Nightwing #9 Review


As big of a fan that I was of the Grayson ongoing it has been great to have Dick Grayson return to the classic blue and black Nightwing costume. With Tim Seeley continuing on as writer of Nightwing the series has been able to continue the character development from the Grayson series. That character development worked nicely into the whole conflict with Raptor and Court of Owls that just ended. Now that Nightwing is able to move on from his initial goal accomplished we are able to move on to what comes next. And for this series what we are getting next is the first team-up of Nightwing and the pre-Flashpoint Superman. How will this team-up turn out? Let’s find out with Nightwing #9.

Writer: Tim Seeley

Artist: Marcio Takara

Colorist: Marcello Maiolo

Story Rating: 9 Night Girls out of 10

Art Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10

Overall Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10

Synopsis: In the middle of an unknown city the Titans are fighting a giant robot. After they take down the robot Nightwing spots someone in the shadows running away. The Titans chase the mysterious person into a warehouse. Dr. Destiny suddenly appears and uses his powers to make robots appear behind Flash, Donna Troy and Arsenal. The robots then kill the three heroes in front of Nightwing.

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Dick Grayson suddenly wakes up inside Titans Loft in Gotham City. Dick goes to check to see if his friends are okay and sees that Flash, Donna and Arsenal are playing pool downstairs.

Dick returns to his room thinking back to recent events including the deaths of Tim Drake and Superman. As he thinks back to how Superman inspired him to take on the Nightwing identity the pre-Flashpoint Superman appears outside his window.

An hour later, at the Fortress of Solitude, Superman says he is glad that Nightwing trusted him enough to come to the Fortress with him given his rocky relationship with Batman. Nightwing says he was good friends with the previous Superman and is too tired to understand the alternate universe thing at the moment.

Superman reveals to Nightwing that he has been secretly monitoring the similarities and difference between the pre- and post-Flashpoint universes. As he shows Nightwing images of Superboy-Prime, Doomsday, Sun Eater and other characters Superman says he has done all this to keep an eye on others from his universe that may make it to the current one.

Superman goes on to say that recently he found two signatures of materioptikon, a weapon used by Dr. Destiny. Nightwing notices that the Dr. Destiny that Superman has images of is a lot less frightening than the one he saw in his dream.  Superman then reveals that the signatures he found were coming from ARGUS and Nightwing’s mind, which is why he is going to help him.

Nightwing wonders why Superman is going to help him. Superman says that the Dick Grayson he knew was one of his oldest friends and that since Nightwing shared the same relationship with the post-Flashpoint Superman that he wants to help him.

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Superman puts himself and Nightwing in machines that will allow them both to access the dreams that Nightwing has been having. As he does this Nightwing makes a snarky joke which reminds Superman of the humor of the Dick Grayson he knew. Nightwing tells Superman goodnight even though Superman request to be called Clark.

Inside Nightwing’s dream Helena and Tiger yell at him to play volleyball with them. Superman tells Nightwing to go along with the dream as it was normal so they can notice if anything strange occurs.

As Nightwing conducts a serve Dr. Destiny and his robots attack. Nightwing tries to fight them but goes through the robots and watches them kill Tiger in front of him. Superman notices that with each dream-kill Dr. Destiny’s materioptikon is getting stronger.

Superman and Nightwing struggle to fight off Dr. Destiny’s robots as they seem to be weaker than their normal selves. Superman suggests they move to firmer ground to regain control.

After grabbing Nightwing, Superman transports the two of them to the rooftops of Bludhaven. Nightwing does not recognize the city. Superman reveals that Bludhaven was once the home of the Nightwing from his universe.

As they watch Batman training Robin and Batgirl the robots they were fighting attack the three. Nightwing quickly rushes to defend his family with Superman behind him. Superman is quickly pinned down by one of the robots using kryptonite on him.

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As Nightwing struggles to help his family he is suddenly transported to a graveyard filled graves of everyone he knows. Dr. Destiny using this as an opportunity to attack a vulnerable Nightwing and throws him around the graveyard.

Superman appears and reminds Nightwing that he is still able to control things in his own mind to still see the people he loves. Inspired by Superman’s words, Nightwing is able to have Red Robin (Tim Drake) and the Superman he knew appears to help him fight Dr. Destiny off. Dr. Destiny begins mutating just as Nightwing happily reunites with Red Robin and Superman.

Nightwing just smiles at Dr. Destiny’s new form as he is able to have the rest of the BatFamily, Justice League and Titans appear to help him out. With all of his friends there to help him out Nightwing and Superman are able to defeat the dreamscape Dr. Destiny.

Elsewhere at a Kobra facility Dr. Destiny, who is strapped into machines, is being overwhelmed by his experience in Nightwing’s dream. Nightwing and Superman suddenly appear and take out all the Kobra members in the facility.

Sometime later the Justice League helps clean up the scene and take Dr. Destiny and Kobra into custody. Cyborg is able to figure out that Kobra was using Dr. Destiny to steal information from Nightwing’s mind after what he did to their organization while promising Destiny to restore him to full power with the dreamstone. Batman commends Nightwing on taking down Kobra and begrudgingly thanks Superman as well.

