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With all of the new titles coming in the DC New 52, Nightwing wasn't on my list of pick ups. Not that I don't enjoy Nightwing, but I had way too many other weekly comics I was picking up, and Nightwing wasn't one of them. And I thought there were way too many Bat-titles to pick up, so I passed on it. But I was reading Scott Snyder's Batman Vol. 1: The Court of Owls (The New 52) monthly comic, and heard some people saying Nightwing's subtle connections to Batman and the story of the Owls, so it got me interested. And so, I decided I'd pick up Nightwing in trade form when it was released. How's it hold up? Not bad at all.

NIGHTWING VOL.1: TRAPS AND TRAPEZES collect issues #1-7. Dick Grayson, AKA Nightwing, as returned to his former title after spending time as Batman while Bruce Wayne was out of town (Batman: The Black Mirror and Batman: Gates of Gotham for example). Grayson is happy enjoying his current life and identity again in Gotham, but Haly's Circus is back in town, which is Grayson's old traveling circus as a boy, and things suddenly start happening. A masked assassin shows up by the name of Saiko wanting Greyson dead, a woman enters his life, Grayson inherits the circus, and the past comes back to haunt him. Now Grayson and his circus travel around the country, while he's off to solve this case.

New comer writer Kyle Higgins made a decent name for himself in Gates of Gotham, and gave a reasonable portrayal of Dick Grayson as Batman. Now that he has reign over Grayson in his old Nightwing persona, he gets to let loose and it makes for a good comic. Beyond the conspiracy Grayson is tracking down this assassin, we get a nice natural feel of Grayson's values, beliefs, and yes: witty, sarcastic humor. The ingredients I think we all enjoy for Nightwing. Much of the better wording comes from the banter and a special guest from the Bat-family. And further exploration of Dick Grayson being the Robin that was positive and looked ahead is a good character study as well. Overall, it's a good book for new readers, even if you've never read any of Grayson's previous stint as Batman (though it's recommended).

And the prime reason I picked it up (and maybe for those people as well), being some of the ties to The Court of Owls storyline. I will say that it's not essential to the Court of Owls, but the story plays a reasonable role in Nightwing that works very good on its own, as well as a better perspective of Grayson's point-of-view from BATMAN #7. Well done there.

Eddy Barrows art is amazing. His art looks so close to Aquaman artist Ivan Reis I confuse the two sometimes, because they both draw so well and similar. Fill-in artist Eduardo Pansica and Geraldo Borges are not as strong as Barrows art, but they handle the narrative fairly well when it comes in. And special fill-in artist Trevor McCarthy does issue #4, which is quite comedic, but might throw off some readers of the narrative from the art change. But overall, no biggie.

Some faults include the mentioned art changes in between issues, as well as issue #5 introduces an odd, super-natural plot device that just doesn't feel like it belongs here. Other then at, the book holds up on its own.

NIGHTWING VOL.1: TRAPS AND TRAPEZES may not be ground-breaking or sticking out among some other Bat-books, but it does hold up as a good and fun title for Nightwing fans, new and old. It also holds up as a solid story for Dick Grayson that organically crosses over with Batman #7 and The Court of Owls/Night of the Owls arc. Here's to more Nightwing in the future.
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on February 27, 2013
I was initially worried about the Nightwing series when I saw that they changed his costume color to red. In the midst of this New 52 reboot, any horrible thing could happen to the characters we know an love. But my concerns have been put to rest. Nightwing is still the young maturing hero that I've always known him to be and he still likes to mouth off to his enemies every now and then (not too much though). The story revolves around the secrets of Haly's Circus which Dick grew up with, so its a very personal story that is relevant to the character. I also liked how Nightwing's story directly connects with Batman: Court of Owls without Dick being overshadowed by Batman or other DC characters. There was ONE thing in this comic that I thought was out of place was a scene where the circus's clown, Jimmy's, wife summons some kind of demon to consume him. It was probably part of another comic, but it was so sudden and almost irrelevant to anything going on. Anyway, don't let the new costume fool you. It's still the same old Dick Grayson. And if you're a fan, then you definitely won't be disappointed.
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on November 10, 2012
Out of the new batch of Batman-Family books, Nightwing is by far one of my favorites. I never gave the super hero much thought before the New 52. However, I decided to give the monthly series a try after seeing the striking preview pages for issue #1. His new red and black suit appealed to me much more than the one with a blue logo. I know it's shallow to judge a comic book icon on looks alone, but they are characters in a visual medium after all.

