After a drawn out conflict with Raptor and team-up with Superman it is time for Nightwing to rediscover his roots. For the first time since Infinite Crisis is going to set up a base of operation in Bludhaven. While the city is a familiar location for fans this will be the first time Nightwing sets foot in Bludhaven in the new continuity created by Flashpoint and New 52. Will Nightwing have a good welcoming to his new home? Or will things only get worse for the former Boy Wonder? Let’s find out with Nightwing #10.
Writer: Tim Seeley
Artist: Marcus To
Colorist: Chris Sotomayor
Story Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10
Art Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 7.5 Night Girls out of 10
Synopsis: On Gotham City’s rooftops Batgirl finds Robin practicing his call to action for the Teen Titans. Batgirl asks Robin how he has been doing as she hasn’t seen him since Tim Drake’ funeral. Robin compliments Tim on dying honorably.
Batgirl then asks if he has heard from Nightwing lately. Robin brings up how Nightwing told him how Batgirl left the impression that she didn’t want to know anything about Nightwing following their adventures in Norway. Robin does reveal that Nightwing ended up going south of Gotham City, while Batman watches the conversation from the side.
In Bludhaven a store manager is speaking on the phone with someone about how he can’t believe how suddenly the city wants to become a family friendly destination. The bell for the back door rings much to the guy’s annoyance. When the guy goes to check on who is at the door he is suddenly dragged away, leaving his phone behind.
The next day Dick Grayson is interviewing for a volunteer position at The Haven Community Center. Shawn Tsang, The Haven’s Director, wonders why Dick would move from Gotham City to Bludhaven and apply for a volunteer position.
Dick answers the question by admitting he wants to trust people again, rediscovering his ability to see the light within darkness again. He then mentions his recent run-in with Raptor and how he didn’t listen to those close to him about how Raptor operated in a gray area. He goes on to say that trust he had in Raptor led to people being killed. That experience led him to rediscover himself and his trust in others.
All of this ends up being in Dick’s head, in reality he tells Shawn that the city’s campaign slogan worked on him. Shawn reveals that she knows all about Dick’s past including his time as a Flying Graysons and being taken in by Bruce Wayne. She admits that Dick’s past makes him qualified for the position and offers him the volunteer job.
Just as Dick accepts the offer a guy name James Nice walks in to interrupt. James offers to show Dick the nightlife in Bludhaven but Dick says he isn’t into the nightlife scene.
After Dick leaves, James talks to Shawn about needing people to wear their costumes tonight. While Shawn isn’t sure about it James tells her that another woman named Grace didn’t think it was a good idea to confront her monster, which lead it to consume her. James goes on to say that the difference between them and Grace is that they have each other to face those same monsters.
At Dick’s new apartment he starts unboxing all his stuff and decorating his new place. While looking through one of his boxes Dick thinks how he needs to rediscover his hobbies.
That night, Dick spends his time reading books and comics (including Robin Hood: Rebirth #1) and binge watching a TV show that he ends up talking to Roy Harper (Arsenal) about. After 10 minutes of doing all of this Dick becomes bored of staying in.
At the Bludhaven’s Mayor’s office Mayor Madrigal yells at his Tourism Board for failing to attract people to visit the city for the casinos. Cherry, one of the board members, says that their social media campaigns have been well-received. Madrigal counters by saying that while well-received it has not changed people’s minds in thinking they aren’t safe to visit Bludhaven. He gives the board an ultimatum to bring in tourists or be fired.
Back at Dick’s apartment, he hears the police sirens outside his place and decides to go check out what is going on as Nightwing.
Nightwing is able to figure out where the cops are going through his domino mask’s police scanner. When he arrives at the location Nightwing is attacked by Gorilla Grimm. Nightwing is able to quickly subdue Gorilla Grimm just as the police arrive.
Gorilla Grimm tries to explain that he has been framed and didn’t commit any crime. Before Nightwing can get any further answers the police arrest Gorilla Grimm and begin to escort him away.
One of the cops tells Nightwing to move on because they don’t deal with mask-types in Bludhaven.
Gorilla Grimm breaks away from the cops and runs up to Nightwing. He tells Nightwing to ask Shawn Tsang about how he has been setup.
The police shock Gorilla Grimm from behind and take him away, leaving Nightwing behind stunned at what Grimm just said.
At the Tourism Board office Cherry is talking to someone about needing a new hook to their marketing campaign. When she looks at her TV she sees the news report about Nightwing moving into the city. She then tells the guy on the phone that they can use their city’s new superhero for their marketing campaign.
