Wednesday, October 30, 2013

SPOILERS: Nightwing Annual #1

Dick is back in Gotham, moving the rest of his belongings with the help of Barbara. Both, obviously going through a lot lately, catch up a bit, but they take notice of the Batsignal, and knowing Bruce is out of town (thanks to Alfred) Dick decides they should help, and goes to meet with Harvey.

Turns out there've been a lot of arson attacks in Gotham lately, and they've all been centered around an actress named Cindy Cooke. Her agency and production company have all been burned to the ground, and most recently, her ex boyfriend Ted Carson (and his apartment) were torched as well. Cindy doesn't want to talk to the cops though, because she's heard that "freaks" handle "freaks" in Gotham.

After Dick and Babs talk to Cindy, it turns out that the prime suspect is Garfield Lynns, or "Firefly" as he was called on set. Why? Well, he was the pyro guy for her movies, but got fired recently. Speaking to the director who fired him leads the former Robin and Batgirl duo to Lynn's old workshop. While investigating, Dick brings up Cindy and her ex, who could never get it to work, and compares it to himself and Barbara. Dick flat out asks Babs if she'd like to just go for it, and move to Chicago with him. Nothing really gets answered, but the silence is cut by them finding a list of targets, with three crossed out, and the final, a charity dinner, unmarked.

Naturally, the idea is that the charity dinner is the next target for Firefly, but something isn't right, as Cooke has nothing to do with the dinner. Dick and Babs realize it was an obvious set up to get the cops away from Cindy, and sure enough, Firefly is back at her apartment, and despite Dick and Babs' efforts, seemingly firebombs it and Cindy.

Dick jumps into the fire to try and rescue Cindy, but brings out a charred corpse. Turns out though, it's not Cindy. A security guard who survived tells them that it's Cindy's agent. But with Cindy still alive somewhere, they ask themselves why Firefly would try and fake her death, and then it becomes clear.

Out at a dock, Cindy wakes up to Firefly, but surprise! It isn't Lynns, it's Ted, her ex, who killed Lynns in his apartment, to fake his own death, and throw the cops off by pretending to be Lynns. Carson's whole plan was to fake their deaths, and escape to a new life, where they could finally make it work... of course, Cindy doesn't think killing a bunch of people is romantic at all, Carson gets mad, Dick and Babs show up, they fight, and of course Carson gets defeated.

As the police are wrapping things up, Dick talks to Cindy about Ted. Apparently he could never deal with her success, and couldn't accept life changing so much. She mentions that you can't force something to work between two people, which strikes at home with Dick. After he's done there, Dick meets with Babs again, and the proposition he brought up comes up again. Babs doesn't have an answer for Dick, but tells them they'll talk about it in the morning.

Cut to: the next morning, Babs shows up at Dick's apartment, but he's already gone, on the road back to Chicago. Babs calls, and Dick makes some excuse for being called back sooner than he thought he'd be, but Babs understands and tells him he couldn't leave anyways. The two wish each other well, and the issue ends on a scene from their first date as Batgirl and Robin, where they take a picture that was found by Dick earlier in the issue.


The Good:

Always love me some Dick/Babs interaction, and being that this issue was 100% that, I found it very enjoyable. I liked what Higgins did with mirroring their relationship to New 52 Firefly's and Cindy's, it's as if it was putting up a dark mirror to it, putting a hero and villain in the same sort of situation. I thought it was a clever device to put Dick back into perspective. I also sort of laughed at the ending, because it's quite possibly the most Dick Grayson ending ever. Like... of course he left, of-fucking-course. 

The Bad:

The art was generally good, but there was some fill in here and there. Masters and Sampere's art weren't "Frank Quitely to Scott Kolins" different, but the switch was noticeable, and I'm just all about consistency. This isn't a fault with this issue specifically, but I feel like DC should start the production of these annuals earlier? You'd be hard press to find one with no fill-in. Also, when they find the list in Lynn's apartment, it has his own name on it crossed out, and no one points out how that's weird. I'm guessing it was an error, as Ted Carson (who faked his own death) probably should have been the name crossed out. Reading that, it sort of gave away the twist a bit early, especially after "Firefly" tells "Ted" he would have liked the smell of the gasoline. Also, New 52 gripe, I just don't like the unceremonious dismissal of a bunch of classic characters. I mean... not like I was a huge Firefly fan, but still.

The Bottom Line:

I'm not a "shipper," I draw a line of where I stop caring, but I've always liked the Dick Grayson/Barbara Gordon dynamic. Even though you sort of come in knowing that they aren't going to have a magical fairytale ending, this issue still provides a good helping of their complex relationship. Add the juxtaposition with the antagonist's own relationship problems, and you a good one and done story that does much more than just pander to Dick/Babs shippers, and really does offer up a fulfilling short story about the two.


1 comment :

  1. All of my friends are huge Firefly fans, is he big in some animated series? This Annual convinced that he can be a compelling villain so I don't really care about this change