I'm glad I gave that first issue a chance and immediately became addicted to it. A new graphic novel collection of the first seven issues entitled "Nightwing Volume 1: Traps and Trapezes" gives new readers a chance to jump on board now.

Haley's Circus returns to Gotham City, bringing with it a trail of murder, mystery, peril, and supernatural evil. Dick Grayson / Nightwing rejoins the traveling show to uncover the truth behind sinister deeds that haunt the greatest show on Earth. He uncovers more than he bargained for when a mysterious costumed assassin calling himself Saiko appears with an obvious taste for vengeance against either Grayson or his alter ego.

Writer Kyle Higgins takes the reader on a cross-country adventure filled with plenty of action and engaging stories. He does a great job incorporating some familiar faces into the pages and even getting one involved in the heavy duty crime-fighting workload Grayson has taken on. Higgins is also unafraid of going into supernatural territory, which many current Bat-Family writers avoid.

Eddy Barrows, Eduardo Pansica, and Geraldo Borges handle the penciling for the book. Each of their styles is similar enough to where it isn't distracting. The illustrations lean towards realism. There's one flashback towards the end that stands out more than anything else. The difference in drawings gives the section a surreal feeling like we're in a dream.

"Nightwing Volume 1: Traps and Trapezes" is an entertaining read from start to finish. There's something for everyone within its pages. We get a realistic storyline and a paranormal tale all within its pages. Nightwing is all grown up and is more than capable to carry his own monthly series as reflected in this graphic novel collection.
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on September 15, 2015
What a great introduction to Nightwing. Nightwing was my favorite Hero growing up, because of obvious father figure issues and youthful comebacks.

In this book, Nighwing (Dick Grayson) inherits his parents old Circus. Obviously sailing isn't so smooth and faces demons from his past, his future, and even a real demon from hell at one point, which was really out of place, but still.

If you're reading the new 52, you need to read Nightwing. You might want to read Court of Owls, Batman Volume One to understand the last comic in this book. But you don't have to.
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on April 22, 2013
I give this 5 stars for the writing and artwork, even though I have a few issues with it, because they are trivial. First, this story is very much about the origin of Nightwing, once the first Robin, and whose real name is Richard Grayson. As the first Robin, Dick tends to be like an older brother to the younger members of the Wayne family, followed by Tim Drake (Red Robin of the Teen Titans), then by Jason Todd (killed by Joker, resurrected by Ra's al Ghul, now Red Hood), and finally, Damian Wayne, the youngest and current Robin (see issue #18 in the crossovers for the Requiem story).

I like Nightwing a lot. I like his good attitude. No matter what happens between him and Batman, him and Batgirl, or anyone else, he never loses his good nature or loses his cool--he maintains composure even when under duress. He is a staunch professional vigilante crime-fighter who every bit deserved to wear the cowl of Batman while Bruce was indisposed (see Batman RIP and The Return of Bruce Wayne).

In these first 7 issues, we get the origin of Dick Grayson again, and it's a bit overkill, unfortunately--almost worth a star rating, but I won't... Yes, he and his parents are acrobats in Haly's Circus, and yes, they fell and died when he was a child, and yes, Bruce Wayne adopted him. That is kind of told to death (forgive the pun), but then, so is the story of Bruce losing his parents, so I can forgive it on that precedent. What really impresses with this story is just how important Haly's Circus (and Nightwing) is to the Court of Owls story in Batman main. Without actually mentioning the word "Owl" anywhere in this GN, it is masterfully tied in with the Court of Owls nightmare that Batman goes through--and nearly dies from--in that story.

The revelation that "Grayson" means a Gray Son was a creative tie-in, if a bit of a stretch. (For additional background on this bit of history, see Talon and Western).