At The Haven, Shawn is in her office psyching herself up while changing into her costume. Nightwing sneaks up on her and he recognizes the costume being that of the Defacer. End of issue.
The Good: The “Welcome To Bludhaven” is not just a tagline used for the cover of Nightwing #10. It is very much a call for a fresh start for Dick Grayson as the person and superhero moving forward. This is where Tim Seeley and Marcus To succeed at most of all as we are presented a new location in Bludhaven filled with possibilities. Those possibilities perfectly translate to what Nightwing needs.
Seeley cleverly uses Nightwing #10 as a new start for the character as we are introduced to the new version of Bludhaven. This allowed us to take a step back from all the crazy international adventures Nightwing has had in this series and previously in Grayson to find out who he is in and out of the mask. And it is easy to forget this fact since, as readers, we have only seen Dick Grayson mostly as Nightwing, Batman or superspy Grayson almost a decade.
By taking a step back Seeley is able to finally bring Nightwing back down to Earth to realize that he really has been only playing superhero for several years. In doing so he has lost what it means to be Dick Grayson. This set-up is a perfect way for us to get behind why Nightwing would suddenly is looking to make Bludhaven his home base.
Making that transition to searching for who Dick Grayson work even more is the new characters we are introduced to in Nightwing #10. It would’ve been easy for Seeley to bring in familiar characters like the civilian personas of Blockbuster, Nite-Wing and Tarantula into the mix. But instead of just going down that familiar route to draw on Nightwing fans nostalgia Seeley goes for something new. By going down this route he leaves the series open to introduce those characters along with new characters introduced in this issue.
The new characters also work in the new Atlantic City-vibe that Bludhaven now has. Instead of just being a smaller Gotham City, Seeley has given Bludhaven that can be standout among cities in the DC Universe. At the same time, in taking on an Atlantic City/Las Vegas look to Bludhaven the setting can still portray the classic corrupt politicians and police that a city with strong ties to the mafia that places like this are known for. In this way Nightwing is able to get what he wants as he is in a familiar setting that can still be made all its own.
The other part of this new Bludhaven that will help make it Nightwing’s is the fact that the police department do not like mask vigilantes. This is something that Kyle Higgins played with back when Nightwing went to Chicago. Just like during that time period, this attitude by the police allows Nightwing the opportunity to be the one to establish a relationship with the city’s law enforcement. This element continues the theme of how much work Nightwing has ahead of him to make Bludhaven his home.
To compliment everything that Dick Grayson went through in rediscovering his personal life is a peak at what the Batman Family think of the move. Seeley does a great job in this short scene showcasing Dick’s relationship with Damian, Barbara and Bruce. With Damian we get to see him continue to act as that annoying little brother of sorts that likes to make fun of what others don’t know. Barbara’s reacton of Damian looking for info on what Dick is up to was great.
Marcus To’s artwork was spot on throughout this issue. With the story heavily involving Nightwing getting accustomed to his new home there wasn’t much room for action sequences. But even without much action to draw To does a great job bringing Bludhaven to life. The city has a slimy feel within all the bright casino lights, not unlike Las Vegas or Atlantic City. He also does a great job with how he shows Dick Grayson’s struggle to rediscover what he should be doing outside his Nightwing adventures. There were a few good laughs at how Dick struggled to boredom from everything he tried to do at his new apartment.
The Bad: The one spot where Nightwing #10 stumbles is with how the supporting cast is established. Instead of using the first few characters that Nightwing meets in his personal life be people that can help ground him Seeley goes straight into how they have unknown pasts or personas we don’t know about. Going in this direction feels out of place with everything else Seeley was looking to establish with Bludhaven becoming Nightwing’s new home.
In going with this direction it makes Bludhaven feel like yet another stop in Nightwing’s globetrotting adventures as he isn’t a character allowed to have a personal life. For this new direction to be successful there needs to be characters that are part of Dick Grayson’s supporting cast not Nightwing. There is a big difference between the two and by not allowing the latter keeps Dick from finding the personal life he is looking to build. Hopefully that is rectified as this new arc moves forward.
Overall: Nightwing #10 was a strong introduction to the new version of Bludhaven that is located in this DC Universe. Tim Seeley lays the groundwork for a city brimmed with opportunity to become Nightwing’s new stomping grounds outside of Gotham City. The issue is hurt by how the supporting cast we’ve been introduced to so far were portrayed. Even with that slight disappointment Seeley writing along with Marcus To’s visually appealing artwork makes Nightwing #10 a worthwhile read for fans of Dick Grayson.