Time for some basic adding and subtracting; If you take Batman, add youth, agility, a desire for action and excitement, a sense of humor, as well as a romantic world view and subtract the often overbearing broodiness, you will get Nightwing. And apparently, after reading NIGHTWING #1, writer Kyle Higgins is good at basic adding and subtracting.
Higgins presents a confident Nightwing (Dick Grayson). One who has situated himself in Gotham City. Grayson, we learn, has become stronger from his experience of filling in as Batman and having taken the worst Gotham had to throw at him. Grayson now finds himself excited to be himself again – to be Nightwing again – without fear of the future, that is until the future comes back to haunt him.
Grayson, a former circus acrobat as a boy, now comes to terms with the arrival of Haly’s Circus in Gotham. The circus has returned for the first time in the many years that have passed since his parents plummeted to death after criminal Tony Zucco cut the wires on their trapeze act. On top of his internal struggle, Grayson is also attacked by a masked killer-for-hire who is suspiciously just as talented as Nightwing acrobatically. By the climatic cliffhanger, the killer proves to be a formidable foe and reveals an interesting bit of information about Grayson that will impact the story Higgins is set to tell.
With this first issue, Higgins delivers on establishing Dick Grayson as his own man. One who must face the future by finding out that his strength lies in his past. The story is complimented by Eddy Barrows’ detailed pencils. Barrows excels at capturing quieter moments such as telling-facial expressions as well as delivering on well-paced fighting and action sequences.
Nightwing is a book about a man who has set up a new life for himself, only to have the old one come back. It is a story about Grayson avoiding his love for the circus and his colorful past in it. So as Gotham, a city that has a way of twisting the things one loves, welcomes Haly’s Circus back, what dark revelations can Dick Grayson expect? How will Gotham itself use Haly’s Circus against Nightwing? It’s a fascinating question Higgins sets up in this relational character exploration of Nightwing and Gotham City, respectively.