Nigthwing is something of an outlier amongst the Bat-family. Unlike most of the others, he doesn’t come across as much as a loner as his old mentor, and as a result, he’s more likely to have a superpowered team-up in his own book. Maybe it’s the fact the Teen Titans were a tighter-knit group than the old Justice League, or maybe it’s just knowing that having Superman show up every time the Joker gets lose robs Batman of a lot of his power as a solo hero.
Regardless, here we are with the second volume of his DC Rebirth title, subtitled Back to Bludhaven.
Dick Grayson is having some issues with trust, as in he trusts the wrong people and that got some other people hurt. As such, he’s at a crossroads, and after a team-up with Superman, the one from the world before Flashpoint who remembers what the Nightwing of that world was like, Dick gets the idea to try moving to the city of Bludhaven, where his alternate self hung up his metaphorical hat. It’s close enough to Gotham so he doesn’t feel he’s too far from his family if anyone needs him, and he’s far enough away to feel like he’s able to find his own identity.
As it is, Bludhaven isn’t the place it was pre-new 52. That Bludhaven was a cesspool of corruption that made Gotham look like Metropolis. This one is turning itself into a vacation town on the shore, with amusement parks on a pier and a casino. If Gotham is in New Jersey somewhere around Newark as old DC Atlases suggested, then this Bludhaven is Atlantic City. Though the local cops don’t want him there, Nightwing soon finds a job, an apartment, and a support group for former Gotham-area supervillains. When the people from that group start getting arrested for various homicides they didn’t commit, it’s up to Nightwing to prove their innocence and find the real killer.
Writer Tim Seeley is doing OK here, and his Nightwing is a fun character. Much of this volume covers his meeting and romancing one of the Run-Offs group, a young woman he first encountered as the Defacer when he was still Robin. The romance doesn’t quite work.but the final issue in the volume does show the two talking to their respective friends and companions, and for Dick that meant all the various Bat-family and a few Titans (particularly the ones Dick used to date). The volume ends with a cliffhanger that implies one thing but is probably something else. I liked it but didn’t love it. At the least, the Run-Offs are a creative bunch. I somehow doubt, given the multi-ethnic nature of the group, that they were forgotten characters from past issues, but they looks like an interesting bunch. As such, let’s say eight out of ten talking ape arms dealers.