This week from DC Comics we get a story that takes Dick Grayson into territory he has never traveled before. Nightwing 83 tells a simple story, but it looks to not only redefine Dick’s future but align it with events far beyond the here and now. The cover does a great job at hinting what lies ahead, for not all heroes need masks. Dick is not only a hero, but he is a hero with a new vision of the future.
The physical fights have slowed for the time being, but the mental obstacle course keeps going. Dick found out last issue, he has a half-sister and that she is a puppet of the very enemy he needs to take down. Or is she? Melinda swears she takes down crime families from the inside, despite what her FBI file says, but there is no time to ask questions. Blockbuster and his corrupt cops threaten to break down the door any minute. He makes a quick escape with some brilliant acrobatics, stealing the very chopper trying to gun him down, but it’s what happens during and after the escape that gets interesting.
As Dick makes his escape, once again Babs is in his ear. He urges Nightwing not to take on Blockbuster in his weakened state, and she sounds quite worried. When Dick returns she is the first to run to his side. When he wakes two days later, she has his coffee ready in an outstretched hand. Barbara is there every time Dick needs her. Her support feels like more, and before Dick makes the biggest decision of his life, we finally see the extent. Dick and Barbara finally kiss.
Calling All Capes
Dick has a new idea, a new vision. Whatever this new plan, it weighs heavily on him. He and Babs discussed it at length and normally that would be enough, but Dick needs more. He calls upon pretty much every major influence in his life. We do not know what he plans at this point but the who’s who of who he talks to is both impressive and broad. Leslie Thompkins, the Titans, Lucius Fox, and none other than Big Blue himself, Superman. All these people have been major influences in his life and the world, but what do they have in common that could help Dick? I love this conversation because Dick and Clark laugh about how Bruce might handle the “news”. It’s always funny when friends can laugh over the way a mutual friend acts.
Superman’s views of Dick’s idea only heighten the stakes. Whatever it is, it sounds big, and coming from Superman that amplifies it even further, but then we get something even bigger. Kal-El lets Dick in on a secret, one we’ve known would happen since Future State. Kal-El will be leaving Earth and his son Jon will succeed him. Kal asks Dick to be there for him and guide him when he leaves. This not only shows the depth of Kal’s belief in Nightwing, but he wants what he had for his son. Kal and Bruce have been tight friends for years. He wants Jon to have the same support and balance through Nightwing he had through Bruce. I do not know of a higher compliment.
Whatever this choice Dick faces, it sounds big, and as we find out in the last few pages, it is not only big but h=perhaps the most dangerous and risky maneuver of his life. It not only puts his life front and center, but it becomes the biggest slap in the face/thrown gauntlet he could ever give his enemies.
A New Vision – A Bold Move
All his life Bruce Wayne was the richest man in Gotham. His riches and position gave him the ability to create and fund Batman. The Bat used a huge budget to fund all his gadgets and gizmos, but Nightwing was never like that. Nightwing followed a simpler path. His suit and his swiss army escrima sticks are all he ever needed. When Alfred left him the billion-dollar inheritance, Dick didn’t know what to do. He always had access to money, but it never belonged to him. What would he do with that kind of money?
Now we know his decision, and it could not be bigger. Dick calls a press conference to not only announce his billionaire status but the creation of a new Alfred Pennyworth Foundation. Its goal is to clean up Bludhaven and help the needy. Dick’s new vision is to end homelessness, poverty, and suffering in his city forever. A worthy goal to be sure, but it will upset powers like the crime families and threaten their control of Bludhaven. Such a philanthropic gesture is sure to start a war, I don’t know Dick sees coming.
I love the shot artists use to show the heroic response to the announcement. Steph, Tim, Jason, and even Damian text dick to congratulate him. Cassie then sends a massive emoji text, but it’s the phone call that follows that really hits home. Bruce calls Dick to tell him that this move honored Alfred’s memory. Bruce calling is groundbreaking enough, but you can just feel the pride radiating off of Bruce.
Of course, we cannot end on a happy note, and Dick’s new vision may be in trouble before it begins. In the final panels, we see for the first time the true threat Heartless poses. Much like many of the other titles in the Gotham Universe, dark days lie ahead.