Kyle Higgins, Will Conrad
Zero Year Crossover
Spoiler alert! You have been warned!
Writer Kyle Higgins has been with Nightwing since the first issue of the reboot. And, to be completely honest, it’s been one of the most consistently exciting reads on the stands. At first, I was kind of sad to see him no longer wearing the cape and cowl of Batman, but when it came right down to it, it was time for him to return to his Nightwing roots. But that’s not the point of the character. The point of Dick Grayson is that, at his very core, he is all about being uprooted. He’s a circus kid. Gotham City is not his home. Chicago is not his home. His home is on the road. And not only does Higgins get how he acts, talks, and moves, but he gets who he is on the interior as well. He totally knows what makes him tick. And, thankfully, what makes him work so well as a character. Batman is the dark part of the DC Universe. Superman is the leader that everyone looks up to. And Wonder Woman is the foundation that holds the Justice League together. But Dick Grayson, whether he’s Nightwing, Batman, Robin, or even just a kid from Haly’s Circus, is the true backbone of the DC Universe. He’s the heart. And this flashback issue, with wonderful art by Will Conrad, certainly proves that Dick’s just fine all by himself. In a world full of superheroes and larger-than-life characters, Dick is the one we all look up to. Because he’s the closest thing we have to ourselves in a comic book.
The Zero Year crossover issue tells a simple tale. Dick, after a fight with his two best friends at the circus, goes into Gotham to see a movie by himself. Then the power goes out, and panic overtakes the masses. We then get a glimpse of the horror of the New 52 interpretation of Amygdala, a character long-thought forgotten by most Batman fans. Dick befriends a few kids in the theater and offers to join them in their search for safe ground. But when they are ambushed and attacked by Amygdala, one of them sprains his knee and the group must decide if they are truly together or not. CJ, the leader, decides that his father is too important for him to get killed, and leaves his supposed friends to fend for themselves. Naturally, Dick takes charge, distributing masks and donning a makeshift Nightwing costume, years before the tragedy of his parents’ murder would make him become the first Boy Wonder. Amygdala returns, this time going after CJ, and Dick not only saves his other friends, but goes back and saves the life of the one who abandoned them when times got tough. Acrobatics and a well-drawn chase sequence ends abruptly when Dick makes a jump that the hulking Amygdala does not, resulting in his apparent death. At the end of the issue, we see Dick has been grounded for his little act of rebellion, his friends have forgiven him, and CJ and his friends are picked up by CJ’s father, the powerful man we all know today as Sal Maroni.
All in all, it’s a nice flashback tale that doesn’t really add a whole lot of background to the character of Dick Grayson, but still fits nicely not only with his origin story that we do know, but also adds more to his character. His heroism isn’t defined by his time spent with the Batman. No, he had that long before the tragedy made him into a superhero. And that’s what makes him special. His parents’ death didn’t define him or give him purpose or even make him the man he is today. He was always going to be a hero. The tragedy that occurred when he was a teenage just made it that much more apparent. So far, this is the best of the special tie-in issues for the Zero Year event.
My Rating: 5/5