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Nightwing Rebirth #1

Written by Tim Seeley
Art by Yanick Paquette
Published by DC Comics

DC Rebirth has been great so far. Ask anyone at the Ultimate Comics register, or read some of my previous reviews. The idea is that DC is going back to the mythology of its legendary characters and making approachable stories about what makes them so remarkable. Batman solved an exciting mystery. The Justice League teamed up to punch a giant bug monster. Aquaman managed not to embarrass himself. But what do people want out of a Nightwing story?

Nightwing is a character in a uniquely DC place. This is a publisher that trades in legacy and sidekicks, and Dick Grayson has done this in inimitable style. The shortest summary I can give is that he’s a circus trapeeze artist who became Batman’s first Robin after her parents were killed. Decades later, he struck out on his own under the Nightwing identity, but he came back to be Batman when Bruce Wayne was unavailable. When he was presumed dead, he hid his identity and became superspy Agent 37. And most recently, he has joined the villainous Parliament Of Owls to save his own former Robin. So his story has been about learning from the best, then incorporating that into your own identity, and maintaining a healthy connection to your past.

So instead of getting the straightforward jumping-on point treatment we saw in Batman Rebirth, Tim Seeley’s Nightwing issue is all about putting the toys back in the box. Spoiler, Nightwing isn’t going to put his costume on until the final page. Instead, we get an issue of him saying goodbye to old continuity. He touches base with beloved supporting characters like Huntress and Midnighter to make sure everything is cool in the spy world before he launches his next adventure, trying to do some good within the organization of the Owls. He has some warm character beats with Bruce and Damian Wayne that pay off open stories there, too.

While the other Rebirth issues have been prologues, this one is an epilogue, and it might be hard to follow for people who haven’t been reading Dick Grayson’s recent appearances. But it’s a thoughtful exploration of what change means to this character, to the way we stay true to our core despite changes in life situations, and it’s a stellar book. Come pick this up, and ask the staff at Ultimate Comics to help you catch up on Dick Grayson. Three quarters of his Grayson title (where he is a spy) have been collected in trade paperback, and if you liked this issue, you’re sure to love them, too.

-Matt Connor for Ultimate Comics