Nightwing Returns to Gotham in DC Comic Series
"This is a Dick Grayson who is conflicted."
While the former Batman sidekick has spent the past couple of years working for the international spy agency, Spyral, Dick Grayson is returning to DC comics for Rebirth.
What's changed is that he's no longer a spy; he's back in Gotham and working with the Dark Knight as Nightwing. The new Nightwing series starts July 13 with its Rebirth issue.
The comic will be written by Tim Seeley (Grayson) and feature the art of Yanick Paquette (Swamp Thing). Seeley discussed the upcoming series and explained what's in store for the character in an interview with GameSpot.
GameSpot: You've taken Dick Grayson through a lot of changes the past few years. Emotionally, where is this character at right now?
Tim Seeley: We open Nightwing in the aftermath of the Grayson storyline where he's happy to be at home and have his identity back, but he's faced this immediate scenario where the Court of Owls has threatened Damian Wayne. This is a Dick Grayson who is conflicted. He's glad to be back with the people he loves, but he's also aware that his connection to them has endangered them.
The Rebirth issue feels like a transition between Grayson and Nightwing. Does that mean that this series will be more about a ground-level hero, dropping the elements of espionage?
Seeley: We'll use aspects of what we did in Grayson that worked really well. One of the things we established that I really liked was the idea that Dick grew up as a gypsy circus performer and didn't have a home base. He's really well-suited to the globe-trotting stuff. He's going to be based out of Gotham in the first part of the story, but we'll see he's acting as Batman's international strike force of one. I think we did a lot of cool storylines with beautiful scenery, but he's back working for the interests of Batman in the beginning of the story.
Because of everything that's happened to him over the past few years, did you feel writing this new series, under the Rebirth banner and trying to appeal to new readers, to be tough?
Seeley: Yeah, for sure. It's one of the toughest things I've written. It's one of those things where it feels like I'm going back to where Grayson started but using a lot of the elements we set up that really worked. It's a balance of figuring out what fans loved the most and what fit the character the best. There was a lot more research than I expected. There was a lot of searching in my own experience and trying to decide what appealed most to me about the character. I think it was worthwhile. [The first issue] was, without a doubt, the hardest thing I've written.
How does it feel to put him back in his iconic costume?
Seeley: To me, it's funny because I think the way fans react to it is not how I'd react to it. The costume is just one part of the character. When I was a kid, he was Robin. To me, he's been so many characters that he doesn't need to be in the suit, but I love the way fans react to it. It's such a cool and perfect design. It's not the original, but it's the best. Getting to see them have this very visceral, nostalgic reaction is pretty fun and an education of the evolution of the character and the design.
When you're working with Yanick Paquette and Javier Fernandez, what was your reaction when you first started getting the art pages back?
Seeley: I was so lucky to work on Grayson with Mikel Janin. He would do this amazing, iconic version of that character. I was a little nervous that it would be hard to top that, in the experience of getting the pages back. But being able to work with Yanick Paquette, who's one of my favorite artists and a really great guy, we're gonna survive this. I think both those guys bring something to it. I think people will be surprised with how cool Javier Fernandez's stuff is and how it elicits an old-school Scott McDaniel story. The art game is definitely tops with the Rebirth relaunch.
What can you tell us about Dick working with the Court and Parliament of the Owls?
Seeley: It's picked up from Robin War where Dick has to secretly join the Parliament of Owls, which is a spin-off [of the Court of Owls]. We pick the story up to [Dick] being blackmailed into working for them, but the entire time, trying to figure out a way to take them down. For them, the challenge is making him a symbol of their domination. The dynamic is very different than what we set up in the Spyral storyline where it was Dick working for a gray organization while maintaining his black and white morality. In this story, there's no doubt in our minds that they believe any of the things these evil, bird-mask-wearing jerks, are saying, but we get to see him cleverly figure out a way to take them down.
He's very cocky in this. Dick is in-your-face when dealing with the Court of Owls.
Seeley: Yeah. There's no illusion that he's not into their beliefs, but their arrogance makes them believe that they've really done their job. That's something I want to play with, the elitism of these guys.
There's also a new antagonist, Raptor. What can you tell us about him?
Seeley: Raptor's going to play a couple different roles. That's what's going to define him. Dick's opinion of who this guy is and how he should treat him is the crux of the first arc. As we introduce him, [Raptor] is a thief who's been working for the Court to stop other thieves. As we'll see, he's more like Dick than Batman as his personality, history, and background goes. He seems like more a fit to Dick as a mentor than Batman.
You've spent a lot of time building relationships around Dick. To that, fans seem to really love The Tiger and Midnighter. They're in the Rebirth issue, but will we be seeing them again?
Seeley: That's one of the things we didn't want to abandon when we started Nightwing: those relationships to those characters and how they help define Dick as a character. We'll see Tiger more. With the world of espionage and Dick being able to work for or against those guys, it would be a waste not to use them.
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