Writer: Kyle Higgins
Art: Eddy Barrows, Andres Guinaldo
Publisher: DC Comics
#9 joins the ranks of the Night of Owls, but it rises above many of the other tie-ins by being more than just another “bat-family member tries to stop Talon assassin from killing target.” No, here we learn a little of where the Talons, or at least one of them, arose from, and of Dick’s surprising ties to the secret organization that has had its… er, talons in Gotham for a long, long time.
The Night of the Owls has been tough on everyone, but Nightwing seems to have it particularly hard as he’s not just facing another Court of Owls assassin, but he’s also facing his own great-great grandfather, and the legacy that could have been his had Bruce Wayne not swooped in to alter his destiny. There’s some meaty exposition here that really adds to the story of Dick Grayson, and to that of Gotham and the Owls as well. Not to worry, though, there’s some pretty intense action as well, and although Nightwing takes quite the beating, he also displays why of all the possibilities, he was the one most qualified and ready to wear Batman’s cowl for a period. He shows why he’s not just worthy of being Batman’s successor, but his equal. (Although I will say that for being as grievously wounded as he was, he certainly seemed to pull himself together remarkably well at the end, but hey, that’s comic books.)
There’s actually quite a few themes that would be fun to discuss in this issue. Is there such a thing as personal destiny? Do we shape it at all? Do any of us truly matter? Is there a place where any of us can actually belong? Is there a way for any of us to truly become “better”? However, the one concept that really intrigued me was that of light and darkness, black and white, and whether or not there is such a thing as grey middle ground. The Court of Owls believes that they are the grey between the black and white of Gotham City, and that as such, they are the ones to keep the city in balance. However, this is a debate that’s raged on for centuries; is there an absolute black and white, a good and evil, a right and wrong? Is there a middle ground, a grey area where the two converge? Or are there any absolutes to begin with to define such concepts? Well, know this and then do with it as you please; with God there is absolutely black and white, and there is no grey. Jesus says quite plainly, “He who is not with me is against me…” (Matthew 12:30 NIV 1984), and to his own followers he says, “I know your deeds, that you are neither hot nor cold. I wish you were one or the other!” (Revelation 3:10). There is no middle-ground; one is either for God or against God.
Now some may say that seems so absolute and therefore abstain from declaring one or the other, but the fact is a non-decisions is still a decision. It’s those who actively choose Jesus and dedicatedly follow him that will find eternal life, peace, and forgiveness. Therefore a non-decision is as good as deciding against him. Look, God loves you, and he knows that our white will never be enough to overcome our black. That’s why Jesus died on a cross and rose again, to give a pure white that leads to life and joy. But just as dangerous as giving into the black is to believe there is such a thing as the grey. I don’t know about you, but regardless of their claim to be the grey, the Court of Owls and their deeds seems pretty black to me.
Nightwing #9 adds some much needed substance to the spectacle of the Night of the Owls. It’s not just more hero stopping assassin, but something that adds depth and background to all that’s taking place. I think some of the tie-ins thus far haven’t been all that necessary, which is often the case, but Nightwing #9 shouldn’t be missed if you want to enjoy the full scope of this bat-centric, epic event.
Score: 6 of 7
A BIG thanks to Astro-Zombies for providing the material for this review. Learn more about them at astrozombies.com.