SPOILER WARNING: The following article contains major spoilers for Nightwing #50 by Benjamin Percy, Travis Moore, Chris Mooneyham and Klaus Janson, on sale now.
The final page of Batman #55 showed Nightwing taking a seemingly fatal bullet to the head, thanks to the machinations of The KGBeast. Advance solicitations had already revealed that Nightwing would survive, though, albeit with some significant changes. Nightwing #50, by Benjamin Percy, Travis Moore, Chris Mooneyham and Klaus Janson, begins to explore the impact of Dick Grayson’s serious injury – and it’s not necessarily what some might expect.
Most notably, there’s no drawn-out recovery. Since it was no secret that Nightwing wasn’t going to be killed so easily, Percy eschews whatever Dick’s recovery process entailed and jumps forward to him simply trying to live his new life. There aren’t any extended members of the Bat-family lingering at his bedside, worrying about his prognosis, or coaching him through physical therapy. That’s not to say, though, that his recovery isn’t without its problems.
Nightwing No More
The first thing that’s thankfully apparent is that he hasn’t lost his physical adeptness. While trying to enjoy a cup of coffee – and a shot of whiskey – he effortlessly stops a robbery, with moves straight out of Nightwing’s skillset. It’s immediately clear that he’s suffered no lasting physical trauma, avoiding what could have been a predictable retelling of Barbara Gordon’s injury that likewise ended her days as one of Batman’s sidekicks.
Personality-wise, though, Dick isn’t so intact. A nip of whiskey is one thing, but that’s not the only vice he’s adopted. He’s also taken to gambling, and seems to have gotten quite good at it, judging by the stash of cash he always has on hand. He’s not spending it all on other vices, though – in fact, there remains some of the heroic altruism he displayed as Nightwing, although it’s curiously shifted.
Yes – Nightwing is gone, and so is Dick Grayson, who’s now exhibiting the kind of angst like a teenager trying to discover his own individuality – right down to trying on some different nicknames. He generously compensates the would-be victim of the robber he foiled, like the old Dick Grayson might have, but likely would not have done so if not preceded by a lucky hand of poker. He likewise compensates a couple after staying at their home – after breaking in without their permission. “Ric” or “Gray” or whatever he calls himself isn’t exactly acting like a villain, but Batman would likely find his behavior less than exemplary.
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