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Batman: Prelude to the Wedding – Nightwing vs. Hush #1

Batman: Prelude to the Wedding – Nightwing vs. Hush #1

Batman: Prelude to the Wedding - Nightwing vs. Hush #1

Pros

  • Tim Seeley can write Nightwing like nobody else
  • Tender character moments between Nightwing and Batman
  • We find out the Joker's mindset concerning the Wedding
  • I loved seeing Hush used again
  • A beautiful sequence in a backwards world posing an interesting art challenge that Travis Moore happily rises to
  • Batman's Bachelor Party

Cons

  • The lightning door is an unneccessary macguffin
  • Batman's Best Man pick may be a bit divisive

Summary

For Richer or for Poorer Writer - Tim Seeley Artist - Travis Moore Colors - Tamra Bonvillain

     It’s week two of the lead-up to the Wedding of the Century in Batman #50. Last week, Damian had a face-to-face with his Grandfather Ra’s Al Ghul. This week, our tour through the Bat-Family continues with Nightwing

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     This is the one that a lot of people have been waiting for. If there’s one thing about this series that people will universally agree on, it’s that Tim Seeley had to write the Nightwing issue. Mr. Seeley has proved that he definitely has a handle on what is going on i the head of Dick Grayson. And, in this issue, he proves it yet again.

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     I found it interesting that the villain chosen for this particular showdown is Hush. The intriguing villain, introduced by Jeph Loeb during his run with Jim Lee on Batman, Hush really Tommy Elliot, a childhood friend of Bruce Wayne whose bitterness led him to seek revenge of Bruce Wayne. Dick Grayson is arguably one of Bruce’s most trusted family members, so it makes sense that Hush would want to battle him, as Dick is enjoying the type of camaraderie with Bruce he once had.

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     This issue also has two important points in the overall Wedding story. First, it depicts Batman’s Bachelor Party, which is thrown by Superman and Nightwing, and involves a stop to eat at Bat Burger, my new favorite restaurant in the DCU, and then a leisurely joint to a pocket dimension. Yes, the lightning door is a bit of a macguffin, but I’m willing to overlook it. 

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    Of course, this is where Hush inserts himself, but if you didn’t know that Nightwing and Hush were going to face off, then you didn’t read the title to this book very carefully. The “mirror” world they find themselves in is interesting, as is the fact that people go there when they have lost their identity, which is a bit of an interesting admission when it comes to Hush. I think the character has sort of “lost his way” a little bit, and I hope that he is able to eventually find his way back to the DCU, and that this event is used to give him a fresh start.

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     I found it interesting that the two of them need to find a place where their sense of self is strong, and Dick realizes for both of them, that place is Wayne Manor. This scene also hammers home the point that, up to now, Hush did not know Dick Grayson is Nightwing. So, he could not understand why Nightwing’s sense of self would be strong there. By the way, just to let you know, on Joker’s advice, Hush has performed surgery on his face again, and it is brilliant and terrifying.

     Speaking of Joker, we finally find out the motivation between all the attacks, as Hush tells Nightwing it was Joker who told him about the Wedding. Everything Joker thought he knew about Batman has been shattered by the fact that Batman has found love. It is forcing to reexamine himself and their relationship. And, he is not handling it well. It turns out, he has also visited Riddler, and it went about as well for his henchmen as it did for Ra’s Al Ghul’s. That is to say, poorly. The horror in Batgirl’s eyes when Nightwing tells her Joker knows about the Wedding really tells you all you need to know.

     The second important point in this issue regarding the Wedding is that we find out that Superman is to be Batman’s Best Man. I know some people think this is controversial, but I am fine with it for two reasons. One, Batman works with Superman more often than he does with Nightwing. And, two, Superman is Batman’s oldest friend. The main crux of this situation is that BATMAN is getting married, not BRUCE WAYNE. If BRUCE WAYNE were getting married, I can guarantee you that DICK GRAYSON would be the Best Man. But, even then, it would be DICK GRAYSON, not NIGHTWING. But, since it is the hero, and not the alter ego, actually getting married, it is Superman, as Batman’s oldest friend who should be selected as the Best Man. And, he was.

     I don’t think there’s anybody out there by this point who would have any problem making the case for Tim Seeley being the definitive master of writing Nightwing. Here, he proves it yet again, with an issue that balances action and character piece in one beautiful package. Tim Seeley knows this character so well, that I often think it is effortless for him to write him, or, at least, that is how he makes it look. I also love how he put a small focus on the distance between Batman and Nightwing, even since he left for Bludhaven. I love that they both realize the situation, and make an effort to fix it. It’s a small subplot, but it is an importnat part of the character development in this issue. 

     I love his use of Hush here as well. His position of Hush as member of the “Family” who has been left out is awesome. The amount of jealousy and envy Hush has for Nightwing is palpable, and the physical manifestation of Hush’s desire to have what Dick Grayson has is shocking and unsettling. It is a fantastic and unexpected reveal. I also love the fact that Hush is unable to escape due to fact that he does not know who he is anymore. Again, I hope this is the beginning of a fresh new start for this character. I don’t think anybody will ever write him as well as the master who created him, Jeph Loeb, but Mr. Seeley does a great job of putting his own stamp on the character. Now, on the art side, everything is well drawn and colored, but I have to give a special shout out to the artist, Travis Moore, who had to draw the backgrounds of whole sequence in this issue the reverse of what they would normally be. That is never easy, no matter how talented you are.

     IN THE END: This issue is a great character study issue. insight into the motivations of both Hush and Nightwing, as well as some further insight into the Joker’s mindset make for a great read. Tim Seeley again proves that he can write Nightwing in his sleep. Throw in some a wonderful philosophical debate between Hush and Nightwing, and a couple of softer moments between Batman and Nightwing, plus the revelation of Batman’s Best Man, and you’ve got yourselves a real winner.

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