And here I am, getting my hands on the comic I was looking forward to the most out of the entire relaunch as I am a huge fan of Grayson.
To be honest, I’m a little torn on what to think of this. I enjoyed how it opened and the end really reeled me in, but part of the story midway in left me a little unsure of just how I felt.
Basically we start off with Dick patrolling the city and giving us a bit of info that he was acting as Batman for about a year and is recently back as Nightwing. Something that he is generally glad to be for he never fully felt himself as Batman and to him, it was almost more of a role he was filling because no one else could “while Bruce Wayne was… away”. Okay, so my leading into that quote is rather out of context, but I wanted to hit that part for as far as I know at least, it hasn’t been stated in this new 52 if Bruce was presumed dead due to events of Final Crisis or if that bit has been tweaked yet. I’m assuming its the same, but no one has stated it outright yet. Either way, his time as Batman has made Dick grow and improve even further, though another line that gets to me even more though is Dick thinking “Now, Gotham has nothing that can scare me.” It just seems a bit off for Grayson to think. After all, he’s spent most of his life as a super hero and it just seems too cocky for the character.
Anyways, we soon come across Dick living in a loft again more in the middle of the city than outside which is mostly done to point out some philosophy differences between him and Bruce before he goes to visit Haley’s Circus. Something he’s been a little afraid to do because this is it’s first time back in Gotham since the death of his parents. This is the part that kind of throws me off in the issue. Yes it is a good way for those who somehow don’t know Dick’s origin story (which I think is just behind Bruce’s in which nearly everyone who knows the name would have heard), but Higgin’s writing here just doesn’t fully sell his reluctance to me here. He has Dick afraid even though he states right in the issue that Dick has visited the circus dozens of times – just in other cities. He also leaves me unsure if Dick is still the owner of Haley’s Circus (something he acquired during his first Nightwing series). Not to mention he has Dick going on the trapeze yet playing rusty since the people at Haley’s don’t know he hasn’t “been keeping up with my acrobatics.” Just a bit that feels off to me as his last series he rejoined the Circus for a while working the trapeze and he taught it at a gym to kids for a good while. Ah well.
While Dick is heading home come night time, a hired assassin comes after him. Someone who is intent on killing Grayson and does not know he is Nightwing. This guy is a little unknown for what his outlook is and if he really is a good guy kind of like Jason has been in the past or the Punisher is in Marvel. I say this for we got a look at what I’m assuming is the assassin outside of his outfit killing two muggers and he tells Nightwing that he doesn’t know who he is protecting for Grayson is “the fiercest killer in all of Gotham” making it seem that despite most likely being a hired assassin, this guy generally may just go after the bad guys. To put a slight damper on that though, he apparently kills two cops that had tried to stop him. This guy is actually faster than Dick (who is one of the fastest non-metas in the DC Universe) and shows impressive displays of acrobatic abilities too. Really, I want to see more and know more of him, but sadly him getting an advantage over Nightwing is where the issue ends.
Eddy Barrows’ art in this issue is amazing accompanied by Mayer’s inks, Higgins does a pretty good job of painting Dick’s outlook on no longer being Batman but I do wish he would have made a couple points a bit more clear. A final complaint/question I have too is just where is Nightwing keeping his gear? We see for a moment a grappling line which I’m just assuming is built into his suit like it was with his old Nightwing outfit during his time in New York. The big question at the moment is where does he keep his escrima sticks, does he carry any other gear besides that now since no compartments are visible, and in the start he had pushed a hidden button on his suit but what it did is rather unclear. Generally a good issue, but sadly it didn’t quite hit me as strongly as Men of War #1 or Batgirl #1 did. Still, I am really looking forward to the next issue.