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Sunday, October 12, 2008 

Nightwing continues on a train wreck path

Comics Should be Good looks at issue 149 of the former Teen Wonder's title, and from the description of the "torture porn" taking place in this chapter of Dick Grayson's solo book, it's clear that this book is headed for disaster. Even if this is the result of Scarecrow's fear serums, I think it's getting more than a bit out of hand. The following paragraph may sum it up best:
Sweet fancy Moses, this is yucky. I realize that pretty much all of it doesn’t actually take place, but that doesn’t make it any less yucky. And Carol does die “in reality,” so there’s that (and I think we can safely put this in the Women in Refrigerators section as our Dread Lord and Master defines it, as her death does serve a purpose in the context of the larger story, but immediately, it’s simply to get an emotional reaction out of Dick, which is that he’s a lousy hero). Beyond the utter awfulness of the vile violence, however, is the underlying message of DC these days: Heroes can’t do anything to help anyone. Until recently, this was a relatively minor subset of superhero comics. Now, it’s basically the way things are, mostly at DC, but it’s also creeping into Marvel as well. Dick fails in pretty much every way in this comic. He doesn’t overcome Scarecrow’s fear serum, he tries and almost succeeds in “killing” “Scarecrow” (and would have if Ivy hadn’t stopped him), he leaves unconscious thugs to drown, and he can’t stop Harvey from killing Carol. It’s not the end of the story, so I’m sure in Nightwing #150 he’ll do something to prove he’s a hero, but the fact is that in this issue, he’s an utter failure. Not only is he an utter failure, there’s nothing to even hint at any redemption. There’s absolutely no reason for this issue to exist except as “torture porn,” meaning that it allows the creators to indulge in horrific violence for violence’s sake, and they can’t even use the excuse that it’s all in Dick’s head, because the character he’s supposed to saved gets gut-shot and bleeds to death.
Regarding Marvel, the negative stand on heroism has already turned up in their pages nearly 5 years ago, if Avengers: Disassembled is any indication. But back to this very troubling matter at DC: violence, even as a hallucination, seems to be getting way out of hand, and while NW's book was no stranger to bloodletting in past years, this somehow seems awfully inappropriate.

Nightwing has lost ground for almost 6 years now, ever since Devin Grayson took over the book and got rid of a handful of recurring villains Chuck Dixon introduced specially for the series (he may have complained a few years ago that DC was killing off quite a few characters he'd intro'd for the Batbooks), with the possible exception of Blockbuster, the only adversary they thought was worth keeping. And then, there was that notorious incident where Grayson may have put in a "fanfic rape" in issue #93, another embarrassing moment. Eventually, she was taken off the book, but did they try to fix it? Nope. For as seen in Infinite Crisis, Bludhaven was destroyed completely, and that may have been one more thing that's doomed NW's series, because they trashed the very city created for him to work in years ago. If they want to move him to a different locale (New York City, where he used to work with the Titans), that's fine, but that doesn't justify destroying a whole city in order to do so, and certainly not killing thousands of civilians in Chemo's assault.

It clearly hasn't recovered much in the past 2 years, and if this is how they're going to script it, then I assume DC wants it to be cancelled. Could it have something to do with the possibility that, in the wake of "Batman RIP," they want Dick to take up Bruce Wayne's cowl and cape? Honestly, I think DC is blowing it then, because Dick Grayson IMO works a lot better as Nightwing. But even if not, there's no need to bring the series to an end so tastelessly.

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  • From Jerusalem, Israel
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