Wednesday, May 3, 2023

Bullet Review: Nightwing #103

Nightwing #103 came out a bit ago but deserved a quick peek here. Over the last several months, there has been a back-up feature in the book. Writer C.S. Pacat and artist Eduardo Pansica have been telling a story of Nightwing and Jon Kent teaming up.

Now the story has had some twists and turns. I wonder how it would/will read if all the backups are read in one sitting. What initially got me excited was the premise that Dick was going to train Jon on how to use his powers physically ... how to fight. This physical aspect of hero-ing was something sadly missing in the Son of Superman title, written by main Nightwing scribe Tom Taylor.  

That kernel of the story has been pushed a bit to the background as the two are now investigating an explosion and a trapeze mystery at a circus. Someone cut one of the trapeze ropes, almost killing the mother in a mother/son trapeze act. Sounds pretty similar to the Grayson murders, no? With the new element of mystery added, this story has instead become a compare/contrast tale between Dick and Jon. How Bruce is different than Lois in investigating, for example. 

Ultimately, this chapter has them solving the trapeze rope crime. The solution is a bit saccharine for me but might be playing in on the theme that children (like Dick and Jon) are sometimes pressured into following in the family footsteps and that isn't always healthy.

Eddie Pansica continues to bring us very good art on the story even if this one is mostly people talking about clues and feelings. Not much action here ... something I hope we eventually get.

But there was one moment that stuck out that deserved a nod here.

This story started with Dick continuing to mentor Jon. 

Here the tables turn.

Dick seems to be a bit somber remembering fondly his time in the circus. Jon points out that Dick didn't grow up in the circus, he grew up with Bruce, as Robin. In fact, he grew up fast ... perhaps missing out on a 'normal childhood'.  

Jon reminds Dick that he also lost time and missed out on childhood. Of course, Jon's lost years were in a volcano being tortured by Ultraman. But whenever he thinks about that lost time, it invigorates his want to help people ... like Nightwing.

I liked this moment, a teaching moment from Jon to Dick after so many have gone the other direction. I also like that both Taylor and Pacat are really looking deeply into those lost years and how it would impact Jon. In some ways, I think Brian Michael Bendis sort of swept the trauma under the rug.

Now I am NOT saying I need Jon to be flawed, suffering, and 'Tom King-ish' in his nature. I like he has moved beyond. I don't think it needs to be mentioned often. But Jon should remember it and reflect on it. 

Glad Pacat gave us this.

Overall grade: B

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