I’d like to preface this ramble by saying that, when I was at the comic store, I almost left without this book. It quite literally slipped my mind, until I almost hit myself in shock because AD how could you forget your favorite superhero of all time. Well. For a miraculous few minutes, DC helped me accomplish that.
I should’ve taken it as a sign. An omen, possibly.
Oh, how I don’t like this series, let me count the ways:
1. A storyline I don’t care about. All about Haly’s. Look, I love Haly’s. I love the idea of it. I love the whimsy, the fun, the event and the sense of community and all those fluffy awesome things. What I don’t like, is this insistence (and to be fair, this spin on Haly’s is not unique to this reboot) on legitimizing it by making it dark and mysterious. As a younger fan, I loved that Dick was from a ~circus~. A magical and whimsical place, and silly as it could be, it was fun and it was interesting because it so gosh darned different from the terribly dark and stormy place that Gotham is. It made for a wonderful contrast, and it gave me all these warm and fuzzy nostalgia-like sensations.
But clearly I am either in the minority, or DC flat out does not care, because every time I see Haly’s reappear in a storyline it’s more dark and somber and depressing than it was before. I don’t even want to see a Haly’s show anymore. Screw that. It sure doesn’t seem like it was ever that fun to me. And every time I see Dick visit Haly’s again, it’s so goddamn depressing that I wish he’d stay away, because he seems happier beating up baddies in Gotham. I just don’t like that. I get this nagging feeling that it’s not supposed to be that way.
2. Uninteresting characters. Oh look, a fun and spontaneous romance, without any fun or genuine chemistry with a girl that lacks a personality! A touching tribute to some old guy that I don’t know about, and do not care about at all! A mysterious nemesis who’s slightly interesting, but has revealed so little about himself that I don’t have much to go on! I just. What the hell.
Look. Listen here, DC. Dick Grayson knows almost every superhero in the DC universe. His phone book is miles long, he’s met almost everyone important there is to meet, and you surround him with people this flat? He grew up among superheroes, he’s friends with superheroes, and he grew up with circus kids that I would have hoped were more interesting than the generic, flat cardboard people we met in issue 1. I just don’t understand. You think Bruce Wayne is a socialite? Dick Grayson genuinely socializes. So where the hell are all his dynamic, awesome, badass friends? I have nothing against original characters, but at the very least, can they please have personalities to explain, even just for a moment in my fangirl imagination, why they are deserving of Dick Grayson’s time?
And no, the girl being hot is not enough reason for us to embrace her. Dick Grayson is always surrounded by beautiful people. He’s dated a lot of beautiful women and men- shut up AD. That shit doesn’t fly. I’m not saying he wouldn’t sleep with her, but it sure as hell isn’t interesting to read about.
3. Wait. Haly’s is more important for Dick Grayson than being a superhero? I hope I heard that wrong, or that this will be significantly debunked - by Dick himself, of course - in issue 3. Because fuck that shit. Dick knows better than that.
4. Dick Grayson is a pretty boring guy. There, I said it. And I hate to say that, because people are always looking for an excuse to jump on this character and say “You see, he can’t carry a book on his own.” No, you know what? He’s fallen prey to some very safe writers that write him in a small box where he can’t do anything exciting, can’t do anything controversial, can’t step on anybody’s toes and then people wonder why the books don’t sell. This one is having some success, but that doesn’t mean their bad habit has ended. Oh no, it continues. Let’s make Dick as safe and boring and calm and normal as possible, so people relate to him? Hell if I know.
What I do know, is that I don’t see a damn thing in him of the energetic and free boy wonder that was so full of exuberance and joie de vivre that he was borderline irritating. Even the spark that was left from his early days as Nightwing is fading to a dull shine. DC is taking my precious circus boy and making him into, “Oh well he’s a very good acrobat.” No, he’s a fucking circus boy. He’s an exciting and witty and quirky fish out of water that happens to be ridiculously charming and good-looking. You can’t clean him up and make him walk and talk like such an ordinary, unremarkable human being. Because now he walks and talks and acts just like everybody else.
And I know that problem’s been ongoing for a while, too, from before the reboot. I just had some hope that they would finally undo some of that damage, and give him back his soul. But now he’s just a younger, more sentimental Batman and I guess I should have known better than to be an optimist, and to expect this writer to take a damn risk and make him fun again.
I mean, I have a little bit of hope left. I’ll give this one time to see how it goes, since I can’t not read Nightwing - hello, favorite character ever. It’s only fair.
But goddammit. Goddammit, man
All the awards for this. This is pretty much everything that was bothering me about the new Nightwing series as well. It is generic, predictable and a cluster of reoccuring bad clichés associated with Dick Grayson that all the writers at DC seem to accept as their canon for him.
All of this.
You know why I liked the Dick!Bats run? Because Damian made Dick interesting. He made him interact out of his comfort zone. He was a beacon of normalcy beside Damian, who was nothing short than a little spawn from hell. He could be the cheery, dorky boy again he was before, yet also be the normal guy from next door who happens to be Batman.
Now, interacting with characters as blank as a white sheet of paper? It just makes him less interesting and bland.