November 4, 2016
“Rise of Raptor, Finale”
Written by: Tim Seely
Artwork by: Javier Fernandez
In the past several issues of Nightwing, Dick Grayson had teamed up with the mercenary, Raptor to take down the Parliament of Owls in the “Better Than The Batman” storyline. Raptor kept his promise to Dick by taking down the Owls but did so by crossing the line. “Rise of the Raptor” continues the “Better than” story as Dick pursued Raptor all the way to Istanbul to capture him but in the ensuing confrontation, was drugged by Raptor, who explained that if their partnership was to continue, Dick would need to need more mentoring and in the process, lose everything. While Nightwing is unconscious and half a world away, Raptor then abducts Bruce Wayne publicly and reveals that he knows that he is the Batman.
In “Rise of the Raptor Finale”, the story concludes. Raptor’s past is revealed to have direct relation to Dick Grayson, seen through flashbacks to when he was a child. His past is both surprising and eye opening. Eye opening to the point that the motivations of Raptor towards Nightwing all make perfect sense. It is this and Raptor’s warped sense of honor that have driven him to this point. For him, Bruce Wayne represents all that is bad with big money and the corruption it sows. He tainted Dick Grayson with his money and his lifestyle. He took him away from his people to serve the wealthy and the privileged and for that, Bruce Wayne must pay with his life. So, like any good villain, Raptor has devised an ironic death for Bruce to coincide with the moment to one of Wayne Enterprises greatest successes.
Enter Nightwing and he’s not a happy guy. It is here that Raptor reveals to Dick what their connection is-boiling down to the one person who will always link them together for the rest of their lives. Nightwing has a moment of clarity about Raptor’s relationship with that one person and confronts him with the truth, sending Raptor into a rage and ultimate defeat at the hands of a ferocious Dick Grayson. One of the most brutal beatings I’ve seen in a comic in a while! Bruce, who has escaped his bonds on his own, puts himself in a position of peril, confidently knowing that Dick will save him. Thus, he restores Dick’s knowledge that Bruce’s trust in him, is and has been, ever present.
The Verdict: A great ending to a great story arc. Nightwing is emerging from the shadow of Batman and coming into his own as a mythic hero. Dick Grayson ‘s persona has become much more complex and interesting than his role of being a sidekick. The artwork has been awesome throughout and the storytelling by Tim Seely has been great. If you’re just jumping on this title, it would be well worth it to get the several previous titles to read this storyline in its entirety.