‘Dick Grayson’ has potentially been through more costume changes than any other character in DC history. We have known him as ‘Robin’, ‘Nightwing’ and even ‘Batman’. In the latter stages of the ‘New 52’ Universe he was simply ‘Agent 37’, within the spy organisation ‘Spyral’. This new ‘Rebirth’ series sees him return to his more familiar guise of ‘Nightwing’ and thus far I can already sense that it is a welcome return.
Warning: Possible spoilers ahead.
I’ll be the first to admit that I didn’t really keep up with Dick’s adventures in ‘Grayson’. I would also hazard a guess that I wasn’t alone in my boycotting of ‘Grayson’ as, to me, Dick is at his best when affiliated with some sort of flying animal…
Having browsed the internet, however, it seems that, whatever he was doing, went down well… Though given Dick has always been one of the most liked characters in the DC Universe this probably comes as no surprise (#tothebackissues).
Boycotting aside, Dick, in this introductory one-shot, is seen to rid himself of his more recent alias and returns to the one that has arguably served him best; ‘Nightwing’. Back in the 80s the move to ‘Nightwing’ from ‘Robin’ signalled Dick’s inevitable shift into adulthood as well as his shift from ‘sidekick’ to a standalone hero. Obviously we all have to grow up sometime and, as ‘Nightwing,’ Dick was able to show the audience his more rebellious and charismatic side, rather than hiding behind Batman’s ‘bat-wing’.
Now a lot of first issues steamroll right into the ‘here and now’ without a second thought of their protagonist’s journey and what they have left behind to get there… This, thankfully, isn’t one of those issues. Writer Tim Seeley pays excellent homage to a number of characters that have seen Grayson through the last number of years and manages to bring out the best in each and every character. We bid farewell to ‘Spyral’, banter with ‘Midnighter’, bond with ‘Damien’, seek reassurance from ‘Batman’ and set a new focus on the ‘Court of Owls. So yes, in all, its quite a journey, yet Seeley manages to maintain interest throughout by playing to one of Dick’s main strengths, and that is his winning personality.
Artist Yanick Paquette has also managed to bring out the best in each character in his illustrations. Despite the tall order of depicting a large number of individuals, Paquette has lent each and every one of them their own sense of identity in his simple yet stylised manner.