[Editor’s note: This review may contain spoilers.]
Writer: Tim Seeley
Artist: Javier Fernandez
Colors: Chris Sotomayor
Over the past few years the Bat-titles have really focused on family. Through the years Batman has been through alternating cycles of being a dark loner who pushes others away and the head of an extended super-hero family. Nightwing #8 concludes the “Rise of Raptor” arc and at the same time approaches this family theme from a different point of view that we usually get.
Bruce Wayne is being held prisoner by Raptor, and Raptor’s got him in a contraption that will kill him when Wayne Enterprises stock prices reach $200 a share. Nightwing is on his way, having figured out where Raptor is holed up, elucidated by a nearly forgotten childhood memory. Worried for Mary Lloyd Grayson’s reputation being sullied, the flashback we get courtesy of Raptor upon Nightwing’s entrance doesn’t go too far. Mary had been kind to the man who would become Raptor, including breaking and entering for medication to cure him of leprosy. Raptor fell in love with her and was always watching from the shadows, ready to step in. When the Graysons were murdered and Dick orphaned his hate turned to Bruce Wayne for stepping in to be the man he wished he could’ve been to care for the young Dick Grayson.
Raptor is surprised when Nightwing fails to see that Bruce Wayne is the problem. This breaks Raptor and he is easily subdued by Dick and taken away by Spyral.
The finale between Dick and Bruce says as much about Bruce as it does about Dick. While this title is Nightwing, this moment is really a moment for Bruce as he expresses his faith and trust in Dick. We’ve seen so much of the Bat-family from the opposite perspective that seeing Bruce grateful and faithful toward his family is a heartwarming experience. It should be no surprise that Dick understands what Bruce did to give him a better life than he had growing up.
It’s always dangerous going back and telling a story in the past of a character that could transform one’s opinion of said character. While there’s never been much written on Dick’s mom, this story takes it about as far as I’d want to see it go, any more and it becomes character assassination for shock value.
As with so many Rebirth titles, Nightwing continues to focus on character and relationships. Bruce ends up being just as important as Dick to this story, and seeing Bruce and Dick reach a new level of trust should bring a smile to your face. Time to face facts. Batman is human after all, and a more interesting character for it.