The newest era of Nightwing has begun! Not only am I taking over this book’s reviews, but this marks the dawn of an all-new swashbuckling story direction. After overcoming his last foe and adjusting to changes with the Titans, Nightwing finally decides to investigate a mystery bothering him for several chapters.
Following Knight Terrors: Nightwing, Tom Taylor harkens back to the original “Knight Terrors” storyline from Nightwing #50. Some may remember, but hope to forget; Nightwing lost his memory and began calling himself Ric Grayson back then. Notably, during that time he chose to be a cab driver while dating a bartender named Beatrice Bennett. Unbeknownst to Nightwing, a mysterious man entrusts a package to Dick Grayson. However, Ric conveniently refuses to open it due to his momentary identity crisis. Instead, with Bea’s recommendation, he decides to store the envelope in the hands of the clandestine Quartermaster and his “Hold.”
After learning of his account and stopping Zucco’s robbery in Nightwing #99, Nightwing puts off the mystery for some reason. Apparently, the Hold contains and secures the private property of its clients with its fearsome reputation. The Quartermaster then watches over the property until its future withdrawal. In many ways, the Hold and the Quartermaster bear similarity to Winston and The Continental from John Wick universe. While not convinced of the bank’s guarantee of security, I can appreciate it’s campy Goonies-like pirate aesthetic. In any case, I sincerely hope the contents of the envelope aren’t time sensitive.
Incidentally, Heartless raids the Hold as soon as Nightwing decides to look into the mystery. In fact, Heartless helps Tony Zucco reprise the same robbery attempt made in Nightwing #99. Only now he upgrades from Double Dare and partners with the heart stealing psychopath Heartless. Ironically, Heartless had his own unsuccessful run in with Double Dare in Nightwing #105 in his alter-ego of “Lyle Shelton.” Putting Quartermaster’s security to the test, Heartless attacks the one-eyed fisherman in an eerie brawl. Shockingly, despite taking a blade through the chest, Heartless overpowers the old man and searches for the vault. Strangely, the ship mysteriously disappears from the cave!
By the time Nightwing arrives, Commissioner Sawyer already dispatches the bodies with the paramedics. Luckily, Oracle isn’t able to verify the identities of the men in possession of the body. As a result, Nightwing chases after the increasingly suspicious ambulance on his Nightwing branded motorbike. The chase itself is an action scene mostly concerned with showing how cool Nightwing looks on the bike. Essentially, the ambulance just speeds down a one-way and suddenly turns around, forcing Nightwing to evade. The big full page hero shot is simply just Nightwing unceremoniously jumping over a parked car! Fortunately, he does get to hit the EMTs a bit inside of the vehicle. The sequence bears much in common with Captain America: Winter Soldier’s elevator scene.
In spite of people robbing them in every appearance, Quartermaster and the Crew of The Crossed Keys have complete faith in the Hold. Part of their infamously relaxed security is a result of their faith in the consequences of stealing from them. In particular, the group relies on a mysterious enforcer called “The Captain” or “Captain Blüd.” Apart from the glaring lack of subtlety, Captain Blüd inspires the Hold’s lack of fear of heroes or villains. However, once Nightwing discovers the Captain’s identity, it isn’t unreasonable to question what the “Captain” is capable of.
In truth, the fearsome captain is actually the once lovable bartender of the Prodigal bar. Back in Nightwing’s Knight Terrors storyline, Bea was a friendly community activist. Originally, I assumed her relationship with Blüdhaven’s high and low was just a perk of being a neutral bartender. With the new reveal, her connections to the underworld may have come from another place. Possibly, she could even be Quartermaster’s dangerous daughter. Throughout the duration of the Ric era, Bea becomes a love interest and his eventual ex-girlfriend. Although she wasn’t happy with him slipping back into a life of crimefighting, she only showed support. If Bea is the most feared person in the Crew of The Crossed Keys, then her steely resolve against Talon, Joker, as well as being comfortable around the Bat Family, definitely helps to sell it. Unfortunately, it also means that she was lying to Grayson while hiding her true abilities.
- You’ve been rubbing your hands together in preparation of seeing “Ric” callbacks.
- In favor of a new swashbuckling pirate adventure.
- You’re a fan of Tom Taylor’s Nightwing.
Nightwing is a decent book. Taylor and Stephen Byrne make a good team that tells filled stories with clean, readable illustrations. The mystery of the Hold and its preternatural atmosphere gives Nightwing a unique witchy, Salem-like tone we haven’t seen very often. The actual group of pirate themed bankers haven’t lived up to the hype, which could be a side effect of the “Worf effect” backfiring. In addition, I think Heartless has a lot to prove as an antagonist as well. Although this pirate adventure is off to a rocky start, I’m looking forward to seeing where things go.
DISCLAIMER: DC Comics provided Batman News with a copy of this comic for the purpose of this review.