhero, not because of writing but where DC will let readers take a character they keep in the wings every time Batman is hurt. Maybe they should hold onto Tim Drake for these situations now and let Nightwing go… to Bludhaven and just use Batman as a once a blue moon crossover.
The inaugural story should have been filled with pain and torture sprinkled with nostalgia bringing Grayson back to the carnival that took his family, instead Nightwing might as well have been working security at CVS nothing in that story not the Haly Circus, not the old boss dying and leaving the circus to Dick, not the upset son who was written out of the will, not the old girlfriend and not the old friend and aforementioned girl friend who was trying to kill Dick had one ounce of feeling in the projection through the story. As the circus story ends we are pushed right into Night of the Owls we learn Dick is the heir to the Owls and the bloodline to the most powerful assassin in Gotham’s history, does he show any feeling? No. He might as well be called Apathy-man, he just does not seem to care.
It’s not all sour, after issue 1 and 2 I thought Higgins had set the ground work for what I hoped was a fresh start after Nightwing got the ax a few years ago. His inheritance of a large warehouse looked like the suggestion of a “Nightwing Cave” giving Dick space and independence from Bruce to be his own hero. Nothing materialized but a fire and death and back to the Batcave it was for Grayson, never out from “dad’s basement.”
Blame the writer(s)?
I don’t know, I think this is deeper than writing, I think this is editorial direction. There is no way that nine writers has all taken their chance with Nightwing and all taken the same character and all failed in the same way. I have been hoping DC will let Nightwing be the character Chuck Dixon revolutionized, but I am running out of home that a decade of oppression is going to change. I really hope they do an adjustment, Nightwing is one of DC’s top characters when written well and just like watching paint dry when he is not.
I was hoping for an A+ and I was delivered a D+.