By Shawn Perry
Spinning out of the events of Forever Evil the final issue of Nightwing serves as an introduction to the new status quo Dick Grayson finds himself in the on-going series Grayson by Tim Seely and Tom King. It looks like the boy wonder is finally becoming his own man.
Nightwing #30 is the final issue of the series and fills the gap between the events of Forever Evil and the upcoming Grayson. The issue marks the first collaboration by Grayson scribes Tim Seely and Tom King. For my money, while far from perfect, the issue does a fine job setting up the new direction for my favorite character in comics.
[*Mild spoilers for Nightwing #30 below!]
For those not in the know, because of the events of Forever Evil the world knows Dick Grayson is Nightwing…or rather, that he was before he died. While we do not see a funeral we do see Alfred mourning so its safe to assume everyone thinks he died at the hands of the Crime Syndicate. While that gives necessary credence to Dick being off the grid, so to speak, it seems an unnecessary cruelty for Bruce to give Alfred another son to mourn considering how many secrets he has successfully kept for him over the years.
The body of the issue takes place in the Batcave where Bruce gives Dick a long-winded explanation why he needs to remain publicly dead…while the two have a gratuitously-long, shirtless brawl heavy on property damage and fan-fiction possibilities.
While I did enjoy parts of the fight, particularly when we see Dick man up and score the knockout punch, it felt over-dramatic and unnecessary. Come on Bruce, this is a serious moment, you're asking him to lie to everyone he knows to become a secret agent – do you really need to be punching him as well? That said, I'll admit I got chills when he calls back to the "why do we fall?" refrain from the Christopher Nolan films and Dick takes off his mask and gives his own answer. That moment, along with what that ends the fight, makes me think this is the start of something special for the character. As a long-time fan, I always felt the relationship with Bruce has been a bit overbearing and this moment can serve as the start of him finally becoming his own man.
After Dick has agreed to take down Spyral from the inside the fun really starts. The team of Mikel Janin and Gillermo Ortego give us a preview of Dick's first adventures sans-mask with the perfect blend of deceptively light tones and smooth texture amidst fast-paced action. I also enjoyed hearing Dick internalize his motivations in a way tha felt organic and true to the character. At the end of the issue, he meets Helena Bertinelli who will serve as his introduction to Spyral. As Rich Johnston discussed earlier on this site, this issue marks her first appearance in the New 52.
She appears in the first part of the issue as well, brought to life by the rich pencils of Javier Garron, and appears to share a lot of the characteristics of the original Huntress, including; wild dark hair, a crossbow and no moral qualms with killing people with it. She also, apparently, prefers unbuttoned shirts even when running through the Congo.
At the end of the issue she serves as Dick's introduction into Spyral, the spy organization at the center of the new series, so I suspect we will be seeing a lot more of them together in future issues of Grayson. The original Huntress was Dick's bad girl hook-up in the original DCU and while things did not get as weird as they did with Tarantula, which turned out a lot like a recent issue of Invincible, I suspect a frenemies-with-benefits situation will blossom sooner rather than later.
All in all, as a long-time fan of the character, I have never been more excited to see what happens next and I think this issue does a great job of setting up Grayson. While I loved what Kyle Higgins did with his run, I think taking off the mask for a while will flesh him out for a new generation and make him a more interesting character. It should make for great drama when everyone inevitably discovers that he is alive, particularly Batgirl, and if they find him a little rougher around edges it will give him some dissonance to explore.
So while I don't think for a second that Dick will remain in this new status quo for good, I do think he is headed for some great stories in Grayson that will make him and a return to the mask mean that much more long-term.
Shawn Perry is a comic book and film enthusiast striving to be here now. He currently resides in East Hartford, Connecticut. Tweet him @thesperry, follow his blog at http://shawnsthoughtsonstuff.blogspot.com/ and email him at Shawn.Perry88@gmail.com.