Graphic Novel Reviews: Nightwing 001-007

Nightwing is one of those books that aggravates my sense that nothing makes sense in the DC universe anymore. According to this series Dick was Batman for a while. So that happened. So Final Crisis happened. That just makes things more confusing! Are we ignoring everything that came before, or just a few things!?

When Dick returns to being Nightwing, he decides he needs to get out of Gotham for a while. A chance for this provides itself when the owner of Dick’s childhood circus home dies, leaving the circus to Dick. At the same time he finds himself hounded by an assasssin named Saiko, who claims that Nightwing is a murderer. What follows is a series that doesn’t really go anywhere until the very end, where it connects with the Court of Owls story in the Batman book.

Each issue is in a new local, but besides the Saiko mystery there isn’t much connecting the individual issues. It almost feels like the series started out with an idea, but then had to stall for time until it could connect with the Court of Owls storyline.

This was actually one of the first series I picked up, and while I enjoyed it for the first few issues, I soon grew bored. I think it was around issue five, with the story focused around a character we neither knew, nor cared about, getting some backstory and a demon sent after him by a jilted lover. There was obviously history there, but we were never given more than a handful of information. I was not impressed.

While a character needs to be strong to support their own book, I think that Nightwing is a great example of the main weakness of modern superhero books. Every main character needs a good supporting cast. But what do you do when you have a character that has been around for decades, who needs a new supporting cast. Well, obviously Dick has an existing supporting cast. Bruce, Tim, Barbara, Damian, Alfred, etc. All these people have been with him for years. All of them are characters we know and love. So why can’t we read about them?

What do we get instead? A bunch of nobodies from the circus. Rather than waste our time with characters we know won’t survive a few more years (personally I liked Selina’s supporting cast in her book, but none of them are around anymore), we should have Dick interacting with the cast we already like. I think the problem is that all these characters are both main characters, and each others’ supporting cast. But I can’t help but feel that if all the books were consolidated into one, it wouldn’t be impossible to let them all be supporting cast for each other, while still having their time in the spotlight as main characters. It would certainly be better than putting up with characters we don’t care about, and won’t care about because they won’t last.

Which makes this not so much a review of Nightwing but more a commentary on current comics in general. Sorry about that, but there really isn’t all that much to say about Nightwing. It’s a good series, but not that memorable. And I can’t help but think about the general flaws of the comic publishing industry in America.

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