Nightwing is up against a person of his past, and it’s really testing Nightwing and the person he has become. Will Nightwing fall victim to anger and let his rage get to him or will he keep to Batman’s teachings?
Writer: Tim Seeley
Artist: Scot Eaton, Miguel Mendonca
Cover Artist: Javier Hernandez and Chris Sotomayor
Colorist: Chris Sotomayor
Publisher: DC Comics
What You Need To Know:
Raptor has returned more sinister than last time. Nightwing and Raptor faceoff except this time Raptor is now endangering the people he used to protect. Nightwing tries to find help to fight against Raptor but keeps hitting dead ends that leave him with only one option: Nightwing must ask for help from the mobster and “King of Bludhaven”, Mr. Roland Desmond. Mr.Desmond gives Nightwing a tip to find the Whale’s Enders gang. Nightwing teams up with Helena to take the gang down. Afterwards, Nightwing meets up with Desmond, who tells Nightwing about the Raptor visiting him. Mr.Desmond said he revealed “Blockbuster” in front of a group of kids he was supposed to speak to. Helena overheard their conversation and confronts Nightwing. Helena lectures Nightwing about the dangers of trusting a mobster and how unfair of him to use her to help them. Helena punches Nightwing and ends her affair with him. Just as Nightwing goes to the casino to work, the Raptor appears but unmasked, readily taunting Nightwing.
What You’ll Find Out:
Nightwing and Raptor are face-to-face in Mr.Desmond’s (mobster) casino. Nightwing has been working at the casino as an undercover blackjack dealer to spy on Mr.Desmond and his dealings with criminals. Raptor sits at Nightwing’s card table taunting him. He asks Nightwing if he will risk blowing his cover and jump over the table and break him into pieces. Nightwing keeps his composure and continues to deal. The Raptor tells Nightwing that he doesn’t consider anyone untouchable and will harm anyone, even the innocent. The Raptor finishes the first round of blackjack and Dick Grayson tells him that he wins, and “Now let’s play.”
We change direction to the Stallion, Defacer, Thrill Devil, Mouse, and Grimm. All of them are at the home of Beatrice Butler (The Pigeon), where the Defacer discovered she is working for the Raptor. The Defacer tells the others to leave and will take care of Pigeon. Stallion, Thrill Devil, Grimm, and Mouse decide to stay and help for the sake of their deceased friend Giz.
Back at the casino, a couple approaches Dick and the Raptor’s Blackjack table. They try to join the blackjack game, but the Raptor turns them away and calls them a sofa pilot. Dick calms the couple down and sends them on their way, as the Raptor continues to point out Dick’s ties with Wayne and Batman, flaws, and how his mother would be disappointed. Dick turns things around and tells Raptor that in his childhood he did not remember Raptor at the circus.
Dick goes on about how he hunted down clues and talked to everyone that was part of the circus troupe then and put the pieces together like Batman had taught him. Dick concocted, On the night of Mary’s (Dick’s mother) birthday, the Raptor saw the leader of the troupe arguing with a person. Raptor followed that person. Amongst the crowd was Bruce Wayne, he was wearing an expensive Magistralis Watch. The Raptor saw the watch and started to follow Bruce Wayne underneath the bleachers and waited till the trapeze act began. Instead of protecting Mary and checking the ropes like The Raptor normally did, he was distracted by Bruce’s watch. The Raptor wanted the watch to sell it and possibly get Mary a nice gift for her birthday. While he was stealing the watch, the rope was laid with acid causing the rope to break. Mary and John (Dick’s parents) fell to their death that night. Dick watched his family die and promised himself that he would never let anyone fall again. Bruce Wayne saw another boy orphaned by a tragedy and didn’t want that boy to end up like himself. The Raptor was just a thief, he blamed everyone but himself for Mary’s death. The Raptor tried playing hero because he couldn’t stand facing what he had done.
Dick ends his story by saying “Dealer Wins.” The Raptor stares at Dick for a while and starts to laugh and says “Great detective work, better than Batman.” He then throws the card table and in the background, you can see people changing into monsters. The Raptor admits to giving them something to cure what ails them.
The scene turns to Mouse, the defacer, and Thrill Devil, where they are all at Sealand looking for Gracie. she’s a part of the Whale’s Enders Gang. Defacer tells her fellow cohorts about how Grace the Killer Whale use to be a biologist but was changed into a whale by some formula. The Whale Enders Gang wants the formula but Grace refuses to give it up because she does not want anyone to end up like herself. The Defacer sees the Killer Whale, Grace, and asks for her help to save the city from Pigeon and the Raptor.
Somewhere on the street, we see Grimm and the Stallion running because cops are everywhere. Out of a window, flies out Pigeon carrying an innocent. The Stallion and Grimm see her and talk about how all the people in the casino have drunk a formula turning them into Blockbusters. They say they wouldn’t bet on Nightwing getting out alive. We then see Nightwing behind his card table in the casino surrounded by the Blockbusters, former gambling tourists. Nightwing is taking off his blackjack dealer clothes and dawns his Nightwing suit.
What Just Happened?
Well, this issue had a lot, but good information. Finally got the backstory of the Raptor’s true self and the actual reason he wasn’t there to protect Mary.
I felt the story was stunning, kept you on edge, and was filled with raw emotions by bringing up Dick’s past and how it affected his present self.
We also know why the Raptor has that claw on his hand as it turns out, he had leprosy. After the death of Mary, the Raptor took on his villainous persona and covered up the leprosy skin lesions on his hand with the claw. The Raptor is ashamed of his past and hand, as it’s the hand that he used to steal with. The Raptor seeks the destruction of Dick because the Raptor feels like Dick abandoned and forgot him. Leaving the Raptor alone and full of anger. The punishment of Dick seems to be the only thing that Raptor wants and will do anything to make Dick pay. You can feel the Raptors rage and hurt. This villain is a challenge for Nightwing and makes me crave for the next issue so I can see how the story arc plays out.
The Killer Whale scene tells where the serum for the Blockbusters came from and how Killer Whale will probably create some anti-virus with the help of Defacer, Mouse, and Thrill Devil. It’s interesting to see these Villains again and also helping Nightwing by trying to be good guys. The Pigeon twist seems to lead to a new chapter that may come back later and surprise Nightwing.
The only weird and useless part of this issue is the scene with Detective Svoboda. Her role was limited and seemed unnecessary. I don’t really know why they put her in this issue, but moving on.
The artwork was amazing, Scot Eaton and Miguel Mendonca both do great work. I especially love the shading on the Raptor, as it makes his character look more sinister. Coloring was also great by Chris Sotomayor, everything seemed perfectly balanced.
Final Thought: Overall this is a fantastic issue with minor flaws but overall it came together. I love the art and how well the story is being put together in this arc. I cannot wait for the next issue, the anticipation is killing me!