Nightwing #3 Comic Book Review/Recap (Rebirth)

Nightwing #3 – The Labyrinthian Mansion!

Nightwing #3 Comic Book Recap

Dick Grayson and the thief known as Raptor stand over a manor in Norway.  This is the home of Knute Ruud, the world’s greatest designer of mazes.  He was contracted to design the labyrinth of the Owl’s in Crete, and has taken to hiding in his own home after the Owls decided this man was one loose end too many.  Knute built his mansion like a maze – one that only he knows how to activate.  Before the two men move to enter this home  – Raptor notices they are being watched.

[Related: Click Here To Find Nightwing Comic Books Online]

Batgirl emerges and attacks Raptor, but Dick breaks up the fight.  Raptor says he was totally right about the fight and team up thing that heroes do, but that doesn’t help matters, as Barbara is clearly upset about being stood up earlier.  Grayson explains what is going on, and Gordon is shocked at her friend’s behaviour.  She says he is letting this become personal, and that he’s doing his “Robin Hood” thing again, adamantly stating that in her eyes, someone that breaks the law for the greater good is no better than any other criminal. Raptor points out they are on a deadline, expected to report back to the Owls by morning, so Barbara decides to join them.  If she and Dick can’t make a date, at least they can do the superhero thing.

Nightwing #3 – The Labyrinthian Mansion!

The three make their way through the maze, which is full of traps, puzzles, and a confusing layout.  Working their way past one particularly dangerous puzzle, Raptor gives them the slip when the lights briefly go out.  As they run to find him, they see Raptor standing over Knute Ruud.  Shocked, Barbara says Grayson just let an innocent man die, and Nightwing is quick to attack. The Owls watch, amused, and gleeful that their Nightwing has finally been corrupted.  They announce to the two men they are pleased and that they can expect payment shortly.  With their faith completely restored, the transmission is cut off when Grayson smashes his partner’s face into the communicator.

Raptor says that’s enough, and, suddenly, Knute gets up.  With the Owls no longer watching, the two explain to Barbara and Grayson this was all an elaborate trick.  And with Knute now thought dead, he is happy to share his designs of the Labyrinth of the Owls.  Outside, Barbara is outraged.  This is not what Batman taught them.  She leaves, saying she knows now that Grayson stood her up because he knows how she would react to all this and didn’t want to here it.  She thinks he likes this spy game, and is worried that this time, Grayson won’t be able to swing back from this one.

 After she leaves, Grayson confronts Raptor, asking why he didn’t share his plan.  The thief says he wanted it to look real, and that he didn’t really plan this all out ahead of time, true to his form.  Raptor says trust is better earned through action over words, but Grayson is still uncertain about all of this.  He looks over the gift he was supposed to give to Barbara, which, after all that has happened, has been cracked.  Raptor takes them to his home, explaining that he found someone who found a way to secretly keep track of the Owl’s finances on their behalf.  He introduces Grayson to Dr. Leviticus.

rebirth nightwing

Nightwing #3 Comic Book Review

So this is going to be an interesting review.  On the one hand, what’s worked in this series so far is largely working here.  Most of the writing is on point – we see how Grayson is drifting away from what Batman taught him, and I like the idea behind a guy who builds elaborate mazes existing in the DC universe.  That makes a lot of sense and served as a cool setting for this comic.  And the art, as always, works well to convey what is going on.  Characters are expressive, colours are used effectively, and there is a lot of really cool panels and pages in this issue.

All that being said though, there’s one thing that seriously bothers me here – and that’s how Barbara acted in this comic.  So she starts out this comic upset – that part’s okay.  It makes a lot of sense she’d be annoyed and to a degree, that explains in part the way she acts in this comic.  But, as this issue makes clear, he attitude towards Robin Hood shows some really ugly hypocrisy.  Look, I get this view, but I just don’t see how Barbara isn’t a criminal, too.   Vigilantism is a crime, especially the Bat-family approach to it.  And I don’t care how just it is, I don’t care how much the GCPD make the very illegal decision to look the other way, it’s against the law!  You’re a criminal the second you put on that cowl and put the law into your own hand, especially when you decide to operate outside of your own country because you were bored.  Cops don’t and can’t do that for a very good reason.

[Related: Click Here To Find Nightwing Comic Books Online]

While I think Barbara, Batman, and everyone else who does this is fine in the context of this being a fictional story and all, apparently Barbara herself somehow doesn’t share this view.  All thieves are criminals no matter what, and the hypocrisy on that is staggering to me.  Yes, I’m sure in her eyes, she’s not breaking any real laws like the people she fights against, but that is just picking and choosing what laws are and aren’t acceptable.

The comic also goes out of the way to say that this isn’t some knee-jerk reaction to finding out your potential boyfriend stood you up for… this guy.  She’s apparently always held this view, even though I can think of half a dozen times off the top of my head that would say otherwise.  The Barbara in this issue comes off as extremely judgmental and shockingly closed minded, even given the circumstances.  I get her being angry, but all she really needed to do was point out the Raptor can’t be trusted.  Instead she basically calls Grayson a murderer and only relents when it turns out that Knute wasn’t really dead, which, I don’t know.  That makes me very uncomfortable, how quickly she declares Dick is responsible for Raptor killing a guy.  It’s just not the Barbara Gordon I know.  It’s okay to bend characters to facilitate plots points, within reason, but that’s way too far.  The whole thing seems like an easy way for writer Tim Seeley to show Nightwing is distancing himself from the Bat clan.  Which would be fine, I just wish Barbara’s character didn’t have to be completely ravaged just to accomplish all this.

Sadly, that’s not the only thing that’s starting to bother me.  The Court, or the Parliament, or whatever you want to call the Owls these days, are really starting to not come across as any sort of meaningful threat.  Raptor and Nightwing are playing them for chumps right now, and that’s after Robin War, where the Owls lost to an army of children.  I’m starting to think this story might have been better to leave the bomb in Damian’s face instead of removing it right off the bat.  That would make all the tip-toeing around the Owls way more dramatic, because then they would have some actual collateral against Grayson, and he’d likely have to keep this stuff secret from Batman because Bruce wouldn’t really tolerate having a bomb in his son’s face.

That could have given the story more illusion of there being real, actual stakes, because right now, the Owls are kind of looking like fools with little to no chance of actually standing up to Dick Grayson.  This is a lot of pretty heavy handed criticism, which is unfortunate, because I like this series, and, in spite of it’s problems, mostly like this particular issue.  I feel like this comic made a major misstep with Barbara that inadvertently tipped its hand just enough that I caught a glimpse of what was going on behind the curtain with the overall story, and realized there are some flaws.  But I also feel like this was because of very specific reasons that have a lot more to do with me than this comic.  To that end, if you’ve been enjoying Nighting so far, I still recommend this issue.  Unless you’ve been iffy about the story already or haven’t checked it out yet, I think this is probably worth your time, and what bothered me might no necessarily bother you.

I still am interested in this comic and am confident that these problems aren’t big enough yet to ruin the story as a whole, but still, I feel almost shocked at what I read here.  Thus far, Nightwing has proven to be a better series than this.  It has been fun and deep, making for a thoroughly enjoyable read.    I think that writer Tim Seeley, provided he can avoid more pratfalls in the future, is still telling a decent story overall.  I feel like the story just needs a few more twists and turns along the way to add a little bit more tension into the mix.

This isn’t the unqualified praise I had been giving the Nightwing Rebirth comics up until now.  I’m still shaking off the way this comic treated Barbara’s character, and how that made me realize that this story doesn’t really have as much drama behind it as it probably should have.

You must be logged in to post a comment Login