Jailbreak: Nightwing

It’s the 100th post and to celebrate, we’re going to read my favorite comic book scenario: superheroes breaking out of prison.  I adore the idea of superheroes escaping out of somewhere inescapable while surrounded by enemies and inevitably always ending up in gigantic fistfight mob climax.  Delightful reading every time.

Since we’ve been sticking with a theme the past few days, let’s continue the Batman event No Man’s Land with a little Nightwing side story (real name Dick Grayson, the original Robin). Y’see, since Batman now has to patrol and protect his lawless anarchic city from the dozen or so crime gangs and supervillains causing trouble, sometimes he needs to outsource a few missions to his buddies.  Let’s take a look at Nightwing #35-37, written by Chuck Dixon and drawn by Scott McDaniel.

Someone doesn’t like backtalk.  I imagine Batman has the money to buy gas grenades and new bat-mobiles because he cuts cost in manpower, such as sending just one non-superpowered acrobat alone into battle against the most dangerous prison in Gotham.

Even Nightwing can’t disobey Batman.  The Dark Knight doesn’t take rejection well.  And actually, the prison plan that Nightwing and Oracle come up with is pretty solid.  Grayson’ll infiltrate the prison, take the place of the inmate who looks the most like him, and then ambush Lock Up’s crew one-by-one until the prison comes under Nightwing’s command.  He gets as far as the second step.

Nightwing’s biggest strength lies not with his brilliant mind (that’s Tim Drake), or his calculated ruthlessness (Jason Todd), but instead with his natural physical gifts.  It’s been stated on more than one occasion that Nightwing’s even faster than Batman.  Well, like by a fraction, but still faster. Surely he can outrun the rifle of a hollerin’ stereotype.

Oh, KGBeast!  The ridiculously outdated USSR relic premiered three years before the fall of the Soviet Union as a master assassin terrorizing Gotham.  He even has a cool gun or sword hand, depending on his fancy.  Yes, the guy’s intimidating and powerful, but KGBeast’s also been beaten by preteen Robin twice.  So, y’know.

Stuck between a Russian behemoth and the fast approaching cowboy twins, Grayson makes a call.

A bad call.

A very bad call.

The prison takeover plan a bust, Nightwing’ll have to improvise.  I mean, how bad can it possibly get?

I love comics because of situations like this one, where Nightwing’s now trapped in an impenetrable basement pit with twenty enraged baddies.  You and I get to wonder how he’ll get out of this mess, even more so after the villains realize that Batman ain’t coming to rescue them. They get stuck with the former Boy Wonder.  What a terribly rude way for Batman to treat all those people he’s given concussions.

Batman’s rogue gallery has some weirdos.  Luckily the Dark Knight trains his sidekicks in critical thinking and environment analysis when they’re not doing backflips over crocodile men.

Favorite panel in the entire arc.  Nothing like the pure glee of a BDSM supervillain so minor, you can count all of his issue appearances on one hand.  With Nightwing’s first plan shattered into pieces, why not go for a double?

Grayson conquered a pit full of murderous supervillains.  Can he prevail over Mother Nature next?

We’re speeding towards Grayson’s great escape, because as you’ve probably figured out, Nightwing’s safety depends pretty heavily on the containment of the prisoners.  Thugs and supervillains totally have goldfish memory.  That or an inability to properly thank the good-looking, athletic, young man who bloodied and shipped them off to the police in the first place.

He totally showed those prisoners.  Can you taste the salty fresh air that awaits?  The seagulls squawking as they swoop down for their breakfast?  Not if a plot twist hat trick can help it.

Definitely the coolest superhero/supervillain suspended by chains in midair fight you’ve ever seen, right?  Time to clean up the rest of the trash, and then report back to Batman’s approving scowl.

Y’know, this arc actually leads up to the Ballistic Romance story, where Nightwing meets up with his rejected lover Huntress again while rekindling his relationship with Oracle at the same time as battling a rogue police hit squad.  It’s awesome.

I bet Batman makes Alfred sew all the uniforms back together.

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4 Comments on “Jailbreak: Nightwing”

  1. wwayne says:

    Congrats for your 100th post!
    “Nightwing’s biggest strength lies … with his natural physical gifts”: I remember that, during his short experience as Batman, Dick had a meeting with Starfire, and she told him his fight style had changed. She said that, as Robin and Nightwing, he used to move in a so fast and elegant way that he seemed to dance, instead of fight; since he started being Batman, he had begun to fight in a more rough way. That made me think about how heavily the costume a superhero wears can influence his behaviour and approach.
    As you probably remember, I’m a big fan of Nightwing, but I never understood the reason(s) why he has a so troubled relationship with his mentor. Yes, I can understand that Bruce wasn’t happy to see his sidekick fly away from him, as I can see that Dick may have some grudge because Bruce has been a tough teacher, but all this reasons seem so petty to me.

  2. I do love this particular story line. Now I’m going to have to pull out some of my Nightwing comics and reread them. 😀


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