Friday, December 28, 2012

Nightwing #15

I wish DC would publish one of these Death in the Family comics with the other side of this mask. Don't make me have to put in the work myself!

Last issue, Lady Shiva's plans were foiled and she was driven from Gotham City with a threat that she wasn't done with Nighwing. But more importantly, Tom DeFalco finished up his guest spot and got the hell out of here before doing too much damage. Luckily, there was no threat from DeFalco about returning to screw up Nightwing and continue to write him dumber than he actually is.

Nightwing also promised the trapeze artist's little girl that her Haly's Circus family would be safe taking up residence in Gotham. I think Batman and Nightwing like to make a lot of promises that they have no possibility of being able to keep. At least Damian doesn't have that character flaw.

The first to fall: Jimmy the clown.

Having The Joker begin by taking out Jimmy the Clown makes sense since even Jimmy knew his stupid clown costume looked way too much like The Joker. He probably should have changed a few things up when he realized they were going to make their home in Gotham City. Instead, he ended up on all of the posters for Amusement Mile in his full purple Joker outfit. And now he's paid the price. It is a bit surprising though in that Jimmy was Dick Grayson's right-hand man in Haly's. If Nightwing can't keep the rest of Haly's safe, the circus will probably be pulling up stakes and leaving town for good. With the Court of Owls in the toilet, why would Haly's ever need to return to Gotham?

Maybe not as funny as the dead robin puppet show in Batman and Robin but it's a good start to this appearance.

While trying to get the rest of Haly's Circus out of town before The Joker can kill them all (because Dick is convinced that The Joker knows his identity), Sonia Branch calls up Dick late at night to come over and sign some papers. Because Tom DeFalco isn't writing this issue, Dick doesn't Narration Box his inner turmoil about whether Sonia is coming on to him by proposing a business deal at her apartment late in the evening while wearing only her underwear and serving ecstasy and wine. He just goes over to sign the documents because that's what she needs him to do. And then he gets lucky.

"This is a weird business deal. Maybe she likes me? Perhaps this is how she ends contract negotiations. Should I touch her boob? If this is business, I probably shouldn't touch her boob. But I could probably touch her butt."

All Dick Grayson can think about while he's pressed against this hot, firm piece of flesh is her dad and his dead parents. He might have some intimacy issues bordering on Oedipal Necrophilia and a Misplaced Homosexual Electra Complex. My degree is in Literature so I'm pretty sure those are actual psychological conditions.

Just as things with Sonia were getting good and a bit weird, Dick's phone lets him know his chemical analysis of his dead clown friend is ready. Since things with Sonia were getting sexy yet complicated, Dick is glad for the interruption and runs away to put on a costume and play detective so he can save his amusement park. What the fuck am I reading?

Dick Grayson's analysis leads him to an out-of-business corporation that stole the formula for its jet fuel from Wayne Industries. It was also a knockoff. At this point, I think Nightwing should feel insulted. I think The Joker is trying to tell him something. And then The Joker just comes right out and calls Nightwing a "bat-fake." The Joker isn't really into subtlety when smashing a pie into someone's face after he poisoned them three days previously will do.

But The Joker is only in this for the insults tonight. He has someone else to fight his battle for him. His own little Nightwing knock-off.

I wonder if Barbara would still be jealous?

Nightwing says "Raya" when he sees her because he's just like Batman and is careless about his identity. I know Nightwing believes The Joker already knows who he is but this doesn't prove anything. Perhaps he broke her out to turn her into Knockoff Nightwing because she has the gymnastic skills to compete against him? Plus her ties to Haly's Circus and Jimmy the Knockoff Joker make her an excellent choice for his attack on Nightwing.

Or The Joker knows everything! I'm starting to come around to the theory that The Joker does know all of their identities. The main reason I had a problem with it was that The Joker couldn't be allowed to live if he knew them all. And Batman wouldn't kill The Joker, so what would they do with him? But with all of the Bat-family suddenly threatening The Joker's life and jumping on Jason Todd's The Joker should die bandwagon, I began to think that maybe The Joker is driving all of this chaos so that Batman is finally forced to kill him. If that's the case, then The Joker knowing their identities means The Joker will die at Batman's hands. If Batman does kill The Joker, it'll be to prevent one of the other members of the Bat Family from doing it. Another shoot your own dog moment. Talk about a nice Reboot move.

I can't wrap my mind around DC actually pulling the trigger on that though. How would that affect Batman's relationship with Damian if Damian sees that even Batman will kill when absolutely necessary. How will it affect Grant Morrison's Batman, Incorporated comic book where it seems that Damian killing The Joker leads to a twisted version of Gotham City that the United States Government ends up nuking? Okay, I can see why Batman would kill The Joker to prevent Damian from killing him and causing that scenario to happen. So that absolutely works with that title.

Back to Nightwing, he cures Raya but only so that she doesn't die with a horribly twisted clown face. And then he finds an invitation to a party from The Joker in one of three places The Joker knew he would find it:

The Joker is really spreading himself thin. He's got a party at Arkham, a party at Amusement Mile, and a wedding with Babs to get to. And he still hasn't fucked with Tim Drake or Jason Todd!

Nightwing #15 Rating: +1 Ranking simply because Jimmy the Clown and Raya were both killed. Two big supporting characters in one comic? Nice kill count, The Joker!


  1. It could very well get to that point, but I just don't see DC pulling the trigger on killing someone as iconic as the Joker; not gonna' happen.

    Maybe one them actually tries and nearly succeeds, but is stopped by Batman, thus driving a huge wedge between them all?

    Either way, Synder's built this bad boy up to such a level, he's really going to have to deliver some satisfactory ending that also makes sense instead of being a cop-out. We'll see.....

    1. I think the wedge thing is probably the most likely. The Bat Family will see Batman taking The Joker's side as he keeps them from killing him and they'll all hold grudges and get angry with him (except Nightwing. I bet Nightwing deals with it). And Alfred (minus one ear. Unless that ear is Harley's ear since Joker bit it (or part of it) off) will need some time apart from Bruce. Batman will be left all alone with Damian and Titus and Batcow and pout a lot.