Book Review – Nightwing vol. 1: Blüdhaven

  • Title: Nightwing vol. 1: Blüdhaven
  • Author: Dennis O’Neil, Chuck Dixon
  • Artists: Scott McDaniel, Karl Story, Greg Land, Mike Sellers, Nick Napolitano, Cathi Bertrand, Roberta Tewes, John Costanza, 
  • Line: 1990-Era (Early Modern Age)
  • Characters: Nightwing (Dick Grayson), 
  • Collection Date: 2014 (reprint) collecting issues from 1995, 1996-1997
  • Collected issues: Nightwing #1-4 and #1-8
  • Publisher: DC Comics
  • Date Reviewed on GoodReads: 3/27/2015

Nightwing: Blüdhaven is two graphic novels in one. It includes a solo Dick Grayson mini-series from 1995 and the first eight issues of Nightwing from 1996-1997. Everything has been updated to heavy, glossy paper, and gorgeous colors. The art is excellent, especially the drawings of Dick in both his costumes – Dick Grayson is hot, absolutely. He’s built, strong and muscular and gorgeous to boot. Plus, Dick doesn’t have the arrogance of so many superheroes – if anything he’s constantly doubting himself, constantly worrying about Bruce (Batman) Wayne’s approval, and in both series he’s trying to break away from his foster father’s shadow and become his own man.

The first Nightwing story I really liked. Dick, having been Batman for awhile and hating it, retires completely and hands his old Nightwing costume to Bruce. However, he quickly needs to go back to being Nightwing and Alfred has Bruce’s costumer build him a new costume. This is the one I associate with Nightwing, a tight, black, form-fitting, leotard with a blue V on the chest that continues up the shoulder and down to the finger tips. And yes it compliments Dick well. Some of the best panels throughout the book show multiple Nightwings, each in a slightly different position, illustrating Dick’s remarkable acrobatic and gymnast skills, and I really like how it shows the fluidity of Nightwing’s movements. Dick then travels to a foreign country to find out about his parent’s past. He gets somewhat involved in a struggle between a corrupt but jailed prime minister and an even more corrupt dictator-king. The situation does not go well, and it’s even sad. But I liked it – the story really shows Dick’s character, and his past, his parents – there’s even flashbacks to his parents teaching him how to fly on the trapeze and his mother calling him Robin.

Dick returns home, and heads to Blüdhaven – actually, the second series starts with Dick in a perilous situation, and nearly dying – and flashes back to he and Batman finding 21 dead mobsters in an estuary and the trial leads to Blüdhaven. In Blüdhaven, Dick discovers he has a problem – he doesn’t “really” exist. He has no birth certificate, no prove of employment, no previous bill paying history, no job history, no credit. Even getting his electrical service turned on in his cheap apartment will cost him $1000.00. Still, he does find a cheap apartment, and even gets a job at a nearby cop’s bar so he can pick-up news and gossip. And at night, he goes out on his second job – as Nightwing. Nightwing investigates the killings in Gotham, and a mob war in Blüdhaven. I also liked the second series, which is part of this new Nightwing series. He has a less definitive end because it’s part of an on-going story, but I plan on getting the next volume. Robin, Tim Drake, makes an appearance for one issue. And at the end, Dick meets up with Batman, who actually tells him he thinks he’s doing a good job – something Dick desperately needs to hear.

Dick Grayson is a great hero – he has some insecurity about his position vis-a-vis Bruce Wayne, and a different method of working. The two stories in Nightwing: Blüdhaven showcase his story – first in a self-contained mini-series, then in the beginning of a new series (both from the 1990s). This volume is copyright 2014 by DC Comics, and is therefore a reprint. I think it was smart to include both stories in the compilation. I highly recommend it!

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