Tuesday, May 17, 2005

NIGHTWING #108

Right. So obviously my cautiously accepting reaction last month was just residual numbness from Chuck Dixon's run. Because this issue hurt my brain.

Specifically, particulars of the plot. Like, say, Dick Grayson going undercover as Dick Grayson.

Everyone has been calling this the "Nightwing does Donnie Brasco" arc, for fairly obvious reasons. But Donnie Brasco was a lot cleverer than this -- not to mention not being charged with keeping a second set of identities secret.

Tommy Tevis's crew managed to open a newspaper and realize that Dick was Bruce Wayne's adopted son (something that the background check by the Bludhaven PD missed) and Devin Grayson gets credit for acknowledging the improbability of them not knowing. Dick's story of falling out with family and employer worked well enough, too -- he's not even faking the all-at-sea confusion.

But my ability to roll with the scene is being tested by her decision to go with his real name. Even Donnie Brasco wasn't really Donnie Brasco -- that was a fake name. You don't double-cross the mafia and leave your family exposed like that. Especially when part of your descent into depression was caused by the bad guy who knew your civilian identity systematically destroying every element of your personal life. Devin Grayson was anything but subtle in foreshadowing that, having Babs Gordon chastise Dick for being extraordinarily cavalier with his identity, which he was being. (At the time, it had the stretchy feeling of someone going out of character to set up a plot point.)

It doesn't matter that Dick's surviving family pretty much is restricted to Bruce and Bruce can protect himself. Going to work for the mob in order to destroy it puts everyone who was on Blockbuster's list back in danger -- and that list was the justification Dick used to let Tarantula murder Blockbuster. Grayson has always written a Nightwing with self-destructive tendencies -- at his most distraught, his recklessness borders on the suicidal (e.g., Gotham Knights: Transference) but he's never careless with others' safety. This is being extremely careless and, if nothing else, Blockbuster should have taught him that lesson.

Dick using his own name is bad enough in terms of endangering his remaining circle, folks like Amy Rohrbach and her family. But what about the risk of someone drawing the line between Dick Grayson and Nightwing?

In the aforementioned Transference arc (GK 9-12, I believe), Grayson has Dick explain to Tim what sort of repercussions there would be if Bruce were to suddenly up and announce that he was Batman. He details the arrests of not only the costumed crew, but also folks like Leslie and Alfred as well as other consequences. Grayson's Dick knows that one domino sets off dozens more. I'm not sure I can swallow his convenient amnesia here just so that Grayson can drag him through the angst bog some more and then have Batman swoop down and save him.

I can be extremely gracious and say that between his police training and his status as the adopted son of a wealthy eccentric, Dick could have learned martial arts for completely above-board reasons and that's his excuse for the displays of prowess. Dick can lie his way out of that. But. Why on earth would Dick tote along the Nightwing costume? Forget about the obvious concern about it being stored in an insecure place -- and no, I don't think that the costume is what is in the suitcase on the last page. This whole arc is about him not being Nightwing and not feeling worthy of being a hero. If this is supposed to be Dick's search for redemption -- to earn the right to be a good guy and to live up to Batman's expectations of him, why bring along the kevlar-nomex underwear? Even if Devin Grayson wants to forget Dixon's Nightwing: The Target story, where Bruce forbade Dick to use the Nightwing costume while trying to clear himself (as Officer Dick Grayson) of murder, it muddles her storyline.

2 Comments:

Anonymous Mara said...

Dick's using his real name?

DICK'S USING HIS REAL NAME?

::is dead from dumb::

I...I...I...

I'm actually speechless from the stupidity of that.

Tue May 17, 04:41:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Brian Cronin said...

I have given Devin Grayson a lot of grief on her Nightwing, but I honestly WAS giving her a fresh start with this arc...and man...I have not enjoyed it so far.

The art is really nice, though!!!

Sat May 21, 05:12:00 AM EDT  

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