The Superman envisioned by founders Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster in 1938 was substantially different from the one current readers are familiar with. Instead of extraterrestrial invaders or armies of talking gorillas, Superman had to deal with problems that were all too real to young readers at the time. The original foes of Superman were crooked politicians, slumlords, and organized crime. It’s no exaggeration to suggest that these early Superman stories were a direct response to the Great Depression, with Clark embodying a sort of New Deal optimism that the era’s fundamental issues could be solved. While the majority of Superman’s early appearances were colored by the battle for progress and social justice, this swiftly altered with the rising popularity of supervillains.
Though Taylor and Redondo never explicitly tell Dick so, the difficulty he’s running against is that Blüdhaven’s troubles are structural. Gentrification and slumlords make it impossible to obtain inexpensive homes, while crooked politicians and cops guarantee that the weight of justice is always placed on the poor, never the affluent. Certainly, Nightwing might do a lot of good by mimicking Batman’s style of criminal patrols, but that doesn’t address the underlying issues that keep the people of Blüdhaven down.
The new Nightwing series is just two issues in, but it’s already shaping up to be a welcome return to a bygone era. One of the most powerful scenes in the new series is when Dick buys pizza for an entire neighborhood of homeless individuals. While this isn’t precisely a solution to poverty, it does demonstrate that Dick Grayson is prepared to do more for the world’s most vulnerable people than Batman or Superman are presently doing. It’s telling that Dick’s next great adversary is called Heartless, because Blüdhaven’s genuine antagonists are senseless cruelty and avarice. Nightwing may not have Superman’s abilities, but his new series demonstrates that he understands real-world issues better than the Man of Steel has in decades.
Dick Grayson and Superman
The connection between Dick Grayson and Superman, the Clark Kent version, was always well-liked. It’s almost like they’re elder brothers, with a sympathetic shared knowledge of what it’s like to be Batman’s friend. Not only that, but to a happier time in the life of the Dark Knight. It’s entertaining. But now that Clark Kent is in space (having the time of his life in the wonderful Action Comics series), his son, Jon Kent, is taking over as Superman on Earth. And, to be honest, we haven’t seen Dick Grayson spend a lot of time with him.
Formerly known as Robin the Boy Wonder, Nightwing served as Batman’s primary sidekick for forty years. Dick Grayson, the junior member of the Flying Graysons circus family, first appeared in Detective. He sees his parents’ murders in a botched trapeze mishap. This murder is also witnessed by rich Bruce (Batman) Wayne, who as a boy saw the death of his own parents. Grayson becomes Wayne’s ward and, after months of intensive training in the Batcave, joins Batman as his crime-fighting comrade, Robin the Boy Wonder.
When Robin made his first tentative steps away from Batman as his own hero years ago, Superman stepped in and gave Dick Grayson important counsel, support, and a name: Nightwing. Now it’s Nightwing’s turn to repay the favour! In a two-part narrative by Tom Taylor, Bruno Redondo, Adriano Lucas, and Wes Abbot, Nightwing #89 (2/15) and Superman: Son of Kal-El #9 (3/8) will cross over!
Fans will get a sneak peak into Nightwing and Superman’s past before they link up in present timeline! Take a peek at a scene between Dick Grayson and Jon Kent from the past… in addition to Batman and Superman!