Writer: Tom King
Artist: Tony S. Daniel
Among the many Robins, Batgirls, and other members of the Bat-Family, Nightwing is by far my favorite. Unlike many other characters at DC, Nightwing has excellent character progression. Dick Grayson has done it all from crime-fighting with Batman, becoming his own hero, taking up the cowl, and even becoming a super-spy. Now usually I’m not a fan of Tom King’s Batman, but I think he has a great voice for many of the Bat-Family members. In fact, one of the highlights of his run for me was the interactions between Dick and Damien. That’s why this issue was a massive disappointment for me as a fan of Dick Grayson.
Before we get started, I have to warn you that there will be spoilers. Usually, I tend to avoid spoilers in my reviews, but there are some things in this issue that need to be discussed. I’ll also mention that I’m not a fan of King’s Batman run. I love his work on many other books including Omega Men, Grayson, and Mr. Miracle, but I can’t stand his work on the Dark Knight.
Now that my bias is out of the way, let’s talk about the issue. The premise is really simple. Batman and Nightwing swing from rooftops, stopping crime and cracking jokes. Meanwhile, the KGBeast lurks in the shadows, waiting for a moment to strike. After landing on the roof of GCPD to answer Gordon’s Bat Signal, Dick Grayson gets shot in the head (I’ll get back to this in a minute).
The dialogue in this issue beyond terrible. I often question why I feel King’s issues feel so decompressed. There are plenty of word bubbles, but I still feel like nothing happens. Then it hit me. King rarely lets Batman say anything other than “no”. Almost every single line Batman has in this issue is Batman taking what Nightwing said and telling him no. Nightwing’s dialogue isn’t pretty either. I ended up cringing at many of Nightwing’s quips, but I imagine that there are just as many people who like the banter in this issue. The dialogue in this issue is exemplary of why I don’t like King’s Batman.
Although I wasn’t a fan of the dialogue, there was one joke that worked for me in this issue. King makes a meta-joke about his repetitive dialogue which I thought was funny. I don’t think acknowledging his flaws makes his writing any better because King clearly shows in this issue that he doesn’t plan to change his writing style. Either way, it was still a line that I enjoyed.
Then there’s the whole Dick Grayson getting shot in the head thing. Wow. Since the events of Forever Evil, it seems that Dick Grayson can’t catch a break. Although nothing is 100% confirmed, there have been rumors circling that this means Dick will end up with amnesia. Whether that’s true or not, there will definitely be a status-quo change for Nightwing. Why?
I don’t see a good reason to push Nightwing in this direction. It feels like another in the line of “Batman has to be edgy and can’t be happy” stories. It would be one thing if this only affected King’s run on Batman, but it changes Dick throughout the entire DC line. Due to creative differences, Benjamin Percy, the current Nightwing writer, left the book. Dick has also been sidelined from Titans until further notice.
If there is one redeemable thing about this issue, it’s Tony Daniel’s art, but it, unfortunately, can’t save the story.
Hollow dialogue and unnecessary character developments make this issue a disappointment for both Batman and Nightwing fans.