With A Whimper

February 14th, 2009 by | Tags: , , ,

The last issue of Nightwing has been published.  No one is taking much notice of it, and it is with a heavy heart that I admit that I can see why.

A number of books are ending this month – Nightwing, Robin, Birds of Prey, and The Blue Beetle – leaving me with a severely reduced pull-list.  But while Robin has ended with developments that, in my opinion, suck so hard that they could depressurize a space shuttle, the final few stories leave us with some sense of completion for the series.  Tim Drake has become someone new.  Sucky, but new.

Nightwing, on the other hand, is a sad example of one of those books whose characters are never quite heavyweights in their own right, but are close enough to the larger fictional universe that they get sucked into all plot lines.  Bludhaven was flattened in Final Crisis.  The main character undertook a pointless trip to New York because everything needed to be different One Year Later.  He had a girlfriend.  She moved away.  He found another.  She moved away.  Given another year or so he would have found another and she would have disappeared just as abruptly, because he’s practically betrothed to a character in another book.  Vigilante hijacked the plot for about three months in order to publicize that character’s upcoming book.

Then it was time for the unfortunate Pre-Event-Release-Date, Post-Event-Continuity to kick in.  This happens during every Big Event.  All the characters in a minor book hint incessantly at all the wild and crazy things that have happened in Event books that have yet to be released, leaving the reader confused and missing the emotional impact of the story.

I like the character of Dick Grayson, who is, of all the Bats, the cheeriest.  But after Devin Grayson left the series was helmed by too many different authors going too many different directions.  It was lurching and staggering like a punch-drunk boxer, and it was merciful to throw in the towel now.  I just wish that there were more of a sense of completion, rather than the books just being cut off. 

But who knows?  Maybe it will come back after the next Big Event.  At least that way it will have a fresh start.

Similar Posts:

Post to Twitter Post to Facebook Post to Reddit Post to StumbleUpon

8 comments to “With A Whimper”

  1. “…one of those books whose characters are never quite heavyweights in their own right, but are close enough to the larger fictional universe that they get sucked into all plot lines.”

    I feel EXACTLY the same way about X-Factor, my favourite superhero-ongoing. David is probably the best author around at rolling with the punches, adroitly shifting the book’s tack every five issues or so as Marvel desperately try to throw everything and the kitchen sink to puff up inexorably declining sales. But even the series’ premise was jerked around before it started — its setting, Mutant Town, lost all meaning a few weeks before the book premiered.

    It’s sad — it can be so good when it’s good, but because the ground is constantly shifting beneath its feet it never has time to get into a comfortable run.

  2. @BlackMage: That’s what’s great about some of the more obscure books. Sure, the aren’t going to get a lot of attention, but at least they aren’t thrown under the bus of Larger Continuity every few months.

  3. I was actually liking the direction that Nightwing was going in. He was out of Gotham and Batman’s shadow altogether, had moved to Manhattan, had set up his own secret base, had a real job, and was even (finally!) introducing himself to women as “Richard.”
    So of course, DC decides to dismantle the entire thing in about 2 pages so that Nightwing can be shoehorned into the latest “event.”

  4. God, after everything Nightwing’s been through, his last issue is him going back to the Batmansion, literally living in Bruce’s shadow. Plot-wise, it makes sense, but after everything that’s been said and done, what? The mansion has been his home all along? It makes me lose respect for him.

  5. i’m still not convinced dick works better than anything other than the smart alecky down-to-Earth contrast to Bruce’s grim aggro detachedness. and i’ve read a lot of crap with nightwing in it.

  6. The saddest Bat-news from NYCC had to be that Fabian Nicieza will be involved in the Bat-books for a long time. Robin has been so terrible, but so undeniably Niciezan.

  7. I’m kinda torn. On the one hand, when the whole RIP/Battle For The Cowl thing was announced, I was one of the biggest flag-wavers for Dick to be Batman. I thought he’d be a good way to have someone who brought a fun, reasonably well-adjusted take on the role. He’s also the only one of the white hat candidates who could reasonably fill out the costume.

    But I like Nightwing. I can still remember seeing the character in a UK reprints magazine when I’d started getting into comics and finding out it was Dick Grayson, but grown up! It was the first time I was aware of a character aging, and changing his heroic identity to boot. It was pretty mindblowing to a 10-year old.

    It just seems that no-one’s had a decent handle on him solo since Chuck Dixon left the book. Ok, so Dixon basically turned him into the DCU equivalent of Frank Miller’s Daredevil, but hell, it worked!

    I had high hopes for Devin Grayson since she had a nice take on him in the Titans, but it was all for naught.

    In a weird way, I think Dick works best in a team book. He’s serious enough to act as the straight man to some of the goofier characters, but well adjusted enough that no-one would mistake him for his mentor. And people actually seem to like him.

  8. This whole cancellation thing is a damned shame because they had finally, FINALLY found a regular writer who absolutely NAILED the character and given him great artists like Rags Morales and Don Kramer to work with. I was really enjoying the direction the book was going. Too bad Dick got sucked into the latest Bat-morass.