Nightwing #2 DC Rebirth Comic Book Review/Recap

Nightwing #2: Orange is the New Black

Nightwing #2 DC Rebirth Comic Book Recap

Once, long ago, Dick Grayson watched Batman conduct an interrogation.  He asked the mentor to stop, saying the crook clearly doesn’t know anything.  Bruce was not satisfied with this, so he dropped the crook on a mattress. Robin asks why Batman would do that, and Wayne explains this is a lesson.  Criminals can’t be trusted.  Fear is the only thing that makes them honest, as fear is more important to them than trust.

In the present, Nightwing is dazed by Raptor’s attack.  The thief reminds Grayson that they have work to do for the Parliament, and that Raptor will be his new partner.  However, Dick generally prefers partners that don’t attack and gas him.  Raptor says he was just trying to relate to the superhero.  Isn’t that how it works with them?  They fight, and then team up?  Grayson can’t fault him on that thought.  Batman and Superman do that so much for their allies it’s practically their version of a greeting card.

Nightwing #2 dc rebirth

Raptor goes on to say they have a mission together.  The Parliament wants them to track down a shipment on a cargo vessel that a villainous organization known as the Cobra Cult has hijacked.  They need to find and rescue the passengers.  Dick is skeptical about all of this, but, gathering Barbara’s gift, reluctantly agrees to go.  One thing though, sidekicks sit in the back.

The next morning, Barbara calls and tells Dick she got bored in Gotham and has wound up fighting crime in Tokyo.  She asks if Dick wants to meet up, and they agree to do so at midnight tomorrow. In the water, Raptor spots a shark but notes the species rarely attacks in the wild.  So Grayson takes a moment to ask about his new partner’s name and the whole bird theme he’s going for.  Raptor explains that it’s all about branding.  In certain parts of the world, a thief gets his hand cut off.  But a guy with a bright costume and symbols?  Well that’s a different beast entirely.  He doesn’t have to tell Grayson, though.  Big blue bird?  It just screams, Batman brand extension.  That’s why the Parliament wants Grayson so bad.  It all comes down to branding.

[Related: Click Here To Find Nightwing Comics Online]

Suddenly, Raptor is pulled underwater by a mutated member of the Kobra Cult.  For a moment, Grayson considers abandoning his new… partner to fate.  This infiltration of the Parliament is difficult enough without somebody looking over his shoulder.  However, reflecting on what Batman taught him of the inherent value of life, Grayson knows he must help.  That being said, it seems like Raptor can handle himself.

Resurfacing, Grayson is surprised at the shark’s attacking in spite of Raptor’s earlier words.  The thief explains that his gauntlet always provides whatever he needs, and in this case, he really needed shark attractant.  The gauntlet is handy for this, as Raptor has never really been much of a planner.  As they attack the guards on the boat, Grayson comes to the disturbing realization that he and Raptor share this in common, as Dick has always had a preference for diving into the action, too.

Wishing to see why the Parliament is so interested in this ship, Grayson slips away from the action to investigate further.  He finds gruesome remains of people experimented on… and music, from behind a locked hatch.  As he works to break the lock, one of the patients stirs.  She says, “Only the daughters are worthy of the coming age.  I can give them all such beautiful children.”   Fortunately, Raptor is able to intervene and save his partner from the strange abomination.

Raptor chastises his partner for sneaking off, seeing right through Grayon and thoroughly unimpressed with what Batman has taught him.  Brushing off an injury, the thief goes on to say Kobra is always looking for new genetic material.  In this case, a cargo ship full of refugees was a target too tempting for the cult to pass up on.  A little girl is happy to see a superhero, and comments on the pretty birdie.  Grayson has a realization… the Parliament also wants these refugees.  Raptor explains that the Owls are building a new nation within Greece and these people… are to build that nation’s walls.

Later, the Parliament is called into session.  The owls are impressed.  The cargo was successfully recovered.  Raptor happily says he and Nightwing make a great team.  They get their next mission, but Grayson is done with the thief.  Raptor, however disagrees.  He knows what Dick is trying to do – he knows Grayson wants to bring the Owls to justice.  Hell, he knows that Nightwing was tempted to scrub the whole mission and save those people.  But he didn’t, because he thought about how many other ships would come if he did.  That’s the thing about the long game… sometimes you have to make the tough choices.  Raptor reveals he has something, a thing that the Parliament fears more than anything else in the world.  It will bring them out of the dark and into the light.  But for them to do this, they will need to make some hard choices.

