The Young Knight Spreads His Wings

April 1, 2005

Nightwing: A Knight in Bludhaven TPB
Writer: Chuck Dixon
Artist: Scott McDaniel

By Avi Green

Long before the hack work that Devin Grayson ended up doing on this book, when Chuck Dixon was first writing it in 1996, Nightwing was one of the most entertaining Bat-spinoffs being published by DC. After the New Titans ended earlier that year, that was when things started going in giving the former Teen Wonder and former Robin his own book to star in, as he took up residence in Bludhaven, Gotham’s neighboring city, where, as he learned, he wouldn’t find that many police allies in its already corrupt police headquarters, which was run by the crooked chief Redhorn and his then assistant Dudley Soames, who later became known as Torque (an idea I’ll need to elaborate on in the future).

Dick Grayson, alias Nightwing, travels to Bludhaven primarily in order to search for the murderer who’s been putting a number of low-ranking gang hoodlums to death by twisting their necks around on a 360 degree radius. Yes, seriously. The first criminals he meets up with and faces off against are members of the Black Mask sponsored gang, which has been trying to move in on Bludhaven territory, and when Nightwing goes to deliver some evidence to the local police station after surviving his encounter with the gang members, he finds that that may have been a mistake: chief Redhorn, whom he turns to, is corrupt and wants to get rid of this vigilante to keep him off his turf, and Dudley Soames, his deputy and partner, is also, but enables Nightwing to escape, intending to play both ends against the middle in his own criminal schemes, as even Dick himself realizes. Following that, Nightwing’s got to keep on piecing together the puzzle leading to the criminal responsible while facing a few other characters who’d become part of the recurring handful of adversaries in the book as well, such as Lady Vic, the assassin for hire who’s also got herself a hefty butler (and which could also give a hint as to the leading adversary Nightwing will have to face).

Dixon succeeds remarkably at making Dick Grayson his own man on a turf he can call his own. And Scott McDaniel’s artwork here is great, fitting the tone of Gotham’s neighboring city, where the authorities aren’t the reliable bunch they are over in Gotham, quite well. And the action/suspense scenes all prove exciting too. One of the best parts here is the intro, which is "written" by Barbara "Oracle" Gordon herself, telling about how Nightwing came to be, and how impressed she is with him.

Nightwing: A Knight in Bludhaven is a very recommended compilation by Dixon, one of the best Bat-scribes of the 1990s, and makes good use out of the former Teen Wonder, now his own man. As the first of a couple of compilations for this series, this was certainly a good start, and is well recommended.

Copyright 2005 Avi Green. All rights reserved.

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