I like the romance, which is fun and funny at times, especially the scene where Barbara has run-in with Dick's current girlfriend, and they look almost like twins. Awkward!

Among all of the Bat-series, (and I read them all), I put them in this order by preference:
Dark Knight
Batman and Robin
Teen Titans
Red Hood and the Outlaws
Birds of Prey
Suicide Squad
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on February 26, 2014
Spoiler-free review:

The New 52 has de-aged Dick Grayson, and he is now back to his crime fighting as Nightwing. Even in the New 52 past, Dick still subbed in as Batman for a bit while Bruce Wayne was missing, and it seems like this is the start of his story moving away from that chapter in his life. This storyline brings Dick back to his roots to set his life on a new trajectory for this new series. Dick Grayson fans should enjoy this volume, but if you have no attachment to this character, I think you will find it an OK read.

Spoiler-filled review:

Issue One: This issue pretty much just sets the stage for the new status quo for Dick Grayson. He is Nightwing again, after a year of being Batman, but still living in Gotham. He visits his old circus friends from Haly’s, and gets attacked by a hired killer who says that Dick Grayson is one of the fiercest killers in all of Gotham and he doesn’t even know it.

Issue Two: Dick’s new, potential, love interest, Raya, was introduced in the last issue. In this issue, she bring him to see C.C. Haly, owner of Haly’s Circus, and he tells Dick that he knows that he is Nightwing, and that his destiny was supposed to be the circus. C.C. planned to one day leave the circus to Dick’s family, so now that he is dying, he leaves everything to Dick. The assassin from the last issue shows up and kills C.C. His name is Saiko, and he learned from C.C. the true identities of Batman and Nightwing. As C.C. lies dying he tells Dick that they are after him because of the secret about what the circus really is.

Issue Three: This was a good set up issue, but nothing so big happened that I felt like taking note of it along the way. It does sound like Dick plans to take over the circus though, so it will be obvious when the circus is traveling from city to city, and Nightwing shows up in every city where the circus is.

Issue Four: This issue features Batgirl, who I loved in the 1966 Batman TV show. DC Comics recently started a Superman/Wonder Woman series, but I’d rather see a Dick Grayson/Barbara Gordon series. They are great together!

Issue Five: The reveal here is that Saiko is actually Dick’s childhood friend, Raymond, and that he and Raya are playing Dick. Raymond has been “dead” for years, but appeared in Dick’s flashbacks throughout the last few issues. He didn’t seem that important during the flashbacks, so the reveal of who he was didn’t hit me that hard.

Issue Six: This issue sets the stage for the big finale. Plus, Alfred appears, but Bruce is still missing (not just from the book, but at this point in Batman’s storyline, he is actually missing).

Issue Seven: Nightwing defeats Saiko pretty easily, so not much to say about the final fight. The best part of this issue is when Bruce (who has returned) tells Dick that he was selected by the Court of Owls a long time ago to one day become a Talon (the name of their hired assassins). A a weird side note, Raymond and Raya now know that Batman is Bruce and Dick is Nightwing. Raymond looks to have died, but Raya is arrested. What is stopping her from spilling the beans on their secret identities?
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on February 13, 2013
Nightwing, Vol. 1: Traps and Trapezes records the adventures of Dick Grayson in the post-Flashpoint New 52 DC universe. We don't learn everything about Dick in this volume, but we do get snippets here and there of the overall changes between his life pre- and post-Flashpoint. The main purpose of the story in this volume, however, was to tie the series in with the other "Batfamily" titles, especially in terms of Barbara Gordon's recovery from her injuries and the "Court of Owls" story.

As the comic begins, Dick is visiting Haly's Circus, which has stopped in Gotham City for the first time in many years. He is quickly attacked by an assassin and drawn into the larger story-line with the Owls, though this is not obvious until either midway through, or at the end, depending on whether one has read the first volumes of the other "Bat" titles (and can thus recognize the "Owls" story quickly) or not.

