“Better Than The Batman Pt. 3”
Writer: Tim Seely
Pencils & Inks: Javier Fernandez
Better than the Batman? Whaaat?!! No way. Uh-uh. You’re crazy. Nobody is better than Batman. Or are they? That’s the question presented here in Nightwing’s new storyline. The story so far: Nightwing, no longer exclusively a spy, (though certainly still undercover! ) has joined the Parliament of Owls and their muscle, Raptor. Unlike the Colony of Owls, who focuses mainly on the city of Gotham, the Parliament’s ambitions stretch globally (conspiracy theorists unite!). Nightwing has convinced the Parliament that he shares the same elitist world views and goals as they do. Does Raptor share them as well or does he have his own objectives? So, who, or what then is better than the Batman? Raptor? Nightwing? Raptors methods…or Nightwing’s?
In Pt. 3 of the story, Nightwing, Raptor and Batgirl (the original Batgirl! Barbara Gordon!) stand outside of the Parliaments next mission: the house of the man that designed its main headquarters. The objective: steal the blueprints. The only problem is that it’s designer, Knute Ruud, is a superstitious, paranoid shut-in that has built his house into a twisted labyrinth ala’ Winchester Mystery House but with death traps! Batgirl clearly does not trust Raptor and is puzzled as to why Nightwing would pair up with him. Especially given the fact that Raptor has been questioning the type of training Nightwing has been given by Batman. Nightwing assures Batgirl he is still one of the good guys but she still worries that Raptor’s methods will have a negative impact on him. Once inside Ruud’s house, the action becomes fraught with danger as the heroes find out a lot about one another as they work together to navigate towards their goal.
The verdict: A good issue in the storyline that you don’t necessarily need to have read the previous two issues as it catches you up with flashbacks and solid storytelling. It is interesting to see the development of Nightwing/Dick Grayson having been exposed to the life of a superhero from an early age when he was taken in by Bruce Wayne. Never knowing what it is to have led a “normal” life, let alone a childhood, will he always be destined to be a sidekick? The artwork by Javier Fernandez is a good fit to the mood of the story.