I think I’m always going to be a little bit mad about the version of Nightwing #30 that we got and the version that Meghan Hetrick pencilled.
The story she was illustrating was a poignant look at Dick’s life and the people who loved him, but that it gave the readers (who largely knew he was returning in another comic) a bridge between the two series.
I don’t know what went down and why we weren’t able to get the original story planned and written by James Tynion IV back in May 2014, but it’s always going to bug me.
I could be eighty-years old and talking to my adopted children on my deathbed and I will remember to complain about how much that final issue let me down in terms of closure for Dick and the rest of his friends and family.
I will never understand why the choice was made to go with Bruce and Dick having the kind of knock down, throw down fight that you rarely see out of MMA events.
We could have gotten a story where sure, Bruce was still obviously a Grade-A asshole in how he handled Dick’s “death” and presumably put the Mission first, but where we also got to see that Dick was and is important to the superhero community in the DC universe. It was an emotionally heavy issue and we got to see confirmation of relationships that had remained hazy through the course of the reboot.
Without the pages that Meghan Hetrick drew, it’s hard to make those connections in later comics (in Grayson and other comics) because they filled the gap. They showed us things that King and Seeley themselves would use in their work on Grayson, that would then carry through to Batman and Robin: Eternal.
Yes, the Nightwing issue that we got definitely focused on what was coming next for Dick and that’s cool. I love what came next and I’m a huge fan of what the Grayson creative team has done and continue to do with Dick Grayson. At the same time though —
Meghan Hetrick and James Tynion IV could’ve made a comic that was perfect. The lines we have look as if the comic would’ve wrapped up Dick’s solo superhero series, introduced the plot for the future while giving us a look at the past, and it would’ve given us hope.
It ends on a hopeful note, with Dick going forward into the unknown with a smile on his face.
How can I not be a little bit bitter over this missed opportunity?
Note: If you want to support Meghan Hetrick (as you should since she’s great), she’s the artist working alongside writer David Baillie on the new Vertigo Comics’ series Red Thorn which is centered on Scottish mythology and is just really interesting so far! You can pick up the first issue at Comixology or keep an eye out at her Wednesday’s Heroes page for when the original pages for each issue go up for sale.