Tuesday, November 11, 2008

My Feelings on the Infamous Rape of Nightwing. Nightwing #93

Overall- I am going to have a lot to say about this comic book, and as a matter of fact, I might even dedicate an entire post to it if I don't get everything I want to off my chest with this review, so please, bear with me.

The issue begins with Dick responding to the Nightwing-signal and finding Capt. Amy of the Bludhaven Police Department standing next to it. Amy implores Dick to take his badge and gun back, telling him that if he was a still a cop, he'd have more options regarding Blockbuster. In other words, if Amy reinstates Dick and he kills Blockbuster, he'd have more protection as a cop who killed a criminal in the line of duty as opposed to a vigilante who goes too far and kills a criminal. It was a nice gesture from Amy, but Dick refuses the badge, still clinging to the hope that he can stop Blockbuster without resorting to murder. Before he leaves, Amy informs Dick that the reporter who has been tailing him, Maxine Michaels, also knows his secret identity and had been feeding Blockbuster information on Dick Grayson, which explains the attacks on Dick's circus and his apartment building.

Dick confronts Maxine at her hotel room while she hurriedly packs up, wanting to get out of Bludhaven before one of Blockbuster's goons come by to finish her off as a loose end. Maxine claims that she only recently made the connection between Dick Grayson and Nightwing and once she did, she stopped helping Blockbuster, and reported what she knew and what she had been doing to Capt. Amy. Before Dick can even react to this news, a shot rings out and Maxine falls to the floor, dead of a single gunshot wound to the head. At this point, Blockbuster climbs in the window, smoking gun still in hand.

Blockbuster explains to Dick that since Blockbuster holds Dick solely responsible for the death of his mother, he won't rest until he kills everybody Dick so much as looks at. Dick attacks, but is flung through the wall, and lands in the lobby of the hotel. Blockbuster walks through the wall, and arbitrarily aims his gun at random people in the lobby, telling Dick that he'll kill any of them, just to prove Dick can't do anything about it.

Dick manages to disarm Blockbuster with a batarang, and tackles him into the stairwell, driving the both of them several floors, to the bottom. Dick punches Blockbuster a few times, but Blockbuster just laughs him off, saying that Dick will never stop him permanently, because that isn't Dick's way. While this is going on, Tarantula approaches behind Blockbuster with a gun, and tells Dick to get out of the way, so she can take the shot and end all of Dick's problems with Blockbuster. Blockbuster laughs this off as well, stating that knowing Dick as well as he does, Dick is probably thinking up a way to save Blockbuster's life even now.

Blockbuster continues to taunt Dick by telling him it will never stop. Every loved one, every person Dick comes into contact with, Blockbuster will inevitably kill. Finally, realizing that Blockbuster would truly never stop, Dick walks past the prone Blockbuster, and before the shocked Blockbuster can make a move, Tarantula shoots him in the head, killing him instantly.

Dick runs up to the roof, and collapses, sobbing and saying that he was so sorry that he failed Bruce(Batman). Tarantula joins him on the roof and tries to comfort Dick, but he is incorrigible, and can't deal with the fact that he just allowed a man to be executed, and worse then that, he wanted it to happen. While Dick goes through his mental breakdown, Tarantula continues to attempt to comfort him, and ultimately lays the obviously devastated Dick on the floor of the roof, and proceeds to have sex with him. While Tarantula obviously enjoys what she is doing as evident by her statements during the act, Dick lays there motionless and silent. With that the comic comes to a close...

Well well well what do I write now... First off, I am a fan of Dick Grayson. I liked him in the New Teen Titans, and I liked him in the Outsiders. It was off of those appearances that I decided to purchase his entire solo series off of eBay when the opportunity presented itself. I think the thing I admired the most about Dick was that he managed to emerge from out of Batman's huge shadow and become his own man. That couldn't have been an easy task, but Dick managed to pull it off. No longer was he Robin, he had become Nightwing, his own hero.

Now with that being said, I think I should express how utterly disappointed I was by the way this comic book turned out. I'll be honest with you, I was enjoying the interaction between Dick and Blockbuster, and was appalled when Dick allowed Tarantula to execute Blockbuster. I understand that Blockbuster was an evil mass murderer, and had killed several people Dick cared about over the course of the last couple of issues, however, there was no way in HELL that Dick Grayson should have ever allowed Tarantula to kill Blockbuster, thus taking the cowards way out. Make no mistake, it was Tarantula who fired the killing shot, but it was Dick who stood there, watched and allowed her to preform the deed. In my mind, that makes Dick just as guilty for the murder as Tarantula.

