Growing up, Nightwing was always my favorite member of the Bat-Family. I missed the transition of Dick Grayson from Robin to Nightwing (thanks mom and dad for not having me sooner!), but by the time I started reading comics; Dick had already established himself as a highly respected, talented, and trustworthy superhero in his own right. If Batman was the “father” of the family, Dick was the cool older brother that would tease you, but you knew would have your back no matter what… and he had absolutely NO problem with standing up to Batman if he felt he needed to.
NIGHTWING #35 has Dick back in Blüdhaven, although a more brightly lit one due to the city legalizing and capitalizing on gambling. However, Blüdhaven with brighter lights doesn’t mean that it’s any less corrupt or violent, as we see a grandmother killing a blackjack dealer after a (thus far) unknown person at the table whispers something we can’t understand to her.
Meanwhile, outside a limousine has taken to running over people and Nightwing does what he does best– crashes through the moonroof and takes everyone inside, out. All while he’s cracking jokes the whole time. The detective investigating the incident likes him, but the mayor doesn’t share her sentiment.
The issue not only showcases Nightwing, but Dick Grayson and his struggles with trying to maintain a life without Bruce. He’s cut himself off from any financial help, making ends meet by owning and running a cross training studio. It’s clear, though, that while he has a lock on being Nightwing, Dick has some work to do of his own.
This issue is a very refreshing return to what makes both Nightwing and Dick Grayson so much fun to read. Watching Nightwing shake down a man-shark by the name of Guppy as well as watching Dick stumble through a dissatisfied patron of his studio, you genuinely get the feeling that he’s finding his footing in a town he loves, and he’s determined to make an impact upon.
The ending comes out of left-field, and definitely leaves a few questions which I am very eager to know the answers to. Who is the new player in Blüdhaven, and what does he want with Nightwing? What about that ending?