Nightwing About To Hit The Big Screen!

Today, Feb. 23rd, exciting news came from Hollywood. The most famous sidekick turned superhero, Nightwing, is poised make the leap from comics to film. This has been a character I have wanted to see, on television or the movie screen, for decades.

To those unfamiliar with the character, Nightwing is none other than Dick Grayson, formally known as Robin. After years of living under the shadow of the Bat, Robin spent time leading the Teen Titans, a group of former sidekicks themselves, through many adventures.

Years later, thanks to the great comic book writer Marv Wolfman, the Titans were re-imagined into a solid team of heroes in their own right.

How Robin grew into his current role as Nightwing came about during a story arc called the Judas Contract. The team was fractured by the villain Deathstroke. Young master Grayson started to lose his way. During this time, Batman informed Dick that if he couldn't come back and work by his side then he could no longer be Robin. It was a come-to-Jesus moment that forged his new identity as Nightwing.

Now, that's all well and good but the real reason Nightwing should be considered an exciting prospect is because the character has enough emotional baggage to choke a herd of hippos.

Imagine losing your parents at a young age in a tragic accident. Imagine them dying right in front of you and an audience full of strangers. Then, you're swept up by a billionaire playboy that turns out to be none other than the Batman. He trains you and drags you around stopping criminals and risking your life. (Back in the day, no one batted an eye at the idea of hauling a tweener in tights to massive gun fights. Seriously, WTF?)

As you grow up you begin to wonder if this man was really trying to save you, or himself.

He was there once. He lacked the guidance early on. He struggled to find answers to a cruel moment that no child should ever endure. But, through you, he could fix that part of him that was broken. He took you under his wing and tried to mend his broken soul along with yours. And how did he do it? Be being a controlling, anal-retentive, sociopathic adrenalin freak that puts him in danger morning, noon, and night.

I mean, come on! To be Batman, you'd have to be pretty fucked up in the head. And to drag a young boy around, putting him in the line of fire from lunatics like the RiddlerTwo-Face or the Joker, you'd have to be clinically insane.

Now, you've grown up. You survived the madness. You can step out and be your own man. Scratch that. You're still his sidekick in other heroes' eyes. You're the kid that ran with the BATMAN. Your life lies in the shadow of his greatness. And sadly, you believe it too.

So, what do you do? How do you step out into the world and prove that you are your own hero?

That and many other questions are what makes Nightwing so damned interesting. He has so much to prove. He has to be a better detective than Batman. He has to be a better fighter. He has to be a better hero. He can't just be the kid that ran with the Bat: he hungers for his own identity. He hunts for his own place, his own way. He absolutely must prove to the world, but above all else himself, that he is not just that sidekick... he is Nightwing.

This is why I have enjoyed the character for years. He is a complex package of hunger and regret. Every day he strives to redefine himself, to step as far away from his mentor as possible. Nightwing has the potential to grab audiences with a compelling character and all the action that makes comic books a blast.

It's early on in the process. Hollywood has named Chris McKay director and Bill Dubuque as script writer. With Chris, whose Lego Batman did exceptionally well at the box office, I hope he proves to be another Brad Bird. Bird's the Iron Giant and the Incredibles were absolute delights, as was Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol. He had an eye for those moments that hit you right in the heart. Now McKay can take on a live-action flick and do the same.

But Bill Dubuque is another matter. I'm not as versed on his movies but after researching two of his feature films, the Judge and the Accountant, I found that critics judged his work to be cliché. As I said, I haven't seen these films but will have to soon to get a feel for his work. I can only hope that he taps into Dick Grayson's never ending quest to be his own man/hero and how he is his own worst critic, and enemy.

It's still several years out barring any contract issues and creativity disputes but that fact that a director and screen writer are tagged to get the ball rolling has me damned excited!


Popular Posts