Nightwing is believes that is Batman giving Superman some acknowledgement. Superman credits that to the “Nightwing Bump.” Nightwing wonders what that is. Superman explains that no matter what universe it is Dick Grayson vouching for someone is worth its weight in gold and that Nightwing is the least changed from everyone he knows in this universe.

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Superman starts to take off back to Metropolis and offers Nightwing a ride home. Nightwing says he is taking the Batplane home and thanks Clark for the offer.

Batman reappears and asks if Nightwing is ready to go. Nightwing says he is and asks Batman to make a stop in Bludhaven as Superman flies away. End of issue.

The Good: After spending the first eight issues involved in the Raptor storyline and Night of the Monster Men crossover it’s nice to have a one-shot style story to read. While one-shots can normally be forgettable Tim Seeley took the time to take a step back and to analyze who Dick Grayson is. And given recent events in his life, both to him and those he was close to, this was a great choice before moving on to the next big storyline.

Brining in the pre-Flashpoint Superman, who was recently brought back, is a smart move to continue Dick Grayson’s character development. Not only does Superman represent one of Nightwing’s closest relationships in the superhero community but also a reminder of the loss of someone he looked up to. The New 52 version of Superman will never go down as my favorite version of the character but he was still just as respect by the characters living in the current DC Universe as other versions of him. And Seeley is able to establish that respect by reminding us that Dick’s Nightwing persona still has its origins in the story Superman told him.

While some of this exposition may have felt like a rehash to some it was an important thing to establish right away. It’s an instant reminder of all the adventures Dick had as Robin and Nightwing with Superman without having to flashback to those stories. In doing so Seeley is able to explore something that we haven’t had much of which is reaction to the death of the New 52 Superman. This mourning of New 52 Superman was well executed in conjunction with Tim Drake’s “death.”  These two deaths are reminders of how important Nightwing’s connections are to him compared to other characters.

This part of Nightwing’s current state of mind made the actual interactions with pre-Flashpoint Superman even more important. Because here was a guy who looks and acts similar to the person he knew but isn’t the same version. By having Nightwing place his trust in this version of Superman works well to highlighting the importance in the character’s connections with others. And seeing Batman begrudgingly thank Superman at the end of the issue speaks to this part of Nightwing.

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Seeley also does a great job in furthering the character development of Superman. By having Superman reveal his work in investigating the similarities and difference between the pre- and post-Flashpoint DC Universe you can see how he is trying to re-establish the connection he has always shared with Nightwing. It’s one of the few times we have seen Superman actually seeking to regain that connection instead of allowing the trust to be re-built naturally, like he has done with his Justice League teammates.

And it was fun to see Superman acting as a mentor to Nightwing and reminding him that it’s his connections that make him strong. This provided a good arc for both Nightwing and Superman as we did open with Nightwing not addressing him as Clark. Ending the issue on Nightwing calling Superman by his name showed us how everything they went through while fighting Dr. Destiny was important to Nightwing.

Speaking of Dr. Destiny, I loved how Seeley used the character here. Not only did he force Nightwing to confront his biggest fears but it also highlighted how this DCU is different from previous version. Superman mentioning how Dr. Destiny is one of the characters that has been changed thanks to whatever happened when continuity got rocked continues the story we got in DC Rebirth. It also gives the character an upgrade in power without having to go into any more detail. And personally, I liked this scarier Dr. Destiny than the Skeletor-like version of the character.

Marcio Takara does a very good job filing in for Javier Fernandez in Nightwing #9. Takara does such a good job that I didn’t even realize someone else was the artist of this issue until I took a look at the credits. I liked Takara’s style as he was able to convey the desperation Nightwing felt when he saw his friends in danger while in his dreams. Takara handled the transition from desperation to hope very well after Superman gave Nightwing a pep talk.

The Bad: This is a nitpicking thing on my part but I did not like learning that this version of Nightwing doesn’t have history in Bludhaven. With Seeley having Superman preach about how Nightwing is the least changed character in the new DCU this is a part that left me doubting that a bit. Because Nightwing’s time in Bludhaven is very important part of the character’s history. And since we already know that everything from his time in the Teen Titans and Batman still exist this seems like a head scratching changed.

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It’s a change that diminishes my excitement for Nightwing’s return to Bludhaven. Because instead of having Nightwing discover how things have changed in Bludhaven since he has been away it is all going to unfamiliar to him. This takes away any connections, something that was important to Nightwing #9’s story, that he had and just hits the reset button.

Overall: Nightwing #9 is a great one-shot story that helps reconnect our hero with Superman. Tim Seeley does an excellent job using Superman to highlight what makes Nightwing a special character within the DC Universe. And Dr. Destiny was a great opponent to enhance Superman’s involvement while also tackling some of the loss Nightwing has suffered in his life recently. If you haven’t picked up this series I highly recommend picking up Nightwing #9. This is a great launching off point for new readers to start with.