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Nightwing Vol. 1: Traps and Trapezes (The New 52) Paperback – October 16, 2012
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Author Q&A with Kyle Higgins
Q. What's it like working on a huge initiative like The New 52?
A. Depending on the day, it's a combination of exciting, inspiring, nerve-wracking, and a whole host of other adjectives (laughs). This past year has been a whirlwind for me. Coming off Gates of Gotham with Scott Snyder, I kind of jumped into the deep end of the pool by launching two New 52 books concurrently (Nightwing and Deathstroke). And, while the spotlight of The New 52 has been intense at times, I'm happy to report that I'm still swimming.
Q. How are you balancing making these stories and characters feel fresh and new while still respecting what came before?
A. That's actually the most challenging part of all this. With a book like Deathstroke, we moved on from a lot of the continuity that came before. We tried to boil the character down to his core and start fresh. I took the aspects that I liked and expanded on them, crafting a story that—in my mind—felt new for Slade and also tapped into the angle of respect. He's the older gun that's trying to show the new generation he's still got it.
Nightwing has been a bit trickier. Dick Grayson was once Robin, then Nightwing, then Batman, and now Nightwing again. And while we try to stay away from specific instances of old continuity, Dick is a character that exemplifies the idea of change. He's built on it. Our first story, which dives into an aspect of his life that hadn't been explored too much before (the circus and the secrets it might hold) was our way of referencing and paying respect to the old … while still breaking new ground.
Q. What stories or creators inspire you most when working on your character?
A. For Nightwing, I have two big influences: Chuck Dixon and Scott McDaniel's run (1996-2000) and Batman: the Animated Series. Growing up, Chuck and Scott's series was the first book I bought every issue of, month and month out. It's the run that really defined the character for me.
As far as Batman: the Animated Series goes, Loren Lester's portrayal of Dick Grayson was also pretty seminal. His is the voice I hear every time I write the character.
For Deathstroke, my single favorite moment/portrayal of the character was in Brad Meltzer's Identity Crisis.
Q. So what do you consider to be your character's definitive stories?
A. Nightwing: Dixon/McDaniel's first 25 issues; Batman the Animated Series: "Robin's Reckoning" and "Old Wounds"; Teen Titans: the Judas Contract. For Deathstroke: Teen Titans: The Judas Contract; DC Universe: Last Will and Testament
Q. What have you thought about the response so far for The New 52 and your title(s) as whole?
A. Honestly? It's been pretty amazing. The willingness of readers to give these books a chance—in particular, my books—has been nothing short of fantastic.
Q. Do you keep up with any of the other New 52 books? Which ones and why?
A. I try to! Scott Snyder's Batman, Josh Fialkov's iVampire, Pete Tomasi's Batman and Robin, Gail Simone's Batgirl, Francis Manapul and Brian Buccellato's Flash, Scott Lobdell's Red Hood, Geoff Johns's Aquaman … the camaraderie that we as creators have built over the past year has made the DC Universe feel like one big family. We all try to support each other.
Q. Has social media and increased direct interaction with DC Comics' fans changed your writing/drawing approach at all in regards to The New 52?
A. Not too much. I try to write stories that I, as a fan, would want to read. That said, I do keep an ear to the ground to see what people are reacting to and what they're not.
Q. What creators have influenced the new direction you've taken with your book?
A. Scott Snyder has been a big influence. Between his Detective Comics run, our collaboration on Gates of Gotham, and his plan for the Court of Owls, my current take on Dick Grayson has been informed a lot by Scott's work.
Q. So many classic characters have had their looks changed. What has been your favorite character redesign, even if it isn't in your own book?
A. Supergirl, Batgirl, and the Flash.
Q. There seems to be a lot of storylines integrating both Nightwing and Scott Snyder's Batman title. How in depth is the collaboration process with you and Scott?
A. Well, Scott is one of my best friends, so a lot of the collaboration happens without us even realizing we're doing it (laughs). Since Gates of Gotham, working together has been pretty effortless—we both approach story from the same way. That, coupled with the fact that we're on the phone together a couple times a week and G-Chat all the time, and story conversations just kind of inevitably happen. We just try to keep things fun.
Q. Kyle, you've written Dick Grayson as both Batman (in Batman: Gates of Gotham) and Nightwing now. What differences do you find yourself weaving into the separate personas of Dick?
A. I think the biggest difference is humor. In Gates, Dick was a bit more stoic than I write him in Nightwing. He wasn't as upbeat and quippy, which I think was a combination of the seriousness of the threat, feelings of insecurity, and the fact that he was wearing the Bat cowl.
A Look Inside Nightwing
"Stellar ... a solid yarn that roots itself in Grayson's past, with gorgeous artwork by artist Eddy Barrows to boot."—IGN
"I think a new generation is going to fall in love with Nightwing."—MTV Geek
Top Customer Reviews
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.
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.
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:
Batman and Robin
Red Hood and the Outlaws
Birds of Prey