Graphic Novel Reviews: Nightwing 0

The Story

After Dick’s parents are murdered, he is taken in by Bruce Wayne, while the police investigate Tony Zucco. While at the Wayne Care Center, Dick goes out at night to track Zucco down himself. He comes across Batman, who he recognizes as Bruce Wayne, and Bruce starts to train him.

At first Dick works only as support, working the computer and providing inteligence for Batman. But when Batman runs afoul Lady Shiva, Dick dons the costume and goes out as Robin for the first time.

The Review
The main thing I took away from this issue is that DC seems to be doing their best to PC their characters up. One of the running jokes about Batman in the fandom is that he’s kind of a horrible human being for training a kid to fight crime. However, in this version of Dick’s origina story, Batman initially does not take him out to fight crime. Rather he trains him to help him protect himself, and then uses him as support staff to keep him out of the fight. Essentially, Dick was going out and getting into fights on his own, Batman is just doing what’s necessary to protect him. It almost feels like the central message of The Princess and the Frog, where Disney backtracks on their “Wish upon a star” philosophy. Except that DC never encouraged child endangerment, so it feels more like clarification upon a misunderstood point.

Another thing I liked was the reason for Bruce taking Dick in. Gordon specifically states that Dick is still needed in the investigation, so it makes sense for Bruce to provide a safe place to keep him. It is especially palatable when compared to the insanity of All Star Batman And Robin.

The focus given to the difference in how a similar traumatic event influenced Dick and Bruce is an excellent addition to the story. I would have enjoyed to see this explored more, as the two characters build upon each other when they are opposed in such a way.

The scene where Dick recognizes Batman as Bruce is a bit awkward. The pose alone is silly, and perhaps might have just been a split second, but frozen in time the way it is it just makes Batman look goofy. Personally I would have prefered something more subtle, something to emphasize how good Dick is at reading people, rather than making it something obvious that one would think anyone could pick up on.

The only part I explicitely didn’t like was the end, where Lady Shiva let’s Robin go. Her reasoning is as cliched as it is flawed. She let him live to see how good he would get? I’d buy it more if it hadn’t been used so often across every spectrum of fiction.

The Grade
I was entertained, and the story was consistent and made sense with itself. I can’t ask for more than that.


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