NIGHTWING #54 is a great issue. The visuals are edgy and well detailed. Grayson's emotionally raw journey to find himself is utterly captivating. However, I'm still not so sure about this new group of Nightwings.
87 %
Awesome Details!

Ric Grayson has an appointment with his therapist, Dr. Jonathan Crane. Also known as the incredibly creepy Scarecrow! That can’t be good. Meanwhile, a group of citizens suit up in Ric’s old gear. Together, they form a team of Nightwings. Who’s really going to need a shrink at the end of this issue? Written by Scott Lobdell and Fabian Nicieza, be sure to check out NIGHTWING #54 to find out!

Warning, potential spoilers for NIGHTWING #54 are below!

A Night Of Terror

In the middle of a therapy session, Grayson talks about his loss of connection with his Bat-Family. From the opening pages of NIGHTWING #54, we catch a glimpse of Grayson’s recovery in the hospital, right after he was shot. We gain a quick glance at how difficult those days were for him. Especially with no memory of his past and a hospital bracelet with his name on it. Seeing Barbara Gordon staying by his side during his recovery makes those moments even more heartbreaking.

As Grayson does some soul searching, a team of civilians step up to protect the city. With the vigilante’s old costumes, the new Nightwings take down several street thugs. While some in the group are struggling to be masked heroes, they slowly become better at it. When the first new Nightwing’s face gets broadcasted to every screen in the city, the people of Blüdhaven have their hope restored in their hero.

NIGHTWING #54 page 5. Image courtesy of DC Entertainment.

Towards the end of NIGHTWING #54, Grayson attends his last therapy session with Dr. Crane, earning him a clean bill of mental health. During their last meeting, Crane talks about Robin, the boy without any fear. Ric, coincidently, reminds him of this fearless boy. I can’t imagine why. When Grayson leaves the clinic, ready to start his new life, his new love interest is already waiting for him.

While Grayson is getting some kisses, the Scarecrow is menacingly monologuing (to a Nightwing doll) about spreading fear across the city. Man, this doctor’s creeper levels are through the roof! We’ll have to wait and see if these new Nightwings can take down the Scarecrow and his Fear Germ.

Too Many Nightwings

Since NIGHTWING #52, I have been skeptical about ordinary people dressing up as Nightwing and playing hero. Sadly, I remain skeptical after reading NIGHTWING #54. Sure, the group is still learning to work together. And yes, they did take down a few petty criminals. Other than that, this new team still sounds like a bad idea.

Unlike Dick Grayson, none of them have real superhero training. Detective Sapienza, who originally found the Nightwing gear, wants to take down bigger villains. Why do I have a sinking feeling in my stomach that something is going to go horribly wrong for Team Nightwing?

All in the Details

NIGHTWING #54 page 4. Image courtesy of DC Entertainment.

In NIGHTWING #54, the overall artwork by Garry Brown and Will Conrad is awesome. However, what really caught my attention were the small details throughout the issue. With blood splatter and film noir-esque shadows, there’s this gritty vibe to the city.

In the opening pages, the image of Grayson’s hospital bracelet still haunts him. Emphasizing his internal struggle, the identification bracelet becomes a symbol of his past; one he no longer remembers. Also, the depiction of Dr. Crane alone is frightening. Something about his psychotic grin gave me goosebumps, and his shadow becoming the Scarecrow image was nightmare-inducing.

Final Thoughts on NIGHTWING #54

All in all, NIGHTWING #54 is a good issue. Grayson’s identity struggle is raw and honest, and makes for a captivating story. For better or worse, Grayson is evolving into a completely new person. Will he ever return to his Nightwing mantle? We’ll have to wait and see. Also, the visuals by Brown and Conrad are vivid and intricate. With looming shadows and that eerie smile, the depiction of Dr. Crane gave me the shivers.

Despite this issue’s positive notes, the idea of a team of Nightwings may be a detriment to this plot arc. Aside from being a distraction from Grayson’s journey, civilians pretending to be vigilantes just isn’t interesting. How will these Nightwings fair against a real villain like the Scarecrow? Unfortunately, I don’t see things ending well for these new heroes.

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