Graphic Novel Review: "Nightwing: Rebirth: Better Than Batman" Volume 1 by Tim Seeley

Updated on July 7, 2020
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Natalie is a writer who works at her local library. She enjoys writing reviews, watching anime and TV shows, and playing video games.

"Nightwing: Rebirth: Better Than Batman" Volume 1 graphic novel cover.
"Nightwing: Rebirth: Better Than Batman" Volume 1 graphic novel cover. | Source

Quick Info

  • Author: Tim Seeley
  • Publisher: DC Comics
  • Published: January 31, 2017
  • Page Count: 168 pages
  • Availability: Buy on Amazon physical or Kindle, read on DCUniverse streaming service

Story Summary

Dick Grayson has become Nightwing again after the Court of Owls forced him to join their ranks. To protect Damian Wayne, Robin, Dick joined the villainous cabal in hopes of taking them down from the inside. The Court assigns him a partner, a vigilante named Raptor. But Raptor has his own agenda, and what is his connection to Dick Grayson?

Why "DC Rebirth" Happened

Due to another continuity reboot from DC Comics event Convergence, it led into the DC Rebirth lineup, many characters had their previous character history restored after the previous continuity reboot, the New 52 tried to create a fresh start to bring in new readers, instead, both new and old fans were confused by storylines and writing. There was also confusion when it came to continuity for the writers and editors in DC Comics.

All in all, the New 52 lineup was a mess with the stories being hit-or-miss when it came to quality and outside of the mainline Batman stories, other characters either had great or terrible writing when it came to their own stories.

Due to declining sales, DC Comics decided to bring the old continuity back using the Convergence event that launched DC Rebirth. Due to another reboot, the old comics were canceled and DC Rebirth rebooted popular characters again, keeping some of the good things from the New 52 and retconning events that didn't work from the earlier reboot.

Dick Grayson is back to adventuring in his "Nightwing" costume.
Dick Grayson is back to adventuring in his "Nightwing" costume. | Source

Nightwing Is Back and With a New Foe

After traveling the world working for the secret spy organization Spyral in the Grayson comic series, Dick returns to being Nightwing. While many fans enjoyed that series, many missed Dick Grayson being a superhero. Becoming Nightwing again split the fans because some of them enjoyed the previous series, but bringing back Dick’s superhero identity brought out a new enemy for him to fight, Raptor.

Many villains have a connection to Dick Grayson’s past, so Raptor isn’t a unique idea. What makes Raptor a unique character is that he has connections to Dick’s mother Mary Grayson and that is an angle that villains associated with Dick’s past don’t have. The villains associated with his past are mainly from his days as Robin before he became Nightwing.

Raptor has an interesting gimmick to his villain character that I found to be very interesting and entertaining. He’s a good addition to Nightwing’s rogues' gallery.

The Story Is Enjoyable

I enjoy reading this comic and the story for the most part. There are just a few things that I find to be annoying but overall, the story is a fun adventure superhero story with a character that I like to read about.

The characters are entertaining and I like how they interact with each other. New characters like Raptor bring a different take on the typical Nightwing foe and I enjoyed the story because of the new villain.

President Donald Trump is clearly visible in the top right corner.
President Donald Trump is clearly visible in the top right corner. | Source
On the DCUniverse streaming service, on the same page, it zooms in to avoid showing President Trump.
On the DCUniverse streaming service, on the same page, it zooms in to avoid showing President Trump. | Source

The Artwork Is Nice

I like the art that Declan Shalvey and John Romita Jr. drew for this comic. The art is very well done and I enjoy the character designs. The fight scenes are also well done and fun to look at.

I do find it annoying that they had to make President Donald Trump a member of the Court of Owls since it alienates Conservative, Centrists, or Libertarian readers that just want to enjoy a fun comic book, nobody likes being preached to when it comes to how you voted, which is why people are fleeing to anime and manga instead of comics. The constant preaching by comic writers of “Orange Man Bad” is going to painfully date this comic, other than the political reference, this comic would be timeless, and now it’s dated due to the author and illustrators’ need to preach to the audience. But I have a whole section dedicated to my annoyance with the politics.

Ironically, when I read the issue on the DCUniverse streaming website in panel mode, it conveniently zooms in so you don’t have to see President Trump in the panel since he’s on the far right side of the screen. He is visible if you zoom out on the entire page or if you have a physical copy of the graphic novel.

I just find it ironic that whenever comics start getting preachy they do something ironic like what they’ve done with their official streaming website, where they cleverly censor the picture that Declan Shalvey and John Romita Jr. illustrated.

The art is good and if you like comics for the artwork you’ll probably like Nightwing: Rebirth.

The Political Messaging Is Annoying

There is political messaging in this story that doesn’t add anything to the story other than the author thinks, “Orange Man Bad” Tim Seeley just had to have President Donald Trump as a background member of the Court of Owls, only for DC Comics to ironically censor President Trump out of the picture, not by actually removing him from the picture on DCUniverse, but cleverly zooming in just enough so you can’t see him if you’re using their streaming service to read the comic, and yes, I have the pictures to prove it.

Nobody likes to be preached at regarding how you vote in a presidential election, it’s why people are fleeing comics for anime and manga. People just want fun stories without being beat over the head with a political message.

And don’t think it’s just the author taking shots at the political Right in the U.S., he created a character that is described as vigilante Bernie Sanders, which will also date this comic once Bernie Sanders passes away.

Many readers were annoyed that the villain of the story is a “Bernie Bro” so I don’t get exactly what political message Time Seeley was gong for, but as someone that just wants to read fun comics I was turned off by the obnoxious messaging enough that I won’t buy this comic new if anything I’ll buy it used off eBay, but for now, I don’t mind using DCUniverse to read it again if I want to read it.

It’s Worth Buying If You Enjoy the Story

I do enjoy reading Nightwing: Rebirth for the most part. It is a good comic, but not the most amazing Nightwing story I’ve read. It’s still a fun superhero story, but real-world politics pull me out of the story because these stories are supposed to be escapism, not for the author to beat the audience over the head if they didn’t vote according to their preferred political party.

You can still ignore the political messaging and just enjoy the story, but politics will pull you out of the escapism that this comic is supposed to have.

It is still a fun story and I can recommend it because it is an enjoyable read.

Nightwing meets his new "partner" Raptor.
Nightwing meets his new "partner" Raptor. | Source

Reader Poll

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Quick Summary

What Works:
What Doesn't Work:
Good story, characters and world-building
Political messages detract from the story, pulling you out of the escapism
Interesting new villain for Nightwing
Great artwork

My Grade: B+

I do recommend reading Nightwing: Rebirth, but I recommend reading it on the DCUniverse streaming service since it is available with a monthly subscription to the service. It is a comic that I did enjoy, but I would have enjoyed it more if it had been less political.

The story is still something that fans of Nightwing will enjoy and adds a lot to his history and lore. The story gives him an interesting new supervillain with ties to his family and not just ties to Haly’s Circus like the assassin Saiko in Nightwing: Traps and Trapeze by Kyle Higgins.

The story is an exciting read and that’s why I recommend it. It’s not necessarily a must-buy comic but you should read it if you’re subscribed to the DCUniverse streaming service where you can legally read a large portion of DC Comics’ comic catalog. It is worth subscribing to the service if you just want to read DC Comics because it will save you a ton of money.

It is worth your time to read it, but only buy it if you enjoyed the story. It is an entertaining graphic novel that fans of Nightwing will enjoy reading.

My Rating

4 stars for Graphic Novel Review: Nightwing: Rebirth Volume 1

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