The end of yet another era
This month sees the end of three Batman family titles, with Nightwing being the first to go dark.Â It seems fitting that of the three (Nightwing, Robin, Oracle), that Dick Grayson takes the bow, as he was the first side-kick.Â With Batman â€œdeadâ€ (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?
As a goodbye issue, Nightwing #153 works on a couple levels and stumbles on a few others.Â Dick realizes that Gotham City needs a protector, and he believes heâ€™s up to the task.Â No where in the issue does he say he will be Batman, but he realizes a crime riddled city like Gotham canâ€™t go long without a hero before the worst of the worst come out of the woodwork and tear the city apart.Â In order to make the move back to Gotham, he first needs to clear out his digs from his New York hide-away.Â 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.Â 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.
Itâ€™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 â€œretireâ€ 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.Â 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 Dickâ€™s return to Gotham just so happens to fall on the same day that Bruce Wayneâ€™s parents were gunned down; you just gotta love how writers find just the right moment for characters to move through a story.Â At home, Dick and Alfred have a few teary moments, and lament the fact that Tim seems to be unfazed by Bruceâ€™s absence.Â Tim is either in denial over the fact that heâ€™s lost so many loved ones in a short amount of time, or heâ€™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 heâ€™s got the inside scoop.
To honor his fallen fathers, Dick makes the trek to Crime Alley to pay homage to his adoptive fatherâ€™s parents as well as his own murdered family members.Â It is sweet, but readers end up revisiting that pivotal moment in both heroes lives for what seems like the millionth time.Â Itâ€™s clear that Tomasi is trying to show Dickâ€™s willingness to step into the shoes of his predecessor, but those of us that read the solicitations know the transition isnâ€™t going to go that smoothly.
Iâ€™ve seen worse final issues, but Iâ€™ve also seen other titles that go out with a bigger bang.Â Nighwing kind of ends with a â€œSee ya next month, kids!â€ kind of attitude.Â Instead of an ending, Nightwing #153 is the end of one chapter that leads to the beginning of of the next phase of Dickâ€™s life.Â 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.Â 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 â€˜mehâ€™ 2.5 Stars.