Book Review – Nightwing vol. 4: Love and Bullets

  • Title: Nightwing vol. 4: Love and Bullets
  • Author:  Chuck Dixon, Scott Beatty, Eliot Brown, Devin Grayson
  • Artists: Greg Land, Scott McDaniel, Karl Story, Eliot Brown, Dale Eaglesham, Bruce  Guice, Phil Jimenez, Andy Kuhn, Greg Land, Damion Scott, Brian Stelfreeze, Robert Campenella, Hector Collazo, John Floyd, Drew Geraci, Klaus Janson, Mark McKenna, Roberta Tewes, Adrienne Roy, Digital Chameleon, Tom McGraw, John Costanza
  • Line: 1990-Era (Early Modern Age)
  • Characters: Nightwing (Dick Grayson), Huntress, Nite-Wing, Legion of Superheroes, Superman
  • Collection Date: 2016 (reprint)
  • Collected issues: Nightwing 26 – 34 (Dec 1998, Jan. – Aug. 1999), Nightwing # 1,000,000 (Nov. 1998), “Taking Wing” from Nightwing Secret Files & Origins # 1 (Oct. 1999)
  • Publisher: DC Comics
  • Date Reviewed on GoodReads: 7/07/2016

I have been really enjoying DC Comics re-publishing versions of the 1990s run of Nightwing and this volume is no exception. Even though it has the same title as the previous collection from 2000, this volume includes additional material, making it a good buy even if you had the previous version.

The first story in this collection is “The Anachronism” a recreation of “Nightwing 1,000,000” – a Batman from the far future, part of the Legion of Superheroes, returns to “the present” to work with Dick Grayson, Nightwing. The other members of the Legion of Superheroes had also gone back in time while the Justice League will be sent to their time to attend celebrations. However, the Hourman Virus is released in the “present” and Nightwing and future Batman must stop it. It’s an interesting concept – but it ends abruptly without the story being concluded.

The next story brings back Huntress who is now even more vicious, driven by vengeance, and willing to use extreme violence to accomplish her goals. It also introduces a new villain, Torque, formerly Dudley Soames, a dirty cop who’s head was twisted 180 degrees. Surviving this, Torque is determined to bring down Blockbuster, who had caused his unique condition.

Dick meanwhile has settled in in Blüdhaven – he’s finally started to date Clancy, his landlady, as well as secretly helping her financially through Haly Holdings. In the previous volume, when Clancy’s apartment building was damaged by the quake in Gotham and threatened with a demolition order – Dick stepped in, secretly. In this issue, when Clancy gets a huge tax bill, Dick has Haly take care of it. This prevents Clancy from losing her home, as well as Amygdala, and the mysterious “Dr. Fledermaus”. Dick also sees to it that his namesake, the vigilante “Nite-Wing” is taken to Dr. Leslie Thompkins clinic for care. Dick cares about the people around him and the consequences of actions in his universe. He’d given Huntress a chance – but convinced she’s behind the recent string of unusual deaths of Blockbusters lieutenants – he not only breaks off his relationship with her, but becomes determine to capture her. As it would turn out, though, it isn’t Huntress who’s killing Blockbuster’s lieutenants – it’s Torque. Though Huntress works briefly for Torque because her ultimate goal is to wipe-out the mob, she later changes her mind.

“Just Passing Through” takes place after the great quake in Gotham and Gotham being declared “No Man’s Land”. With no place else to go, many ex-Gothamites end up in Blüdhaven. Nightwing protects them as he protects all of his city. In this story, he’s aided by Superman – who’s basically a sounding board for Dick, who in many ways, is still trying to figure out if the role of solo crimefighter is what he wants to do.

The next stories brings in Double Dare, a pair of sisters who are circus aerialists and bank robbers. Their techniques are similar to Nightwing’s so at first he’s blamed. And when Dick goes to stop them they are pretty evenly matched. But Stallion and Brutale try to take out all three for Blockbuster – which forces Nightwing to work with the two women for a short time.

Meanwhile, the imposter, “Nite-Wing” is caught by the Blüdhaven PD, but the corrupt police chief Francis Redhorn sees “Nite-Wing” as an opportunity to get out from under the thumb of Blockbuster.

Once he’s take care of Clancy’s financial issues, Dick talks to her about the direction of his life. He decides that he really wants to be a police officer – to fight corruption from the inside and to stop crime by legal means. He also discovers Clancy had wanted to be a doctor but didn’t have the money for college and was too intimidated to try for a scholarship. He pushes her to apply for a Wayne scholarship and grant. Yet, within a few weeks of his training at the police academy – Dick receives an urgent message from Batman. Next we see Dick – he’s dying and hallucinating Jason Todd as he relives his life. I was a bit confused as to how Dick ended-up drowning or dying.

This new version of Love and Bullets also features a number of extras – write-up summaries of info of all the major and minor characters that make up Dick Grayson’s (Nightwing’s) universe. A map of Blüdhaven, a map of Dick’s apartment and his floor in Clancy’s building, even a year-by-year history of the character of Dick Grayson in DC Comics (which was brilliant – I’d always wondered when the Teen Titans fit in). This is a handy reference to Dick’s universe.

I hope DC Comics continues to publish these updated re-prints of the 1990s version of Nightwing. I enjoy reading the collected volumes very much. The bonus material in this one is awesome and helpful, and the thicker, shiny paper holds the colors very well – so they pop off the page. Also, the drawing of Grayson himself in his black and blue uniform is just gorgeous.

Nightwing Love and Bullets (Vol. 4) collects:

  • Nightwing # 1,000,000 (Nov. 1998)
  • Nightwing # 26 – 34 (Dec 1998, Jan. – Aug. 1999)
  • “Taking Wing” from Nightwing Secret Files # 1 (Oct. 1999)
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