Graphic Novel Reviews: Nightwing 011

The Story

Nightwing’s fight against Paragon ends when the latter drops a clockfron on the street below. Nightwing is able to break it apart with explosives before anyone is injured. He later confronts Detective Nie, who he thinks is framing him. After his loan with the bank is denied, he goes to the batcave to work on the Strayhorn murder. A conversation with Damian helps him realize what he was missing, at the same time Detective Nie reveals to Gordon that he and Patrolman Stark, one of the cops murdered in issue one, had been in love. The issue ends with Nie being contronted by Paragon.

The Review
I don’t intend for this to be part of the marriage equality debate, or the gay rights debate. I just want to make an observation about this issue, in relation to the reveal that Alan Scott, the Earth 2 Green Lanter, is gay.

I’ve always thought that the hype surrounding the reveal of a gay character in one of the two mainstream comic universes is a bit ridiculous. It seems that anytime DC or Marvel decide to make one of their characters gay they decide to do it to such fanfare that the entire affair comes across more as a ploy for attention than a sincere attempt at being progressive.

Whatever your stance on the issue, it’s entirely possible to appreciate when it’s done right. The reveal that Detective Nie was gay caught me completely off guard because I wasn’t expecting it. Here we have an unimportant side character, someone nobody in the general public cares about, and he’s the first example I’ve seen of a homosexual character done right.

The reason I can appreciate the character in this issue is because it was done without fanfare. The reveal was given the kind of weight that kind of reveal carries in real life. It wasn’t a publicity stunt, nor was it masquerading as one. It was just a character with his own set of sexual preferences. It felt more real because it wasn’t used as a marketing tool for DC.

As far as the rest of the issue goes, Paragon is shaping to be an interesting villain. While he does fall into the trap of killing his own men, I am invested enough to want to know more about him. Not sure what I think about his weapons, at first I thought they were whips, but instead they seem to be some kind of weird hula hoop energy blades. I hope they’re explained at some point.

Speaking of weapons, why does someone who lives by a code of not killing, have grenade launchers in his gauntlets? Sure he doesn’t use them to kill, but how often does he need to blow something up that he hides explosives in his gloves? I praised the use of weapons in Batgirl but I have to dock some points from Nightwing for falling into the fathomless weapon rack trap Batman comics tend to.

Damian’s role in the story was fun. I enjoy how the way he interacts with Dick, it harkens back to the pre-New 52 Batman and Robin. Seeing the two characters still get along is a lot of fun, and it makes me anticipate Damians eventual attack on him all the more.

Dick’s reaction to the news about the bank was a bit odd. It felt less like a scene driven by how he would normally act, and more like something that the plot dictated at the time. I’m still curious to see where his attempt to get funding will go, but out of all the scenes in this book I have to rank it the lowest. But it’s one flawed scene in an issue of great scenes, so it’s only a minor problem.

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