[Editor’s Note: This review may contain spoilers.]
Writer: Tim Seeley
Artist: Javier Fernandez
Colorist: Chris Sotomayor
It’s tough to imagine someone being “better than Batman” but that’s the title of this introductory arc in the latest run of Nightwing. In issue #2 Tim Seeley explores the relationship between Dick Grayson and this new partner who maintains a very high opinion of himself. While Dick is non-plussed by this team-up, he realizes that there is some common ground between the two, best described as a “jump first ask questions later” approach to life.
After Dick and Raptor have a not so friendly get to know you session they set out on their mission for the Parliament of Owls – recover a ship full of refugees planned for slave labor. This takes them to Greece where they successfully free the ship from Kobra, the international terrorist organization. They do not however, free the refugees, but instead turn them over to the Parliament. Dick clearly has some misgivings as they report back to the Parliament and receive a commendation. Unfortunately, Dick’s commitment to maintaining his cover and following through in this scenario has caused him to miss a meeting with Batgirl in Japan. As Dick and Raptor leave they are verbally sparring about what just happened and Dick is having more and more reservations about working with Raptor and how far he can go undercover without losing himself. It becomes apparent to Dick that there’s more to Raptor.
So often new characters can be exactly what they seem, but Raptor appears to be more complex. It’s not clear yet, but it appears that this arc will slowly reveal that complexity. He claims to be “better than Batman” as he criticizes the Dark Knight’s training of Dick Grayson. These elements were both surprisingly welcome as twists. Tying the events of last week’s Batgirl #1 into Dick’s story provided a continuity satisfying element and the promise that Barbara will play a larger role than anticipated in this book. While I am not fond of the current take on Batgirl, a Dick Grayson/Barbara Gordon romance always feels right to me.
This issue was much stronger than #1 and it was really the lingering weakness of the previous issue that provided negative expectations going into it. Nightwing #2 righted those feelings for the most part. However, while the complexity of Raptor is intriguing and engaging, it almost feels that he will be the focus of the story and not Dick Grayson. While not necessarily bad, it does give the reader a feeling of uneasiness. I haven’t been able to determine if this is a good or bad thing yet. Dick is clearly off his game, Raptor has shaken him and it’s concerning to see Dick in this spot. It suggests that something is wrong with Dick or Raptor is something really special.
This is an easy issue to pick up for new readers. Perhaps, this points to the strength of the writing, this title is three issues in and the first two are unnecessary to understand and enjoy this story. It actually may be a better read to jump right in here.