Writer: Tim Seeley
Artist: Marcus To
Colorist: Chris Sotomayor
Letters: Carlos M. Mangual
It’s been a strange adventure following the exploits of Dick Grayson over the past few years. For a time it seemed that every event DC orchestrated was going to culminate with his death but as they concluded Dick was always alive and well. Grant Morrison showed him some love by teaming him with Damian Wayne and placing him in the cape and cowl of Batman in Batman & Robin. But Bruce returned and Dick retreated to the background again and floundered around at the beginning of the New 52 before giving up the mask all together and becoming Super Spy Dick Grayson in the wonderful Grayson by Tim Seeley, Tom King, and Mikel Janin. As good as it was I never bought into the premise of Grayson but it was a fun read with on of the best tag lines (You Don’t Know Dick) and it returned the Midnighter to his proper form yet it wasn’t what I wanted. I wanted my classic Dick Grayson, the original Boy Wonder, who grew up to become Nightwing. Thankfully DC Rebirth has given this to me.
Nightwing #14 wraps up the Bludhaven storyline that saw Dick return to the city that makes a trip to Gotham look like a nice vacation. Like many longtime fans when I saw Bludhaven as the title of this arc I got excited. Those of you who don’t know Bludhaven was the home to many of the adventures in the first Nightwing series launched by Chuck Dixon and Scott McDaniel, which DC has thankfully been reprinting over the past year. Therefore this arc felt like a homecoming for longtime Nightwing fans and it has been a long time coming. Since its Rebirth beginning Nightwing has been enjoyable yet lacking a true direction. It felt more like it was a wrapping up dangling plot threads, such as the Court of Owls story that spun out of the Robin War crossover from last year. Then he got roped into the Night of the Monster Men crossover but finally Nightwing has become a true Nightwing book.
I really enjoyed Nightwing #14 and the entire Bludhaven arc as a whole. Tim Seeley, who has been guiding Dick Grayson’s adventures since Grayson, has a very good grasp of Dick and his motivations as a hero. Dick always seems to be behind the 8 Ball and this issue is no different. Dick is continuing to work with his former villains support group, the Run-Offs, to prove the innocence of two old advisories, Defacer and Gorilla Grimm, while battling corruption all the way, literally, to the top of City Hall. To solve the case Nightwing must also team up with an apparent female version of Harvey Bullock, Detective Svoboda, who is a cigar chomping rough around the edges Bludhaven detective who also happens to be the only city official who believes in the innocence of Defacer and Gorilla Grimm. I liked the Svoboda character and hope she shows up in the future. I also enjoyed how much Bludhaven police hate vigilantes, a striking dichotomy to how Gotham cops revere Batman. The big reveal of the villain wasn’t a huge shock but under Seeley’s pen it was a satisfying conclusion to this arc and set up several new avenues for Dick to travel down and as a longtime Dick Grayson fan I am excited for what the future holds.
Marcus To’s artwork is energetic enough to work for Nightwing. There are a lot of action and acrobatic scenes and To does a nice job of showing Nightwing’s skill set. I first noticed his artwork years ago on the Red Robin series and enjoyed it there. His work has evolved since then as it has softened and the action scenes are more fluid, which works for a character like Nightwing. I personally have enjoyed the Javier Fernandez’s issues of Nightwing but with a bi-weekly schedule I would not be disappointed to see Marcus To’s artwork in the future as one of the rotating artists.
Verdict: If you’re a fan of the original Robin and have followed his evolution to become Nightwing then Buy. Nightwing is returning to form under Tim Seeley who has been guiding Dick Grayson’s career for the past few years but he really has a handle on who Dick is as a man and Nightwing is as a hero. If you’ve missed Nightwing then get back on board as Nightwing is back in the best of ways.