This week’s Future State titles brings us Nightwing 1. Dick Grayson returns, and while the person may be the same, the boy is not. The Dick Grayson we all grew up with and watched grow from Boy Wonder to Teen Titan leader to Guardian of Bludhaven always liked to crack jokes. In this issue, however, its all about the head games.

His presence usually brought some levity to the fight, but this Grayson carries the weight of the dead. Batman, his mentor and father is dead. Nightwing now battles the Magistrate from the deepest bowels of Gotham – Arkham Asylum. Out on the streets, the Peacekeepers and Nightwing engage in a battle of wits. Who can out think their opponent? Can the Peacekeepers outwit Nightwing, or does their every move lead them into checkmate?

Head Games – I Know That You Know That I Know

The Peacekeepers get the jump on Nightwing by staging a fake assault. Two of the Magistrate’s robots attack a helpless couple, knowing it will bait Nightwing into action. Dick handles the robots with ease. Just one thing. Nightwing has been doing this for decades. He knows through body language when someone is truly afraid or just faking it. Sure enough the ‘victims’ are in on the plot and attack.

Layer three snipes Nightwing in the back from some rooftop as he fights the ‘victims’. When the sniper loses sight of Nightwing and the fight below he knows instantly that Nightwing is behind him. Check mate. Nightwing cracks no jokes and breaks the sniper’s femur when he makes a crack about Batman being dead. This Nightwing means business.

Head Games – Back Home at Arkham

Nightwing retires to his layer hidden in the depths of Arkham Asylum. He pulls up his friends and has a nice little ZOOM session. The thing that really drives home how bad the Magistrate has made things is the faces on Nightwing’s screen. Babs is there of course and it looks like Huntress and a couple almost friendly faces, but look at the rest of the team. Two of the faces are Two Face and Manbat, members of Arkham Knights. The enemy of my enemy is my ally.

Luke Fox then drops by in full Batman gear. Luke may be doing good carrying the cowl, but he knows he cannot face the Magistrate alone. He asks to join Nightwing’s team. Luke and Dick have a nice back and forth about hidden identities. The fact Nightwing let’s the new Batman keep his identity secret despite his knowing, makes for a nice nod of respect between the two.

After a chat, they are interrupted by the lair’s alarms. The Peacekeepers found them. The bullet the sniper shot Nightwing with had a nano-tracker. Led by Peacekeeper-01’s top infiltrator, they mean to wipe out Nightwing. Just one thing. Nightwing knows about the tracker. Where better to wage a war than on your own turf? Peacekeepers beware. Nightwing is ready.

Head Games – Simple Good. Simple Bad

This issue boils down to the back and forth head game between the Peacekeepers and Nightwing. They Peacekeepers lay a trap, layer upon layer upon layer in the hopes Nightwing will not see the next layer, but Nightwing grew up under the best detective who ever lived. Nightwing may not be a detective, but he knows how minds work. He can smell a trap. This simplicity makes this an awesome issue.

HOWEVER! The simplicity works against it as well. So far, through the course of Future State, we have seen some amazing new outfits for our protagonists. Nightwing’s new outfit sucks. It maintains the original design, but the chin strap and underarm pouches look terrible. Even the headgear for Babs looked bad.

Once again I have to come back to continuity. Too many loose ends are not adding up or making sense. Again we are told Bruce Wayne is dead. Perhaps to protect the family, Bruce let the propaganda about his death stand. Doesn’t seem very Bruce-like, but that at least makes sense. The biggest problem is Dick Grayson is supposed to be leading the Teen Titans right now. If there are different Earths in play, writers need to tell us which person goes with which Earth. They go so far out of their way to make it seem like everyone is in the same universe, it gets confusing.

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