Nightwing Vol. 1: Better Than Batman collects Nightwing: Rebirth #1 and Nightwing #1-4, and 7-8. The volume is written by Tim Seeley, known for his work on Grayson and illustrated by Yanick Paquette and Javier Fernandez.

The Story (aka From the Publisher)

Nightwing is back…in blue!

He’s been Robin, he’s been a super spy, a ghost. Now, Dick Grayson finds himself back in Gotham City fighting to reclaim the life that was taken from him. But when a new evil threatens those closest to Dick, as Nightwing he must once again choose whether or not to tear himself away from his home in order to combat this dark force.

Everything Dick thought he knew about being Nightwing will be brought to bear, and his relationship to his former mentor Batman will be put to the test in Nightwing Vol. 1.

Undercover Superhero

Dick Grayson goes deep undercover into the Parliament of Owls (an international branch of the Court of Owls). They think they have Nightwing under their thumb . . . .uh, wing. Little do they know, Grayson’s goal is to expose the secret society for who they are, and bring the whole court down.

The Parliament partners Nightwing with Raptor, a highly skilled thief who touts to be better than Batman. But, as Dick will discover, Raptor has a connection to his circus past. This back story could be fun to explore in future issues.

This collection is a solid introduction to the new Nightwing reader. The storyline is fairly fast paced, but does end a bit abruptly. For those who enjoyed the Grayson series, the introduction to the Rebirth series provides a nice bridge.

Awaken to Justice

The Owls are over the top rich, elite powerful with lofty goals of influencing society for their own good. They are the 1% who are willing to kill, cheat, and steal to keep their influence and power. They use Nightwing and Rapture to do the dirty work.

Rapture is the opposite of Nightwing in style. When Nightwing realizes what Rapture has done, allowing Owls to be killed by a Kobra assassin, he confronts Rapture about it. Rapture responds, “That’s justice.”

Like most superheroes, Nightwing has a strong sense of justice.  The way in which Nightwing understands justice is grounded in the ways of Batman. Batman’s influence on him runs deep, including how he approaches what is just and what is unjust. While Raptor and Nightwing share a strong sense of justice in common, the way they approach it is very different.

Kent Annan writes in his book Slow Kingdom Coming, “Awakening to justice, however it happens, involves listening to other people’s lives.” This is where the two differ. Rapture is consumed in his own story and how those who did him wrong never received the justice they deserved. Nightwing, on the other hand, hears the cries of the people.

Never Alone

One thing this collection does is display the connection Nightwing has with Batman, Robin, and Batgirl. It seems that Batgirl grounds Nightwing, whatever the nature of their relationship. (As a bonus, there is an appearance by Huntress).

Another stark difference between Nightwing and Rapture is that Nightwing is not alone. While he goes on this mission himself, he is still connected to Batman, Batgirl, and the others. This sense of family (much like the The Lego Batman Movie) empowers one to do the work of justice.

You can purchase your own copy by clicking on the image below:

Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for a digital review copy.