Nightwing: Renegade by Devin Grayson, Phil Hester and Ande Parks
Obviously, I’m hugely nerdy, love comics and will firmly advocate for them. I mean, yes some of them are ridiculous and involve Batman wearing a different colour of the rainbow every night or Superboy punching reality so hard it breaks or Superman spinning the earth backwards. Whatever. And they can be very messy and complicated with so much reconning that you feel like your in a low budget, Canadian sci fiction film with some incredibly non-medicinal amnesia (X-men, I’m looking at you). And they’re very often made into truly terrible movies. Everyone can pick their own example for that one.
And yes, people used to blame comics for turning our children into violent delinquents but we’ve moved on from that (now we can blame video games!) and my parents still think I need to stop reading this trash (if only they knew) but I’m still pretty sure I never will because sometimes there are stories in comics that aren’t motivated by the main character getting turned into a mythical beast by a goofy villain or people getting punched by aliens. Sometimes they are mostly about people.
I like stories about people.
Which brings me to the end of my “in defense of my laughable Batman obsession” section and onto Renegade.
Renegade follows Mobbed Up, which was mostly devoted to Dick Grayson joining the Bludhaven mafia. There was supposed to be some implication that he might actually have gone kind of dark side, but it didn’t really stick. After the big players are all arrested at the end of the last book Dick apparently needs a new plan, which seems to involve working for Deathstroke who is, as his name suggests, pretty evil. He gets a new costume, calls himself Renegade and starts teaching Ravager, Deathstroke’s daughter, everything he knows, including how to me a good guy. I feel like that was the tactical error the writers made when trying to convince me that Dick wasn’t just playing them and had actually joined team not-so-nice.
Anyway, as predicted Dick was never really evil, just manipulating them all in a very elaborate plot to gridlock crime as much as possible in his city, but it all backfires horribly when something really, really bad happens.
And as all these things are happening Dick’s tying to fix them, not because he thinks it’s right so much as out of habit. His whole life has been about fighting bad guys, so he does it even when he feels too guilty and hopeless and alone and miserable to really care if he survives the fight. At this point he’s barely on speaking terms with Bruce, has recently broken up with Barbara and just found out that Bruce will officially adopt Tim. He’s no longer working as a police officer, recovering from a pretty serious injury and shaken by his role in the death of some bad guy (yup, let me vague that up for you – actually I have no idea what happened, I haven’t stumble upon that comic yet). All of these things make him, among other things, suicidally reckless and kind of hopeless.
Of course at the end , after he has an epiphany, nearly dies, is rescued and yelled at by Bruce, he starts to realize that all the “bad” things he’s done haven’t really been the best way to deal with his issues and tries to return to the perfect hero he was before, make things right with Barbara and try to correct some of his mistakes.
So, comic book yes. Some goofy bad guys who dress in orange and blue phantom of the opera costumes yes. Superman, yup. But, mostly a story about someone feeling like they can’t escape their mistakes, making bad decisions and realizing what they have to do to make it right. Who hasn’t had that day happen to them?
Last movie I watched: Superman/Batman Public Enemies. I just had to check and make sure I hadn’t missed anything.
Last TV show I watched. Grimm! Hank knows!