The end of yet another era

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This month sees the end of three Batman family titles, with Nightwing being the first to go dark.  It seems fitting that of the three (Nightwing, Robin, Oracle), that Dick Grayson takes the bow, as he was the first side-kick.  With Batman “dead” (snicker-snicker, foolish citizens of the DCU), it appears the Dick is up for the task of protecting the city, but is the city ready for Dick?

nightwing153cover.jpgAs a goodbye issue, Nightwing #153 works on a couple levels and stumbles on a few others.  Dick realizes that Gotham City needs a protector, and he believes he’s up to the task.  No where in the issue does he say he will be Batman, but he realizes a crime riddled city like Gotham can’t go long without a hero before the worst of the worst come out of the woodwork and tear the city apart.  In order to make the move back to Gotham, he first needs to clear out his digs from his New York hide-away.  In a few simple panels, Peter Tomasi and Don Kramer show how many friends Dick really has, as most of the JSA arrive to clean out his living space.  I did find it odd that all of these heroes are flying in and out of a very public location, in broad daylight, without someone asking a question or two.

It’s good to see Wally West make an appearance to say goodbye to Dick too, but the Continuity Bug keeps creeping into my ear and reminding me that Wally did “retire” from being a hero when his series ended, and even though he appeared in Final Crisis, his appearance in this issue, wearing the gold and crimson, seems wrong.  Since Dick is the one stepping down as the protector of NYC, and since he does end up making the trip back to Gotham on public transportation, it would have made more sense for Dick and Wally to have their conversation in their civvies.

It is fitting that Dick’s return to Gotham just so happens to fall on the same day that Bruce Wayne’s parents were gunned down; you just gotta love how writers find just the right moment for characters to move through a story.  At home, Dick and Alfred have a few teary moments, and lament the fact that Tim seems to be unfazed by Bruce’s absence.  Tim is either in denial over the fact that he’s lost so many loved ones in a short amount of time, or he’s got Dan DiDio on speed dial and knows exactly when Bruce is going to make his return, and thus is not concerned with the trivialities of sales figures, price hikes, and title cancellations, as he’s got the inside scoop.

To honor his fallen fathers, Dick makes the trek to Crime Alley to pay homage to his adoptive father’s parents as well as his own murdered family members.  It is sweet, but readers end up revisiting that pivotal moment in both heroes lives for what seems like the millionth time.  It’s clear that Tomasi is trying to show Dick’s willingness to step into the shoes of his predecessor, but those of us that read the solicitations know the transition isn’t going to go that smoothly.

I’ve seen worse final issues, but I’ve also seen other titles that go out with a bigger bang.  Nighwing kind of ends with a “See ya next month, kids!” kind of attitude.  Instead of an ending, Nightwing #153 is the end of one chapter that leads to the beginning of of the next phase of Dick’s life.  Since the end of Infinite Crisis, Dick has drifted aimlessly through the DCU, not really finding a place that clicked for him or the readers.  Perhaps things will be better for Dick following Battle for the Cowl, but for now, Nightwing goes out with a whimper, bringing in a very ‘meh’ 2.5 Stars.

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The Author

Stephen Schleicher

Stephen Schleicher

Stephen Schleicher began his career writing for the Digital Media Online community of sites, including Digital Producer and Creative Mac covering all aspects of the digital content creation industry. He then moved on to consumer technology, and began the Coolness Roundup podcast. A writing fool, Stephen has freelanced for Sci-Fi Channel's Technology Blog, and Gizmodo. Still longing for the good ol' days, Stephen launched Major Spoilers in July 2006, because he is a glutton for punishment.

You can follow him on Twitter @MajorSpoilers and tell him your darkest secrets...

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6 Comments

  1. Craig M.
    February 20, 2009 at 12:34 am — Reply

    Something I liked was the homage to Miller’s “Year One” in Dick’s ride back to Gotham (I won’t spoil it for others unless I’m asked).

  2. Lifeisaglitch
    February 20, 2009 at 6:51 am — Reply

    Is the city ready for dick?…Is it rape if it isnt?

  3. crood
    February 20, 2009 at 8:10 am — Reply

    I understand we’ve visited Crime Alley many times before and the deaths of the Waynes and Graysons have been rehashed over and over, but it also rings true. While I’ve never lost anyone to violence I have experienced the death of someone close to me well before their time. That stays with you and it becomes a part of you. You can go on with life, but a part of you will always be the person crying by their bedside. Almost anything can trigger the memory out of the blue (once I was watching “The Parent Trap”) and bring everthing back like it was the same day.

    I guess what I’m saying is that while it may seem repetitive from a dramatic sense, it also rings very true from a human sense.

  4. Ricco
    February 20, 2009 at 9:21 am — Reply

    Something that’s been bugging me for a while now, is the whole Origins and Omens stuff a preview of the upcoming story lines only or will the titles in which they appear be part of Blackest Night?

  5. Brother129
    February 20, 2009 at 2:03 pm — Reply

    I agree….there has really been a lot of wasted potential with Dick Grayson’s character the last few years. I so wanted to invest more…but was never given a reason too. Here’s an idea: they gave Green Arrow & Black Canary a book together. Why not a book with Dick and Barbara? That would be cool.

    And Lifeisaglitch: Wow……………..

  6. Jacin B.
    February 20, 2009 at 2:10 pm — Reply

    Trivia: Per Batman Special #1 (1984), the Wayne’s were shot on June 26, ’25 years ago’ (which presumably, is 26+ years ago now, what with ‘One Year Later’ and all).

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