Nightwing #51 // Review
This month we see Dick Grayson (now going by the name Ric) continue to struggle with a brain injury as he navigates the streets of Blüdhaven in Nightwing #51 (Writer Scott Lobdell, art by Travis Moore and Gary Brown). This injury, the result of being shot in the head in Batman #55 is causing Dick to have problems with the world around him. But while Dick is trying to get himself straightened out and back into the real world, Blüdhaven still needs a hero, and a new Nightwing appears to take up the mantle.
It is obvious throughout the story that Dick Grayson is now a lost soul, he’s having flashbacks to his time as Nightwing fighting alongside Batgirl and Robin, but the dreams that he has of this time are clearly disturbing him. His days are spent in his local bar, and his nights are spent driving a cab around Blüdhaven trying to get to a new normal. Even a visit by Alfred Pennyworth in this issue seems to cause him some confusion. It’s clear that he remembers his friend, Alfred, but it’s not clear if he’s pushing him away because he no longer wants a life as Nightwing, or if he is truly having a hard time remembering parts of his past.
But while Dick is taking time to recover, things in Blüdhaven aren’t improving. Crime is up now that the city is without its costumed hero, and the police in the city are being overworked. If that wasn’t enough, the Scarecrow is also on the loose, and is initiating his own brand of havoc in the city, while posing as a therapist. With all of these problems going on it’s clear that Blüdhaven needs Nightwing to step up, and a new person takes up the mantle in order to bring order back to the city.
Writer Scott Lobdell does a good job here creating a story full of tension and confusion. The reader can feel the struggle that Dick Grayson is having. At one moment Dick seems to be well aware of his actions, and the next he seems to act out of instinct without realizing what he’s doing. We see him at one moment seeming to be consciously stepping away from his identity as a superhero, and the next beating up a would-be mugger without having any idea about what he’s doing. Right now Lobdell seems to be doing a good job of keeping the reader off balance about what’s going to happen to Dick Grayson, but he should be cautious, because this type of writing may create some huge plot holes in the future.
The art in this issue is clearly the result of a pair skilled artists. The team of Moore and Brown have created a Blüdhaven that feels dark and hopeless. They do a good job of conveying the sense of the mood of Blüdhaven, and Nightwing by creating a world of dark greys and browns. Their character design is crisp, and their action flows.
Overall this issue of Nightwing looks to be building the foundation of a great story. The story is intriguing and hopefully it continues to build. There is a danger that this story may fall flat if some of the strings aren’t tied together in the next few issues, but for now it’s exciting to see the possibilities of what will happen to Nightwing, and Blüdhaven.