Friday, October 26, 2018

Nightwing #51 Review (Second Opinion)

You can call me Gray, and You can call me Ric

Written By: Scott Lobdell, Fabian Nicieza
Art By: Travis Moore, Garry Brown, Hi-Fi, Nick Filardi, Deron Bennett
Cover Price: $3.99
Release Date: October 17, 2018

I decided to do this second opinion review, not because Eric's review (HERE) was bad or anything, but because of the reactions I saw from other reviewers about this issue.  People really seem to be losing their minds over this whole "Ric" thing and I figured I'd give my two-cent opinion on the matter.  So, here it goes...

If you aren't aware, Dick Grayson is my favorite comic book character and really, second place (Barry Allen Flash, btw) is a faraway second.  Because of that, I should hate this issue and this new direction even more than most.  Why?  Because I didn't just say Nightwing is my favorite character...I said Dick Grayson.  Dick Grayson!  I have a very defined reason why and even if this issue throws that reason out the window, I still like it.  I will get to the reason in a bit, after we talk a little about the issue itself.

The issue opens with Detective Sapienza down in the burned out Nightwing bunker from last issue's cliffhanger.  Maybe Dick should have stayed around or lit a couple more matches because we see the suits and equipment survived.  Sapienza talks out loud to himself (and us) and while Nightwing hasn't really been accepted by Bludhaven in all of Rebirth, at least Sapienza gets that he did good for the city and wishes he hadn't disappeared.  This ultimately sets up the ending of this issue and the story going forward while also sneaking in a timeframe of where this book lies in connection with Tom King's Batman.  It's been four months since Dick was shot.

After this issue came out, I saw so many people online complaining about this issue and blaming Scott Lobdell for this new direction.  Are you kidding me?!?  I can't say I have inside information of any sort, but I read the books and Nightwing was shot in Batman #55, right?  Scott Lobdell didn't write that, Tom King did.  Does it also smell of Dan Didio?  It sure does, but where does Scott Lobdell fit in the equation?  Ben Percy had already finished writing Nightwing 50 and beyond when he was taken off this book and Scott Lobdell was hired as a "better fit".  What I am saying is...all this was in play way before Scott Lobdell even had a clue that he would be writing Nightwing.  That may also explain that some of this issue felt a bit rushed to get things rolling.

After Detective Sapienza gets a lesson in morality from random fireman #2, we finally get to Dick Ric Grayson...of the mind.  It's a dream-recap that may not solve fully solve what Ric really remembers, but it does continue the idea that my boy has some issues.  He wakes up in the Prodigal Bar (where everyone knows your multiple names and obviously lets you fall asleep if you want) where Alfred pays his tab and then heads off to make more cucumber sandwiches for his boss.  Again, Lobdell plays with what Ric remembers and doesn't, but really stresses that Ric is fine and likes the idea of making his own way from here on out.

This is where I started liking this issue more.  Here is Ric, off in Bludhaven, trying to escape his past and wanting to make his own way.  Hmmm...sounds familiar.  I have not been a fan of Nightwing since Rebirth started and one of the reasons is that the book never really seemed to matter, but also because the writers seemed content to just plop Dick in Bludhaven and then get lazy.  I never felt like this book or the character was making his own way or getting out of anyone's shadow...including his own.  However, this feels like it is actually starting that...tearing him down so that we can build up an even better version.  A better version bulit from the ground up in and by Bludhaven.

After a brief and heavy-handed hint that Scarecrow has come to Bludhaven for a few days to thrill, we are back to Ric who is seeing life from the driver's seat of his cab and it's good, bad...well, life.  While this is going on, he wonders if people care about him or just "Dick Grayson".  Is this also a bit of meta-commentary as well?  Is this part of the test to see who is a real fan of the character?  Is this actually the second part of the test that started after Forever Evil with the Grayson book?

Oh boy, the Grayson book really had fans fuming!  This isn't my Nightwing!  Oh great, Spy Dick!  If he isn't Nightwing, I'm not buying it!  I heard so many people losing their minds over Grayson and while some still say they will never read it, they also are missing out on one of the better books in the DC YOU era.  The same exact thing is happening now and while I don't have a crystal ball to see how it works out this time, please give it a chance people!

The scene then turns into a bit of Bourne Identity when Ric is held up by gunpoint which triggers his instincts to disarm and beat the crap out of his assailant.  This whole scene is a rollercoaster ride of emotions starting with him thinking of his parents and then ending with him looking at the destruction he can do without even thinking.  Just think of that...he still remembers what made him become a superhero in the first place, but then sees the pain that it can cause him and especially others.  On a side note, if you ever get into the situation where you beat up/kill/maim anyone because of an unremembered past as a superspy/superhero, when it's over and you are staring at the gun in your hand...take it with you!  Don't leave it on the street next to the body or bodies.  That is evidence and now you are a wanted person!!!  Then, after we see this conflicted scene, we go back to Detective Sapienza taking up the Nightwing mantle because somebody needs to protect the innocent of Bludhaven.  

I agree with some that this was a bit rushed with Sapienza, but it's also the cliffhanger.  Him holding up his gun is a cliffhanger move and I would hope we develop the character more going forward.  What little we've seen of him makes me think that he is a good guy, though, just desperate to make a difference.  Scott Lobdell seems to be writing a story that is about the difference between the myth and the man.  Nightwing is needed as a symbol, but Ric doesn't want to be that anymore.  So, someone is stepping in to take his place.  I don't think Sapienza is in for the long haul, if fact, I think that part of the narrative will involve Ric seeing that if he isn't Nightwing, someone else will put themselves in the line of fire and won't want that.  

Back to the beginning of this review when I said there is a reason why I love Dick Grayson.  His superpower has always been that he is a nice guy.  The last issue, we saw a douchebag Dick, but that was dialed back a bit here.  It's like no matter what happens and what he tries to do, he can't help himself. Like the fighting instincts, the goodness just can't be contained. Just think of all the friends he has already, the trust he is given at his new job.  He's worried that people only love "Dick", but I do believe when this is all over, we will all see that a dick by any other name would smell as sweet.  Yes, I give DC full permission to put that on the cover of this trade when it comes out.

Bits and Pieces:

It's a new beginning for Ric Grayson and while some are already losing their minds over it, I think it has potential.  Nightwing fans have been through this all before and while some will never get used to it, let's wait and see how it plays out.  For now, I am on the Ric trolley.



  1. Thanks for the great review! I'm not a regular Nightwing reader, but I've been lured by those sweet, SWEET shiny foil covers this month into buying some comics I wouldn't normally (Mission accomplished, DC). This one is definitely a title that I'm now considering jumping in on. I see some possible parallels to "KnightFall" and the AzBat saga, but guess what. . .I loved that story, so the hints of it I see in this issue of Nightwing don't make ME cry foul, they make me want to see what happens!

    1. Nice!!! I am sitting back and letting it play out a bit more before going nuts. I like what I see so far

  2. Personally, I don't like it. It doesn't feel like my favorite character and hero. I want DC to stop treating Dick as their event fodder. Why keep on changing him abruptly?

    1. it's been 50 issues since the last change...and I blame Tom King 100%. He needed a reason for Batman to get upset and just used Dick Grayson and tossed him aside. Why I am not mad is this whole Rebirth run of Nightwing has been ok to horrible and I do think that Dick will be back as Nightwing by issue #60. This could lead to good stories if done right.