Nightwing Rebirth #1 served as a bridge between the New 52 spy series, Grayson, and the role that Dick finds himself returning to in the DC Rebirth. No longer an agent of Spyral, Dick Grayson dons the blue bird again – arguably his most celebrated role in the Bat-Family. As long as the character is handled as passionately as he has been in the past, this return to form should be one of many wonderful things happening the Rebirth of DC Comics.
Nightwing #1 begins with a well-crafted internal monologue from Dick, catching new readers up on his past swiftly while reminding the longtime fans why they love the character. Nightwing is working undercover for the Parliament of Owls, who are under the impression that Damian Wayne’s life is in their hands as leverage over the acrobatic hero. He does some errand running of sorts for the Owls, but refuses to play it their way and murder people. His arrogance and refusal of their total influence pushes them to assign him a partner, a mysterious and powerful foe named Raptor.
Before embarking on a new mission and meeting his new associate, Dick pays a visit to a few fellow Bat-Family members. While meeting Bruce, Damian, and Barbara, Dick refreshes the reader on where he is mentally in his life and showcases plenty of his wit, skills, and even flashes a couple smiles before meeting Raptor. Nightwing’s new comrade does some spying of his own and breaks down Dick’s flaws before unleashing a brutal beating. Raptor tells our hero that he’s distracted and knows nothing before claiming “everything Batman taught you is wrong” – a tight ending to the first chapter of “Better Than Batman”.
Tim Seeley was a perfect choice for the new era of Nightwing, having proved with Grayson that he understands this character and passionately expresses it. For many readers, Dick Grayson is the member of the Bat-Family we can relate to the most. Many grew up with him as our childhood Robin, and progressed into adulthood as he moved on to become Nightwing. Seeley flawlessly translates everything that makes the character so important to the universe. Starting with the circus act, through the Bat-experience, to his love for Babs, and into the unknown. This is a perfect entry point for new readers and a celebration of the character Nightwing. Dick’s examination of the Parliament of Owls and miscommunication with Barbara showcase his light approach to a dark world while also illustrating the deep love Seeley clearly has for the character.
Nightwing #1 is also a gorgeous collection of art – not a bad panel in the bunch. Nightwing is one of the most colorful characters to emerge from Gotham’s dark setting, and this book visits familiar dark places and shines a light on it where necessary; which is exactly what Dick Grayson does. The newly designed Nightwing costume is delightful, an instant favorite of mine. All of Dick’s acrobatic flash in his fighting and movement are illustrated with a fun fluidity and are never overbearing. The new character, Raptor, is also a very interesting design that stands on its own and doesn’t borrow much from other Bat-Family villains.
Nightwing #1 is a comic book that will no doubt grab readers’ attention and hold it, a flawless introduction to the new series. Whether you enjoyed Grayson or not, are new to the character or a longtime fan, this book is an exciting read. Tim Seeley was clearly the right choice, his voice for Nightwing is absolutely perfect.