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Wherein we see Dick's mother get more focus and attention in a few pages than we've seen in pretty much 70 years

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Dick Grayson doesn't obsess over his parents the way Bruce does, and as such they're not referenced as often. He misses them, and still uses their loss as a motivation, but it's not the be-all and end-all of his nature. So we've never really learned that much about him, beyond them being a loving couple, and good parents.

Back in the 90's Chuck Dixon had it as canon that his mother wasn't from a circus family, but was a dental hygienist who had run away to join the circus after meeting and falling love with John Grayson when the circus came through town and simply turned out to be a massively talented trapeze artist.

Devin Grayson introduced, with I have no doubt, the absolute best of intentions, the idea that Dick's father had been of Roma descent, but it was never handled particularly well IMHO.

The New52 has retained the Roma part, even if that didn't quite marry up with his New52 backstory where his grandfather (the first to use the name Grayson) was the illegitimate child of one of Gotham's elite and her Gotham-born, circus performing lover. (It was all terribly confusing) but enough of that...

This issue is the culmination of the Raptor storyline. Dick was working for the Parliament of Owls, because they had threatened to detonate a bomb they'd impnated in Damian, if he refused. Dick had the bomb secretly neutralised by calling in some favours but went along with the Parliament in an effort to take them down from the inside). Raptor being the mercenary brought in by the Parliament of Owls to support Dick because he wasn't being vicious enough and flat out wouldn't kill.

Through a complicated series of events, the Parliament are taken out by Raptor, who had an agenda of his own (Secretly working for Kobra, who didn't like the competition that the Parliament were creating), but Dick managed to ensure that Kbra didn't really win either, without even knowing he was doing it.

Raptor and Dick developed a sort of respect for each other (Well obviously, because one of them is Dick Grayson, and the other is a brooding older man with emotional issues, Dick's man-band (he-harem?) just got another candidate), and Raptor mentioned, before vanishing off that, aside from knowing who Dick was, he had known his mother.

Dick eventually remembered a clown who had worked at their circus who his mother had been friends with, who had the same strange golden eyes that Raptor has, but nothing much else about him as he had left the circus years before.

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Raptor meanwhile, is determined to prove to Dick that HE is better than Batman and that it's Bruce Wayne who has messed up Dick's priorities, and has now, in an unusual reversal of the usual trope, kidnapped Bruce to get to Dick.

Raptor is not being subtle about his opinions of Bruce

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Raptor reveals that he's not going to kill Bruce directly, but has prepared as suitable deathtrap, based on the publicity around the kdinapping and how Bruce surrendering to Raptor was a heroically selfless act.

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Death by silver spoon? Somewhere a past version of the Penguin is applauding the ingenuity of the theme...

Dick, of course, comes to the rescue and they fight... a LOT... Raptor armed with his multi purpose weapon gauntlet which he names Suyolak after a Roma legend.

Dick notes that he knows Raptor dopesn't feel pain, and Raptor finally explains why, it's not a superpower or anything like that, it's down to him suffering from Hansens disease, still better known as "leprosy". It's curable these days thanks to fairlly readily available drugs... but not THAT readily available if you were one of the immigrant outcasts who worked in the circus....

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Well DAMN, Mary Lloyd was the wild one, willing to bend the law for the sake of justice... so THAT'S where Dick gets it from!

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Now fully clued in, Dick realises that Raptor was just as torn up about Mary's death as he was and likewise uses her loss as his motivation, but that because he's never been able to let go of that loss....

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Again, that pivotal moment in Young Justice comes to mind
Batman - "Robin needed to help bring the man who killed his family to justice"
Wonder Woman - "Why? So he could turn out like you?"
Batman - "So he wouldn't"

Also Dick acknowledging that he owes a debt TO Bruce, but also is fully aware of what his coming into his life did FOR Bruce too.

Now that Raptor is suitably rattled by Dick confronting him over what his real motivations are, Dick manages to take him down.

Meanwhile, Bruce is still stuck in the death chair, which is about to go off because Dick didn't have a chance to deactivate it or free him before Raptor raised it a couple of hundred feet in the air., but Bruce is never entirely helpless and has gotten loose, but seems to fall from the chair, leading to this dramatic, and beautiful, moment...

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Raptor is taken into custody by Spyral (He's wanted in 17 countries after all) and promise to remove his knowledge of anything around Dick's identity using their Hypnos tech.

Dick is still blaming himself for Bruce being in danger, almost falling to his death, but his Bat-dad reassures him...

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And again, this hearks back to the theme of Nightwing being a safety net for others, to catch them when they fall, which also calls to mind the scene in Red Robin where Tim falls out a skyscraper window whilst fighting Ra's Al Ghul and Dick saves him.



Awww.....

And speaking of young Mr Drake, the next issue of Nightwing at least mentions him...

But first Dick and some tentacles....

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There's been a page of this issue posted already, so I'm limited to three pages, so I'm picking and choosing....

Dick is having freaky nightmares, Superman detects weird energy coming from basically inside Dick's head, and comes to see him

It's a little weird for them both, since to Superman, this is a different Dick Grayson to the one he knew, and to Dick, this looks just like the Superman he grew up with as his "cool uncle", but isn't him, but they set that aside to deal with the apparent threat of Doctor Destiny, the old JLA villain who manipulates dreamscapes for fun, profit and megalomania.

So Superman uses some alien tech to get inside Dick's dreamscape along with him... and where do they end up first?

Nightwing 9 000.jpg

Both Helena AND Tiger playing beach volleyball... subtext ahoy!

I was about to comment on how keen I would be to see Dick's "pantsless" dream, though preferably when he was in College, then remembered they probably meant the US definition of pants (trousers) rather than the UK one (underwear). Oh well....

Dr Destiny, as Dick notes when seeing alt-Superman's file photos, is a LOT creepier looking in the New52, to which Superman wryly replies that that seems to be a recurring trend.

The nightmares get worse, with Dick seeing Bruce, and Damian and Steph all being murdered by Destiny's creepy dream-robot things...

Ultimately it's Superman who gives one of his patented inspiring speeches about the power of dreams (I kid you not) and reminds Dick that it's HIS dream, so he is in control, not Destiny... and that the things and people he's lost can be found again, which leads to this...

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Look at that happy face right there... his lost brother and lost cool uncle come to help him out.

Destiny threatens to destroy every single one of his friends, no matter where they are, to which Dick now just smiles.... because he's realised something important.

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The artist, Marcio Takara, describes this as his favourite page EVER, and I'm not going to argue with the man!

It ends as you might expect and it's discovered that Destiny was working for Kobra, who wanted to get back at Nightwing for messing with their plans for the Parliament of Owls holdings!
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