What does a hero fear? What does a city fear? It’s time to find out in Bludhaven. From the beginning of this whole Ric Grayson arc, the impeding threat of Scarecrow has been lurking in the background. As a lifelong Batman fan, seeing Scarecrow outside of Gotham is a treat. He’s been beaten back by Batman so many times that putting him against Nightwing got me excited. Then I remembered that Nightwing isn’t Nightwing anymore. After Dick Grayson was shot in the head, he lost his memories. That memory loss has result in what could have been a great story, but at least to me (and it seems like most of the internet), it’s just a waiting game. Each issue I open up, I find myself thinking, “Will it finally happen? Are we getting the REAL Grayson back? Can we please get Dick Grayson back?” But no. We can’t. I know that Ric was never going to be the same as Dick, but come on. At least make him likeable. To me, he seems like a wannabe Jason Todd. He’s turned on everyone that has tried to help him remember who he is, including Barbara Gordon and Alfred. As nice of an idea as it was, give us our Nightwing back. However, this issue wasn’t bad by any means.
We start with Ric drinking in a bar when a group of out of control people smash through the alley behind the bar. The people being claiming that they aren’t afraid, clearly telling us that Scarecrow is behind this attack. Ric manages to fight them off while, across town, three cops and a firefighter meet for food. These four individuals stumbled upon Grayson’s old Nightwing bunker and salvaged the gear to become Bludhaven’s new heroes. Together, they have done what they can to stem the tide of crime in a city that has often been compared to Gotham in terms of the crime rate. While they are celebrating their victories, in an apartment across the city, Detective Svoboda (the original Nightwing’s ally) encounters Scarecrow and gets left for dead via fear toxin.
Scarecrow then leaves and unleashes his toxin on the city, leading the new Nightwings to deploy. Meanwhile, Ric is still dealing with the toxin crazed people in the alley. As his muscle memory kicks in from his life as Nightwing, he escapes and begins pondering who would do this. Scarecrow continues his tear through the city, leading to citizens going crazy and attacking everything in sight. That’s when the inevitable clash is set up. As Scarecrow moves through a park, the Nightwings arrive to confront him. The only response from the fear-driven villain to end the issue? A smile.
As much as I want the original Nightwing back, I honestly don’t mind the four Nightwings. I think that has to do with the leader of their group, Detective Sapienza. He makes me think of what could have been if Dick Grayson had never stopped being a cop. In addition, the way that Scarecrow is being written in this arc is keeping me fully engaged. His creepy aura is so accurately depicted here that you can’t help but appreciate the writing. While this is a very well-written story, I still have that thought in the back of my head saying, “Ok. Scarecrow is here. This is what will finally bring Dick Grayson back to the black and blue tights.” It’s an interesting concept with a well-written script, but in the long run, it’s not what Nightwing fans wanted. Dick Grayson was in the middle of fighting off the Dark Web while finally rekindling his relationship with Barbara Gordon. Then it was over. No resolution to the Dark Web. No relationship between Nightwing and Batgirl. No, we got Ric Grayson. I get that it all stems from Bane wanting to destroy Batman’s life, but I can’t get behind Ric. As I said, he is just so unlikeable. Here’s hoping that by the time the Scarecrow arc wraps up, we get the real Nightwing back.