I was trying to wait until I had read "Batman and Robin" #1 before reading this comic, but it looks like I won't be getting my hands on B&R until sometime early next week. Since I don't feel like waiting any longer, I'll give this comic a read. This issue is written by Judd Winick, as he takes over the Batman comic(again).
-This comic begins with a flashback showing Bruce and Dick(when he was still Robin)enjoying happier times. From there we jump ahead to the present where Dick(dressed as Nightwing)takes down some bank robbers with the Batmobile. Dick then begins to bitch about the fact that he didn't even get out of the car to take down the robbers, while Bruce would have, to which Alfred responds, why the hell didn't you get out of the car(well, that's close to what he said).
-We then get another flashback sequence to Supes and Wonder Woman meeting with Dick and Tim after the events of Final Crisis to inform them of Bruce's "death" at the hands of Darksied. After Supes and WW leave, Alfred tells Dick to prevent the other heroes from revealing that Batman is gone, fearing the galvanizing effect Batman's death would have on the crime scene in Gotham. Dick then goes to the members of the JLA and tells them that Batman is still alive, for the good of Gotham.
-Back in the present, Damien attacks Dr. Phosphorous, who was trying to break into a chemical company. Before the fight can really get underway, Dick(STILL dressed as Nightwing)blasts Phosphorous with a bunch of chemical before leaving with Damien.
-Dick heads back to the Cave and is confronted by Alfred, who basically tells Dick if he's not going to be Batman there's no reason he should be in Gotham. Ouch, harsh! Dick decides that if he's going to become Batman he has to do things his way, and as such, he sets up shop in the Wayne Foundation Building, instead of the Batcave.
-Two weeks later, we find Scarecrow holding a whole bunch of hostages on the Gotham Bay Bridge, threatening to unleash his toxic fear gas if the cops make a move on him... I've got to ask, with loons like Scarecrow and the Joker running around, why the hell would ANYBODY stay in Gotham City??? Anyway, Scarecrow continues ranting and raving(like a good villain is supposed to)until the Batman arrives on the scene, setting up the showdown for next issue.
You know what? I really liked this comic. A lot. The artwork was good, the dialogue was well done, and the story made perfect sense. Of course Dick is conflicted about taking up Batman's cowl. Once Dick becomes Batman there's no turning back. Donning the cape and cowl is basically ceding the fact that Bruce is gone and not coming back. Was Dick a bit on the whiny side? Yeah, but he's always been a bit whiny, so I can deal with it.
I also liked the dynamic between Dick and Alfred at work here. As Alfred himself stated, he can speak to Dick in a more open, free manner. It looks like Alfred will be taking a more active role as a leader/mentor now that Dick is the Batman. All in all, I'd say that Judd seems to have gotten off to a good start here. For a score I'll give this issue a 9 1/2 out of 10. I'd happily recommend this comic book to anyone.