The last eight issues of this series have slowly rolled the character that is Nightwing pretty much back to where he was pre-New 52; he’s back in the costume and has his name Dick Grayson back to use with his buddies. Only a few more details can bring him completely back to his roots and maybe Superman will be the one to take him there in this issue. Is it good?
Nightwing #9 (DC Comics)
Why does this book matter?
If you care at all about the whole “universe splitting” that’s most assuredly leading to a big shift with the DC Universe — you better read this. Superman, who is the pre-New 52 version, has some interesting things to reveal here. Plus Nightwing must face his nightmares!
Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?
Freaky looking baddy.
Tim Seeley manages the nightmare narrative well within this issue; that is, he never makes you feel like it’s all a waste, as so many other “It was all a dream” stories tend to do. Instead, he connects nightmares to Superman’s monitoring of villains that existed in his universe and that includes Dr. Destiny; there’s not only a fun bit of reflection on how the character changed in the current universe (much scarier), but also how it might connect to the bigger issues going on. Much of this issue takes place in the dreamscape (how does Superman have the best tech? Geeze.) and it all builds towards a major revelation for Nightwing. By the end you’ll feel like progress was made for Nightwing internally that will mean something later on.
Superman practically steals the show with his charm too. As he relates to Nightwing how he’s similar and different from the version he knew, you get a sense this version of Superman is angelically good. He’s an agent for peace for everyone including his friends like Nightwing and a nice sentiment is shared between them about how Nightwing is truly good at heart too. Not every hero is like this these days.
The art by Marcio Takara (with colors by Marcello Maiolo) look good in a dreamlike way that suits the story. Dr. Destiny looks positively frightening and together they nail the goodness of Superman. There are also some cool looking helmet dream machines and fast hitting action. There are two scene stealers, one with Dr. Destiny going full tentacle monster freak and a full page spread with tons of heroes rushing in that is poster worthy.
It can’t be perfect can it?
It remains to be seen how the pre-New 52 universe is affecting the characters though Seeley is making a point that it is somehow. Like deja vu or something, Nightwing is brought back to a happy place for himself, though it’s unclear why. Maybe I’m reading too deeply into it, but a stronger case could have been made to make the captions in the final panel mean something.
Is It Good?
Stories set in the dream world are fickle things, but Seely pulls it off well connecting the beats to the character development and a deeper meaning that ties back to the pre-New 52 era. Superman is infectiously happy and we’re reminded Nightwing’s goodness is a big part of who he is — making this issue have purpose.