The reboot of Nightwing has been a rough one. Like some of the other bat-books, it has yet to really take hold and show that it has staying power. Nightwing is an exceptional character and while I’ve had faith that writer Kyle Higgins will find his voice, I was starting to wonder.
With the arrival of Nightwing #9, the cobwebs are clearing and the writing has become much stronger. Granted the last few issues have built off Scott Snyder’s brilliant Court Of Owls story arc in Batman, but with issue 9, Nightwing stands on his own two feet.
Dick Grayson, aka Nightwing, is up against it. Trying to protect the Mayor and Deputy Mayor of Gotham the former partner of the Dark Knight is facing a Talon assassin. To add salt to the wound, this Talon is the regenerated corpse of his grandfather William.
So how did this fucked up family tree get started? Apparently, William once loved a girl, got her pregnant and was hoping to have a family. Sadly, the girl’s rich father denies the marriage and William loses his child and his love. Destitute and without hope, he is recruited into the Court Of Owls and is allowed to bestow vengeance on Gotham.
Wanting to continue his lineage, William kidnaps his child and gives him to a friend to be raised to one day become a Talon. This baby would grow to become Dick Grayson’s father and the Talons would visit him to try and recruit a young Dick into the Court. Circumstances intervened and Dick became Robin instead of a Talon.
The family history is told between an absolute knock-down drag-out fight between Nightwing and his grandfather. Higgins does a really wonderful job of weaving the two stories together without losing the depth of William’s tale or the straight action of the fight.
I will raise one point of order that made me roll my eyes. The Court Of Owls consider themselves the people who live in the gray of Gotham and William sees his son as another member of the Court. To keep the Court's ideals alive, William asks his friend to give his child the last name of Gray-Son. It’s really cheesy and completely unnecessary.
On the bright side, Higgins does a great job of giving Nightwing the upper hand against an indestructible foe. The art from Eddie Barrows does a great job of bringing Higgins’ story to life. Not only is there great movement to each panel, but Barrows also has a great way of introducing pain. Between the blood, the motion and the weapons, Barrows art really makes you feel how beat down Nightwing is. It makes his triumph against his grandfather that much sweeter. I’m back on board Nightwing for now; cautiously optimistic that it will stop sucking.
(3.5 Story 4 Art)