Review: Nightwing #1

Nightwing's plan -- such as it is -- seems hugely flawed. He's going to infiltrate the Parliament of Owls, a secret criminal society, for the sake of betraying them. Okay. But they know he's going to betray them. And Dick seems to know that the Owls know he's going to betray them. The relationship creates a fun, intriguing tension between two parties engaged in a potentially elaborate dance, each waiting for the other to show a weakness. In this issue, Dick touches base with his support system to get his father's approval. And he is denied. It's a great moment of Batman being a good bat dad. His bat resources are always at Nightwing's bat disposal, but Dick has to own any victories or failures resulting from his dumb plan. It seems like Nightwing's search for Batman's approval should have been resolved years ago. Even factoring in DC's sliding time scale, Dick Grayson is an experienced hero. Faking his death let him redefine himself. And now he's doing it again because... because. NTW_Cv1_open_order_varNightwing is learning his limitations, finding the boundaries of his competence as a solo hero. He thinks he's in control of his relationship with the Parliament of Owls, but this issue makes it clear that there's always another threat in the world of super heroics. Dick Grayson is not as in control of his life as he wants to believe.

Hopefully writer Tim Seeley can make a strong mark on this character that survives the next inevitable DC continuity wipe. That's the problem with the ephemeral nature of DC canon: character development never has enough traction to really warrant your passion. Relationships grow and regress, experiences get wiped away, and stories get retold to the point of becoming diluted. Nightwing probably shouldn't be this hung up on defining himself. You can sense it in his attitude. When approaching his "bosses" in the Parliament of Owls, Dick is all bluster and attitude. It’s a fun show, but ultimately ineffective. Naturally, the Parliament is going to try putting him in his place under their collective thumb. Issue one makes it clear that Dick gets a lot of joy from taking risks. It's entertaining. But it feels a bit like backsliding, like Dick is trying to return to a comfort zone of flippancy and thrill-seeking.

The premise for this new volume comes across as writer Tim Seeley playing around with our hero's sense of vulnerability. So, by necessity, the writing feels like it’s performing without a net. We’ll see how that works out.

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Nightwing #1 Writer: Tim Seeley Artist: Yanick Paquette Colorist: Nathan Fairbairn Publisher: DC Comics Price: $2.99 Format: Ongoing; Print/Digital