Nightwing #50 tried to change the status quo by giving us Ric Grayson – an edgy, moody dude with amnesia who is a far cry from anything we know Dick Grayson to be. As much as I disliked this idea, I was willing to ride the story out to see what DC had planned. Unfortunately, I wish I didn’t have to ride this out because not only does this chapter turn out to be a complete rehashing of terrible ideas DC has attempted before, but it’s also inconsistent with the previous issue. Because… You know… This entire story was thrown together at the last minute with multiple artists and writers…
By this point, I think we all know what happened to Nightwing, but if you don’t, then I’ll catch you up quickly. In a recent issue of Batman, Dick was shot in the head by KG Beast. Now Dick has amnesia, goes by Ric, doesn’t remember anything from his past, and is a total asshole. He’s choosen to live on the streets or squat in other people’s homes, and is ignoring and rejecting his friends who are trying to help and support him. Sounds pleasant, right? But for this issue, Ric gets a mood change and is suddenly a super nice guy! Uh… Ok…
If you read my review for Nightwing #50, then you’re probably thinking I’m excited to see this development! After all, I completely railed DC for making Dick into a total “Ric.” But seriously, I was unhappy with Nightwing #50 because DC was so desperate to do something “new” that they completely and fundamentally changed Dick to a degree that they should’ve just created a new character. I mean, hell, I would’ve read a book about a cab driver who was so tired of seeing crime on a daily basis that he decided to take night shifts and use it as an opportunity to become a vigilante. But now, after two weeks of finally coming to terms with the direction DC is taking Dick, they pull a 180!
I think I’ve got whiplash. After all of that, is DC really going to walk back all of the setups that were developed in the previous issue? Because that’s what they do. In fact, they make Nightwing #50 completely irrelevant. I took the time to go back and read Nightwing #50 then Nightwing #51 back to back… You don’t need Nightwing #50 anymore. Toss it. Burn it. Whatever makes you happy. All you need to know is that you could easily read Batman #54, then pick up Nightwing #51 and pretend Nightwing #50 never existed. That’s a good thing, right? Mmm… Not really.
Look, I get it… I know how I’m coming across. Two weeks ago, I said I wanted this story to be different because at its core, it wasn’t a Dick Grayson story based on how Dick was characterized. And yes, I am happy that DC/ Lobdell is correcting that here, but it’s a little late. Now we’re stuck with this mess of a “collaboration” that is so incohesive, it’s shocking that one of the “major two” are publishing this dumpster fire. Just on the principle of being professional, consistent, and planning, we shouldn’t have to put up with this type of nonsense. DC is making themselves look like a joke…
Plus, at the end of the day, despite my happiness to see some inkling of Dick Grayson in this shell of a character, we’re still left with the amnesia plot that is anything but “fresh” or “original.” Amnesia has quickly become a tired trope that writers and publishers turn to when they don’t know what to do with a character and want to change something. DC did it in Batman under Scott Snyder, and they’re doing it in their Titans television series as well. If DC really wanted to do something fresh and original, they would’ve had Dick get shot, but rather than mess with his memories and core character traits, they would’ve had him endure physical challenges that set him back. He could have remained his same, positive, confident self, just physically challenged (muscle memory, actual physicality, etc).
It should also be noted that amnesia isn’t the only thing this issue shares with Scott Snyder’s “Superheavy” from Batman. I won’t blatantly, give anything away outside of a spoiler tag, but a new character is introduced on the first page of this issue, and on page two, I knew what would happen by the end of this book.
We meet a new officer in this issue, and I immediately knew he was going to become Nightwing… And guess what?… He becomes Nightwing at the end of the issue! How did I know this? Well, why else would you introduce some new, random police officer who is reflecting on what Nightwing did for Bludhaven compared to Bludhaven’s current state without Nightwing? Why wouldn’t you just use Svoboda if all you wanted was a commentary on this? It’s lazy. Crappy, predictable, lazy writing. And now, you can expect to see said officer galivanting the streets of Bludhaven at night, eventually going too far to stop crime… Just get ready, because it’s coming…
Normally, I would take the time to go into the convenience of Dick’s amnesia in this story – how he’s somehow able to remember certain aspects of his life, but not other aspects based on what’s convenient to tell the story this “team” wants to tell – but it isn’t worth my time. Much like this issue and arc really aren’t worth your time. This entire thing will be a blip on DC’s radar, and will most likely be included in one of those “What DC wants you to forget about Nightwing” write-ups a few years from now. Oh, and in case you’re wondering, you get a single page featuring Scarecrow to remind you that he’s part of this arc.
The Art: Anytime I see Travis Moore is covering art, I get excited. I love the guy’s work, and can’t wait to see where his career takes him. His pages here are equally impressive, and I’m sorry he’s tied to such a sorry excuse for a cohesive narrative. And then there’s Gary Brown… I didn’t mind Brown’s work on Catwoman a few years back, but he doesn’t bring the elements that made me enjoy his art there, and instead, this looks like a sorry attempt to try and match Mooneyham or perhaps Moore. Whatever the idea was, it’s not great.
- You like when publishers completely changeup a story.
- You want to stay on a sinking ship.
- You’re like me and can’t really say, “No thanks, DC. I’m done with Nightwing for now.”
Overall: If this arc of Nightwing does anything, it fundamentally highlights some of the major problems facing the comic book industry at the moment. 1. Publishers clearly don’t plan stories well, or simply don’t carry out plans. 2. They’re completely disconnected from their audiences – not that comics should be a complete fan service. 3. They’re losing grasp of the core, fundamental elements of their characters. I urge you to pass on this book. Pass on this run. Go find an indie comic to support or check something else out, because this is a nightmare.