There’s something nostalgic about seeing Dick Grayson and Damian Wayne back together again. Damian might be an annoying, entitled brat, but somehow Nightwing manages to not slap the snot out of him. In fact, they’re a rather entertaining pair in Nightwing #17—dare I say, even better than Batman and Robin?
In “Nightwing Must Die” part two, Dick and Damian follow the clues to Western France, searching for the whereabouts of Shawn Tsang. As expected, Damian continues his douchebaggery about how he should be the natural heir to Batman and Nightwing mustn’t think he’s the chosen one, blah, blah. To Dick’s credit, he handles the little hellion with class and dignity, never threatening to tie rocks to his ankles and chucking him in the ocean. It’s in the tomb of Richard I, however, that the duo encounters Deathwing who’s shown to embody Nightwing’s dark side and thoughts. The villain puts Damian in a coffin and forces Dick to experience his nightmares, before another Robin appears and saves the day. When the mysterious Robin is unmasked, Dick realises who’s behind Shawn’s disappearance: Professor Pyg, the first foe he and Damian fought as Batman and Robin.
Once again, Tim Seeley captures the natural chemistry between Dick and Damian. It’s as if this storyline is the spiritual successor to Batman and Robin, and a mighty fine successor it makes. While the main plot is about Shawn and Dick’s possible child, I’ve found myself more intrigued by Nightwing’s relationship with Damian. Bruce isn’t the most compassionate or open human being in the world, and we can how this affects his son. Dick is the older brother figure in Damian’s life, but there’s also a fatherly love and bond that he provides to the young Wayne. It’ll be interesting to see where this relationship goes in the forthcoming issues.
Javier Fernandez brings Seeley’s story to life with another exquisitely drawn issue. He plays around with a lot of different styles and ideas, but executes each of them without hampering the overall quality. As mentioned before, Fernandez delves into the different comic art periods, playing around with shadows and etched faces in particular, to create his unique signature on these characters and world. There’s something contagious about his artwork, and you cannot ignore its striking resonance.
In Nightwing #17, Seeley and Fernandez combine like the dynamic duo they’ve become. There’s a magic in this arc that’s undeniable and I hope DC’s taking note. What do you think about the possibility of an ongoing Nightwing and Robin series? You’ll find the first buyer right here.