I can't really say too much more, or else I'll spoil the entire story. I'll just focus on a few pros and cons of the graphic novel. First of all for the cons. Dick is in love with Barbara Gordon, and we know (from Vol. 1 of the first Batgirl title) that she is in love with him, yet they don't date. Why? Why not have them date? Even Bruce Wayne goes on the occasional date, so why can't these younger heroes? I can understand that "angst" makes good drama, supposedly. But for that to work, you have to have the characters think of being together, and struggle with the idea. This is more of a case of the characters thinking they love each other, then deciding that "it wouldn't work anyway" and doing nothing about it. I hate that aspect of the story.

The other part I didn't like was that Dick doesn't seem at all the guy who was Batman for a while. Even in the New 52, the events where Dick was temporarily Batman in Bruce's short absence still happened. He has Batman's ingenuity, and so on, but he just seems weaker than in his previous persona. Then again, he (along with all of the characters) is younger post-reboot, so he's less experienced, arguably. But given the fact that he wasn't paralyzed for three years like Barbara was, he should be a lot better than he is, which is to say, almost exactly equal with her. Given his superior strength and his not being paralyzed for years, this makes no sense. I could understand if they were playing Dick and Babs off of each other, but they aren't, so it just seems nonsensical to me.

What I did like is that, despite the younger age, and Batman not being as bad as in his Dark Age (or Dork Age, you pick which name to use), they still make Dick the moral center of the Bat-family. He has the right mix of maturity and the grim determination of Bruce, and also the kindness and caring of the other Robins and Alfred. I love that Dick keeps Bruce grounded, that they kept this pre-reboot element of his character in continuity.

Overall, despite the minor quibbles I had with it, this first volume of the post-reboot Nightwing comic is well-worth reading.
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on October 24, 2015
(An additional description from the back cover.)

“Dick Grayson, Batman's former ward, must now embrace his destiny alone as the high-flyer Nightwing. Haly's Circus, where Dick grew up and performed under the big top, returns to Gotham City, bringing it with murder, mystery and superhuman mayhem. Nightwing must confront his past, among former friends and enemies from his circus days, while confronting a greater evil.”

“As he puts pressure on ex–Haly connections in search of answers about his past, one lead may be far too explosive to handle. With the help of Barbara Gordon (who masquerades as Batgirl), Nightwing uncovers the true nature of the circus and how it relates to his long-dead parents, the Flying Graysons. To complicate matters further, he must face off against mysterious villain Saiko, a skilled assassin who has vowed to destroy Nightwing once and for all.”

“Meet Gotham's young defender in NIGHTWING: TRAPS AND TRAPEZES – collecting issues #1-7 – brought to you by the combined talents of writer KYLE HIGGINS (BATMAN: GATES OF GOTHAM) and artist EDDY BARROWS (SUPERMAN).”
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on November 9, 2012
The former boy wonder is rebooted here in his own title containing the first seven issues! Dick Grayson sees the return of his past as the circus he left from his childhood returns to Gotham and all his friends with it. However, a killer named Saiko is out to murder Grayson and puts two-and-two together that Grayson and Nightwing are one! The killer Saiko becomes less and less mysterious as Grayson finds that the killer is a product of his past! Also, Batgirl jumps in to help Dick out and his lost love Raya returns!

This reboot works well with some great background info here for newcomers and a really well-done story for everyone. My only gripe here is issue 5 where he fights a crazy demon that feels very out of place with the rest of the story. Otherwise, it works well and has you guessing until the end and the last issue even leads into the Court of Owls storyline! The art by Eddy Barrows is really nice and the story that Kyle Higgins thought up worked really well. The fifth issue and the lack of the Batgirl issue that coincides with Nightwing #4 detract from the reading a little but otherwise, it's something to pick up. It's made in typical paperback format with textless covers and some neat character designs and cover sketches to boot. Overall, a good read and worth the purchase.
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on April 11, 2014
From the choppiness of the dialogue and story to the inconsistency of the writing, I tried to enjoy this book but really couldn't get into it. My favorite parts were the interaction between Dick/Nightwing and Barbara/Batgirl and their run-in with a shape-shifting assassin but it was otherwise not very memorable. The end did however make me want to buy the next volume just to read more of how it all ties in with the Court of Owls. Also, the art is fantastic.

You can skip it but it is not terrible. If you can get it cheap, give it a shot.
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