Nightwing #50 / Writer: Benjamin Percy / Artists: Travis Moore, Chris Mooneyham, and Klaus Janson / Colorist: Tamra Bonvillain, Nick Filardi, and John Kalisz / Letterer: Carlos M. Mangual / Cover Artists: Chris Mooneyham and Nick Filardi / Publisher: DC Comics / October 3, 2018
There’s been some success with other takes on Dick Grayson: he has been Batman a few times, notably in Grant Morrison’s run on Batman & Robin, and recently, while thought dead, he was a spy in the cult hit Grayson. Both of those runs were instant hits with a lot of fans, demonstrating that different takes on this classic character can work. Now, Benjamin Percy (Green Arrow and Teen Titans) and his stellar team of artists bring us this new, edgier take on the former sidekick.
Sometimes it’s hard for a lot of fans to remember that Dick Grayson has been around since 1940 because he’s a young hero, even the first teenage/ kid superhero for a lot of fans. People also forget how much of an icon and an integral member of the DC Universe Dick Grayson is, so when he changes it affects a lot of other characters, not just in the Bat-family, but Titans and more (though the Titans fallout hasn’t been touched on yet). In short, this new take is Nightwing got shot in the head, he got better, and now he’s different. Trying to find a new him. He’s Ric Grayson.
A lot of Nightwing writers usually try to give Nightwing new or non-major Batman villains for him to face. Pitting him against Blockbuster and creating new classics like Raptor, for example. Percy decides to focus on Scarecrow, which gives an interesting foray into the mental effects of fear and memory. Scarecrow’s obsessed with fear and Nightwing is a fearless hero, or was. We don’t know if Ric is the same as Dick. This could lead to some interesting parallels between past Dick’s interactions with Scarecrow and Ric’s interactions. Is he still that fearless young adventurer or has that changed too?
This story is kind of like the classic quest for finding yourself, but instead of trying to find his old self, he’s trying to be a new person. He’s running away from Nightwing, a decision that makes him seem eerily similar to Jason Todd at first, but upon re-reading the issue this reviewer realized how drastic a change this is. He doesn’t just have memory loss, but personality loss, and paralleling with flashbacks to his Robin years shows the comparison between who he was and is now. The young, hope-filled hero and this new stranger. We see he still has some heroics in him, but the last panel is pretty heartbreaking for fans.
In conclusion, this seems like an awesome new take on a classic character which has shown new takes can work. Travis Moore, Chris Mooneyham, and Klaus Janson are all listed as artists in this book and they do a spectacular job drawing bald Nightwing, but have I no idea how they’re working together on the same issue. Their consistency alone is an astonishing accomplishment. Also, the character designs are amazing, both classic and new. Scarecrow looks like a good mix between his classic look with a nice creepy noose around his neck. I’m also excited to learn what all the colorful new friends Ric’s made in a bar are like. I’m also eager to see this Nightwing take on classic Batman villains for a change and how he’ll respond differently. I really hope this run dives deep into Ric Grayson before the certain return of Dick and that it’s not just a solo arc.
Verdict: 3.5 out of 5