It seems like it’s been forever since Nightwing has been readable. During the Infinite Crisis, he was built up as one of the bravest non-powered heroes, yet, after that, he was saddled with a downright awful story-arc written by the banally worthless Bruce Jones, only to have that followed by an equally offensive run by Marv Wolfman (with the biggest part of the story-arc to be continued in the pages of some other comic). Seems the dude just couldn’t catch a break.
Peter Tomasi has taken over writing duties, and, after just two issues, he’s positioned himself as the only writer since Lord knows when that actually seems to understand the character of Nightwing, and, so far, his run on the book has been substantially better than anything I’ve seen in a very, very long time. Is it perfect? By no means. Is it engaging and promising and, well, fun? Oh hell yeah.
See, it’s all about the basics in these past couple of issues. When you read over the entire Nightwing series, you see that it started off with him moving to Gotham’s sister city, Bludhaven, to establish himself as his own man, far from the shadow of the Bat. He was given a new supporting cast, new villains, along with a loft apartment for a hideout and a motorcycle for transportation. The problem is, running up to the Crisis, and completing itself through the end before the One Year Later jump, all of his new supporting cast got killed, his villains were either killed or fled Bludhaven when it was blowed up, he lost his apartment, and he was displaced in New York City.
Since then, nothing’s really happened. He’s still Nightwing, but he hasn’t had any friends, hasn’t gotten any new interesting villains (the giant goo monster that eats people and shits them back out doesn’t count, nor does the iPod killer), and he still hasn’t established himself as New York’s new protector.
And, thanks to Tomasi, all of that has changed, in the course of two issues. He’s been given the basic elements that define a superhero again! His new hideout is a bell-tower attached to an old museum, which he has bought up and become the new curator of, thanks to Bruce Wayne’s pocket book. He’s also bought up a line of real estate (again, courtesy of Bruce) so that he can have an access through-line of safe houses from upper Manhattan straight down to the Battery. He’s acting like a smart tacticion who’s looking to, y’know, do superhero stuff.
Furthermore, he’s met a girl, been visited by the JSA and Superman and Batman and Flash (so that we remember he’s actually a respected member of the superhero community), and, best of all, he’s stumbled upon a rather intriguing mystery that only he has the ability to solve!
For the first time in a long time, I’m excited to be reading Nightwing, and I just wanted to tell everybody that it’s safe to come back into the water. It ain’t perfect yet, but, hell, I’ll take it.