After the brutal murder of Robin(Jason Todd)at the hands of the Joker, and it was damn brutal, Batman held himself back from killing the Joker. Now, I understand that Dick Grayson is not Bruce Wayne, but I would have hoped that some of Bruce's scruples would have rubbed off on Dick... I guess not.

Now as for the rape scene, and make no mistake, it was a rape scene, regardless if it was a woman raping a man, it was rape, hands down. Devin Grayson(series writer) has played down the rape aspect of this comic, going as far as claiming that a rape didn't occur, but anyone who read the comic would never be able to argue that Dick was not raped by Tarantula on the roof of the hotel. If you don't believe me, I'd be more then happy to scan the pages and post them, so everyone can come to their own conclusions.

Dick was obviously emotionally unstable after the killing of Blockbuster, and Tarantula forced herself on Dick while he was still in shock due to his role in the killing of Blockbuster. Now, my main issue with this whole rape is that I don't understand what possible purpose it could serve. Dick was already emotionally wrecked, prior to the rape, so I doubt he can feel any lower after Tarantula's heinous actions. I'm going to guess that Devin might have been trying to make Dick into a sympathetic figure, by showing that he couldn't defend himself from Tarantula's actions, but that argument, to me at least, is almost moot, because, as horrible as it might sound, I don't think that many people would feel badly for a man raped by a woman. I'm sure there are people of the mindset who wrongly would say that since Dick received something out of the rape, what was the big deal. That is just unfortunately the way society is.

To me this entire issue was disturbing, and very contrary to everything that had ever been written about the character of Dick Grayson. Spider-Man wouldn't stand ideally by and allow the Punisher to gun down Norman Osborn, nor would Batman stand by and watch as Huntress executed the Joker in front of him. That is not the way heroes act, and that was sure as hell not the way Nightwing should have acted. Like a true hero, Dick should have prevented the murder of Blockbuster, by any means necessary.

Before I give my score for this issue, I would recommend to everyone to read this issue and the preceding 13 issues or so. If you can't find/afford them, then I'd recommend reading my or even the reviews of someone else concerning these comic books and then coming to your own conclusion. For me, there is no way I can possibly give this comic book anything other then a 1 out of 10, my lowest possible score. Basically, years of character development spent on Dick Grayson are thrown away in just a few pages. To me that is very unacceptable...

I'd love to hear from anyone else who has read this comic book. I know it's 4 years old, but I would really like to know what any other fans of Nightwing felt about this issue in particular. Even if you didn't read the comic, but read my feelings about this issue, I'd love to hear about what you think, because this was definitely a very controversial comic book back then, and I'd guess it still is today. I'd be happy to clarify anything I wrote in my above post, and like I said, I'd be happy to scan the pages in question and post them here for anyone curious as to what exactly happend in this comic.


  1. I have never read this issue, but I've read comments people made about it in forums. From ramblings I've seen (which may not be true) the writer of the issue was raped, and she wanted an outlet for her expereience. So if the rape seems purposeless to the storyline, it may just be a catharsis for the writer. On the one hand it sounds kind of out-of-place, but on the other, it actually makes Nightwing more unique. That's not a storyline I've seen in any other comic with a male lead.

  2. Hmm, I hadn't ever heard the comments about Devin Grayson being raped, and if that is the truth, that's truly terrible. However, I'm not sure that an issue of Nightwing was the outlet to use...

    I actually read an interview somewhere where Devin had said that the scene wasn't a rape, but that the sex was not consensual, which if you think about it doesn't make any sense.

    To me though, while the rape was what gets the most publicity out of this issue, the thing that annoyed me the most was the way Nightwing allowed Tarantula to execute Blockbuster. That act was so contrary to the entire Dick Grayson character.

    While the raping of a male character is unique, especially by a woman, it just seemed so tacked on with everything else that happened in this comic. It just seemed so unneccesary... I guess depending on what comes in the next few issues will determine what, if anything this act will add to the series.