The former Boy Wonder is now a former hero? Everything you knew about Dick Grayson changes here, at least for now. 

Nightwing 50 
Written by Benjamin Percy 
Pencils by Christopher Mooneyham and Travis Moore
Inks by Klaus Jansen, Christopher Mooneyham and Travis Moore 
Colors by Tamra Bonvillain and Nick Filardi

If you’re not reading Tom King’s BATMAN, but are a regular reader of NIGHTWING, this issue may leave you a bit confused. Last issue didn’t end with Dick Grayson getting shot in the head by KGBeast. But we’re getting the ramifications of what happened in BATMAN 55 here, and it’s a pretty significant change to Nightwing’s status quo. 

The damage from the bullet has wiped his memory. He makes reference in this issue to being a circus kid, so not everything is gone, but his time as a hero and all the friends he made as Nightwing seems to be lost in the ether. And Grayson doesn’t seem to want anything to do with being the man he was just a short time ago.

I’m honestly not sure how I feel about any of this. It’s been a bad week for the heroes that usually hold everyone together. Last week, WALLY WEST was seemingly killed and now, Nightwing is no more. These are two guys that help keep some levity within the DC Universe, and I’m a little worried about what it means that we’ve lost those two for the time being. 

After months of the Nightwing-Batgirl relationship starting to heat back up, it seems as though the editorial mandate on their books has cooled it off. Dick certainly doesn’t seem interested in anything to do with Babs here, and she has her own issues separating her in her own book. It’s really disappointing, because I’ve been enjoying watching them get closer over the last few issues. 

The most striking change to Dick Grayson here is that they’ve basically turned him into Jason Todd – a little surly, uninterested in relationships with the rest of the Bat-team and more comfortable with more undesirable types. And if the DC Universe didn’t already have a Jason Todd, this might be an interesting change. But as it is, it’s more frustrating than anything else. 

All of this isn’t to say that NIGHTWING 50 isn’t a well-written issue, because it is. Benjamin Percy adds to his impressive collection of DC Comics stories with this, bouncing between Grayson’s timeline to weave in a story about Robin facing the Scarecrow. And the art is strikingly well done, making this such a great issue to read, if a little upsetting. 

And if Ben Percy was going to continue as the regular writer of NIGHTWING, I might be more willing to give this whole thing a chance. I loved his run on GREEN ARROW, and what I’ve read of his NIGHTWING has been good as well. But this was, apparently, Percy’s last issue on the book. 

With Scott Lobdell taking over on the next issue, I’m not exactly filled with confidence about where this is headed, but I’m willing to give him an issue or two to see the path Grayson is on now. I just hope it doesn’t take Nightwing down too dark a path.