Nightwing needs somebody like Raptor to watch his back.  To help make these tough calls.  Someone who uses fear as a weapon, just like Batman.  Grayson trusted his old mentor, and now, he can trust Raptor, too.  Dick demands to know why this thief would care about anyone other than himself, and Raptor says the answer is simple.  He always plays the long game.

Somewhere secluded, Barbara Gordon waits for Grayson… to no avail.  Disappointed, she calls him, and says she thought this was a date.

Standing close to the edge of a cliff, Raptor asks if his new partner is going to jump.  Nightwing replies that yeah… you could say that.

rebirth nightwing

Nightwing #2 DC Rebirth Comic Book Review

I like the writing and art from this comic, and overall, it deserves an easy recommendation.  This story has been great thus far.  I’m pretty into this idea, and I like what’s being explored here.  Unsurprisingly, certain fans are all in a tizzy over the whole better than Batman thing, but it’s important to remember that better can mean a lot of things.  Sure, Bruce might be the World’s Greatest Detective (though I’ve always hated that moniker, personally), but he’s not the best at everything.  Or at least, when he’s actually a character that works and not just some ludicrous wish fulfillment fantasy.

So pushing Nightwing past Batman’s umbrella fits, and makes sense given that fact that Grayson was kind of heading in this direction anyways during his spy years.  This comic does a lot to show what traits Nightwing shares with Batman and where the two heroes differ.  At the front and centre of that divide lies Raptor, a character who I really liked in this issue and look forward to seeing more of.  He’s fun, a morally looser character that has more going on that what is on the surface.  I think this is interesting, new territory for Grayson’s character and I’m really looking forward to seeing these two work together.  I also like the theme of tough choices.  This mission won’t and shouldn’t be easy if the writers want to make the Parliament into a real threat.  These difficult decisions are going to have to be made, and I think this issue we got two that really hit home for me.

[Related: Click Here To Find Nightwing Comics Online]

It’s one thing to say you’re making a tough choice or to announce they will be happening, but this comic does a great job at showing them.  The first decision is about the refugees.  It would have been easy to write in a simple solution out of this problem – maybe Grayson could have freed the refugees and be super confrontational with the Owls over it – but I give the writer Tim Seeley a lot of credit for not copping out on this.  If Dick really wants to infiltrate the Owls, he’s going to have to do shady things like this.  So that cute little girl… well, she’s a slave labourer now.  That’s tough, and something that, for now, Grayson will have to live with.

These are the sorts of things Dick will have to do if he wants to keep up this facade.  And I commend Seeley for doing this.  He’s showing that Grayson’s mission will have consequences, and it firms up that Nightwing is going to have change to accomplish his goals.  In other words, it’s an excellent example of character development.  We see it again with another decision Dick makes when he stands up Barbara.  And while it is tempting to look at Nightwing with scorn over this, again, I feel this is an example of actions having consequences, and also where Grayson’s head is over all of this.  It gets into what Dick wants right now, and that, more than anything else, is to take out the Owls.  And that makes sense too, that this is his priority.  It’s not only a rare opportunity given how closed off and secretive the Owls can be, it also makes a lot of sense when you remember that these guys essentially put a bomb in Damien’s face.  Remembering that Damien might as well be Dick’s brother, well, it would make sense that this, over all other concerns, is what matters to Grayson right now.

So it’s not about what he needs, or wants, or what is best for him.  It’s about this mission.  And if Grayson has to change, if he has to become “better than Batman,” if he has to compromise who he is, so be it.  Because these people took his name, threatened his family, and are a danger to everybody around them.  Like I said at the start of this review, better can mean a lot of things.  And just because he’s better… well, doesn’t mean he’s actually say, a better person.

There’s a lot going on here in a simple, 20 page comic, enough so that I can really sink my teeth into the ongoing themes and narrative.  Yet, in spite of this depth, the story is also remarkably simple.  I could explain to somebody not reading these comics the basic plot in a single sentence.  This is a good signal that the comic is striking a nice balance between depth and accessibility, and the sort of thing that can lead to excellent, top of the line storytelling.  Nightwing is really impressing me so far, and personally, this is one of my favourite titles out of an already pretty impressive roster of Rebirth comics.

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