[*Mild Spoilers Ahead]
Nightwing has been shot in the head (see Batman #55-56). The resulting brain damage has completely changed Dick Grayson’s personality. He’s not the man he was, and he may not even be Nightwing anymore. He now wanders Bludhaven, a nomad taking whatever job, drink, and gamble that comes his way. Meanwhile, we receive an old tale of Dick’s time as Robin and his rivalry with the Scarecrow.
DC seems really intent on reinventing Nightwing. The New 52 had a fairly classic take on Dick Grayson for a long time, but Forever Evil changed that. Afterwards, we had the Grayson era, where Dick Grayson became a superspy for the Spyral organization. Rebirth brought back Nightwing with the classic blues. After Tim Seeley hopped off that title, Sam Humphries and Benjamin Percy brought us slightly darker Nightwing stories, and now Percy is part of this complete upending of the Flying Grayson.
Personally, I’m not eager to see Dick Grayson undergo these changes. I love Nightwing as the upbeat and chatty contrast to Batman, and DC seems intent on making the character something darker. Grayson is where the character lost me in New 52, and Humphries and Percy’s work is almost where the title lost me again. I don’t like a grim and gritty Grayson, and that may be what we’re getting again.
That said…a good comic is a good comic, and Nightwing #50 is a good comic. Grayson may be a grim and devil-may-care person now, but the book is a weird level of fun. It conveys a lack of inhibition that really puts you into the headspace of where Dick Grayson is now. It’s fun to follow him and discover who this new person is.
The Robin and Scarecrow sections aren’t explained as of yet, so they come off like non-sequiturs for now. They’re still pretty cool sequences though.
Travis Moore, Chris Mooneyham, and Klaus Janson split the art of this one and do good work in doing so. Travis Moore brings a sleek and modern art style to the table while Mooneyham and Janson add a grittier and more line-heavy style. Each add some nice and distinct visual detail to the book. Tamra Bonvillain, Nick Filardi, and John Kalisz each add their own unique eye with the color work, keeping the visuals darker and appealing while still maintaining balance.
Nightwing #50 is an interesting new step for Dick Grayson. It’s a new lead with a completely different personality. It’s a compelling read, even if I’m not really eager for a darker and gritter Grayson. In any case, this book is worth checking out and earns a recommendation.
Nightwing #50 comes to us from writer Benjamin Percy, artists Travis Moore, Chris Mooneyham, and Klaus Janson, color artists Tamra Bonvillain, Nick Filardi, John Kalisz, letterer Carlos M. Mangual, cover artists Mooneyham with Filardi, and variant cover artist Jonboy Meyers.