Nightwing Vol. 1: Better than Batman Overview
Nightwing Volume 1: Better than Batman is the first collected edition in Nightwin’s Rebirth run from Tim Seeley as writer and Javier Hernandez as the artist. It sees Dick Grayson ending his stint as a spy and return to being Nightwing in the suit. Before he can finally do it he has some small issues to deal with regarding the Parliament of Owls and a new friend/foe Raptor.
Nightwing Volume 1: Better than Batman collects Nightwing Rebirth #1, Nightwing #1-#4 and Nightwing #7-8 with gaps being filled with the crossover arc Batman: Night of the Monster Men.
|Book Name||Better than Batman|
|Edition Reviewed||Collected Edition|
|Artist(s)||Javier Fernandez, Yanick Paquette|
|Where to Buy||Amazon|
|Notable Heroes||Nightwing, Robin (Damian), Batman|
|Notable Villains||Parliament of Owls, Raptor|
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Nightwing Volume 1: Better than Batman Review
Let me start by saying I am a big fan of Dick Grayson as a character, from when he was Robin, to Batman, to a spy and now Nightwing again. Vol. 1 Better than Batman is a good story that’s easy to read, not overly complicated and never becomes too convoluted and a try-hard book like Batman’s Rebirth entry up until this point. Tim Seeley begins with the Rebirth special which recaps New 52/Grayson to the present day. If Rebirth is where you want to start with Nightwing, like me, then you will not be lost or bogged down by the goings on of issues gone by.
However, you may enjoy it a lot more if you read the Owls storyline at the very least from the earlier volumes of the new 52 but again it not essential. Plot wise, Better than Batman is on the verge of being a bit unbelievable but to too much. Dick Grayson has been threatened by the Parliament of Owls (Parliament from now on) to work for them otherwise they will explode the bomb inside Damian’s head. However, Dick has managed to get the explosive out safely and without the Parliament’s knowledge – he can now try and destroy them from the inside out without fear of losing Damian.
The only farfetched part I wasn’t too keen on is why the Parliament would even risk allowing an enemy into their ranks let alone expect him to do everything they asked. Also, Batman is awfully calm about the explosive being there as is Damian himself. The same goes for the new character of Raptor who Nightwing has been ordered to team up with on a few of the missions and the core of Better than Batman.
Tim Seeley packs every issue with a lot of character development and wastes no pages at all. Readers will enjoy learning a bit more on the history and lore of the Parliament and how far they’re willing to further their grip on the world – kidnapping, DNA manipulation to name a few. Seeley even adds that there are senior members of Parliament who don’t have it all under control – hiring Nightwing and Raptor being one.
Seeley’s new character, Raptor, has been hit and miss with some reviewers out there but I generally liked the addition. Raptor is a character with a deep connection with Nightwing’s past and is a similar person to Nightwing except one edges more to the dark and the other to the light. Both characters having a broken past where one was helped long and the other didn’t get as much support. Together they made an interesting pair with plenty of humorous exchanges and great action moments. The biggest difference is how they both perceive the definition of justice.
Their mission is to do some work for the Parliament while secretly they’re both trying to take the Owls down from the inside. The Owls storyline seems to go on and on forever and when they first arrived they were a real threat when these days it feels like they’re just over the top rich people rather than the deadly Illuninati type organisation they started off as. They aren’t in it much though as bulk of the book is about Raptor and Nightwing’s relationship and the missions themselves. If you are truly bored of the whole Owls thing though then you will probably be really bored of this one.
You get what you would expect to get from a Nightwing book in Better than Batman as the characterisation is mostly spot on. Nightwing is serious but can be light hearted, has a strong sense of right and wrong and is an excellent strategist, fighter and leader. A couple of times he messes up but is quick to apologise and atone for his mistakes but it doesn’t sway him off his course. A more human Batman is probably the best way to describe Nightwing. With a title like “Better than Batman” some would expect ego and arrogance but Seeley writes Nightwing true to form and there’s none of that throughout.
Fans of Batgirl (like me) will be pleased to see there’s some time for their relationship during the middle bit, I’ve always like the human side of the Batgirl books and both of them together provide a welcome break from the heavy Owls/Raptor plotline. The only bug-bear I had during this is wondering why no one was in Gotham at the time, however Barbara Gordon does comment that the Gotham Twins are currently patrolling which places this exactly the same time as I am Gotham with the second half happening after Night of the Monster Men.
It’s been all positive so far in this review of Vol.1 Better than Batman. However, I felt the art was not quite up to par in this Rebirth series when comparing to others, especially the excellently drawn Batman Rebirth series. At times, faces looked a bit clumsy with out of proportion facial features such as chins and foreheads. Sometimes, Dick Grayson himself looked way older than what he should be, Damian’s head looked round like a troll. Facial expressions were also a bit limited with only a select amount of emotions on show.
That’s not to say that the art is truly bad though as it isn’t, it’s just “ok” and for the most part does a good enough job to keep you engrossed in the action. Nightwing’s suit is looking really good and external characters such as Batman, Damian in parts and Batgirl are represented well. If anyone has been drawn excellently in Better than Batman it’s Raptor – has suit and gauntlet look great.
Nightwing Volume 1: Better than Batman Summary
A very good opening collection that is welcoming to new readers and engaging enough for regular ones. Great character development, a decent enough plot line and a few scenes from other characters from Gotham should keep most readers entertained from start to finish. Although the artwork is lacking in this volume it is still serviceable and doesn’t ruin the overall book. I enjoyed Nightwing Volume 1 and look forward to him returning to Bludhaven proper and away from the tired Owls arc.
Nightwing: Better than Batman Image Gallery
Last update on 2021-04-11 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API