No more baby booties for this Boy Wonder!
JD reviews Nightwing #0!

Title: Nightwing 0
Plot: Tom Defalco/Kyle Higgins
Pencils: Eddy Barrows
Inks: Eber Ferreira
Colors: Rod Reis
Published by DC Comics
Reviewed by Johnny Destructo

The memories my muddy brain can still conjure of my 4 color childhood are rife with Robins. Yea Batman had the indignant brooding and the hot women, but gawd-demmit, the DC marketing bastids got it right. Those ridiculously loud, targeting beacon colors just spoke to me. Tim Drake, Dick Grayson, Jason Todd, it didn’t matter. I enjoyed all of their stories equally. Even to this day, if asked, I would say I’d rather be Nightwing then Batman. Despite having a similar origin story, Dick still has a personality. He has an identity waiting when the mask comes off, while for Bruce, there is only…the bat.

Now, since we have all discussed ad nauseam how improbable the 4 Robin thing seems ever since this new DCnU, I’m just going to forgo ad-ding more nauseam and get to the fact that this Nightwing series has been the tits! There is a consistency to the character of Dick Grayson that finally makes him feel like a real person. For some reason, in the past, it was difficult for me to think of Dick-Robin being the same person as Nightwing, but lately, with the writing, matched with the outstanding art by Eddy Barrows, Dick feels like a perpetual motion machine. He almost seems like a Flash, what with the way he’s always in action. And I love the way the team has brought him back to his roots, quite literally, with Haly’s circus! The only thing missing is a consistent love interest, but I’m sure that’s on the horizon.

In this 0 issue, we actually do have an origin story that really isn’t all that different from what we’ve seen in the past, but this time peppered with tasty little enhancements. My favorite addition is the emphasis on Dick’s innate ability to “read” his surroundings and other people. Using people’s stance, balance and body language he’s able to piece certain things together. I feel like this is a talent that can be explored even further. It seems that sort of ability would make it very difficult for people to lie to him, for instance.

Another change that I’ve noticed since the reboot-ening is the difference in the costumes of the Flying Graysons. When I was growing up, Dick and his family were clad in get-ups that wound up inspiring his costume choice when becoming Robin. He was using the garish colors of his circus uniform as the basis, to be a constant reminder and homage to his past life. In the New 52 however, they all wear the Nightwing uniform, giant 70’s collar and all. It just seems like a strange and arbitrary change to make. It was a nice touch to have Robins be his mother’s favorite bird though.

The rest of his family’s time together goes pretty much as it has in the past. Tony Zucco ka-snips the wires and mommy and daddy Grayson hit the dirt. Hard. Dick winds up with Bruce because the police “need to stash him someplace safe” and the rest is history. Now I don’t quite remember how Dick originally found out that Bruce was Batman, but I do like that due to his aforementioned ability to read people, he figures it out on his own. This is something that Tim Drake would later figure out while watching television, but I think it’s appropriate. Any kid who is going to be diving in front of bullets for Bats SHOULD be able to deduce his identity so it just seems right.

Another shard of substructure that I appreciate is the realization that while Bats did help set Dick on his path, he is a vastly different person than Bruce. There is a poignant scene here where Dick starts to realize that he is already healing from his parents premature departure. He’s already dealing with it and moving on, not letting it warp and control his life. Here, Dick looks back and realizes he was always destined, or at least interested in doing his own thing. Being a sidekick was just a stepping stone to becoming his own man, his own hero. And I’ve gotta say, he’s off to a great start! There’s something to be said for compressed storytelling these days, but I could have stood this being a 4 issue mini-series to dive even deeper in the psyche of Richard Grayson and his AWESOME new Robin Costume! I almost totally forgot to mention it! Man! That is a great new old costume. Gone are the booties and the underoos, in lieu of Kevlar and armor. I think something is missing in the center of his chest though. It’s pretty peripherally heavy, and there isn’t anything weighing it down in the middle, visually. I think the yellow stitching down the center could have stayed, but otherwise, this is a really snazzy update. That goes for the entire issue, actually. Really Snazzy Update.

JD can be found hosting the PopTards Podcast, discussing movies, comics and other flimflam over at www.poptardsgo.com, graphically designing/illustrating/inking for a living, and Booking his Face off at http://www.facebook.com/jaydotdeedot. Follow his twitter @poptardsgo. His talkback name is PopTard_JD

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