It’s no secret that I’m a die-hard Marvel kid and an obsessive X-Men fan but if you asked me who my favorite superhero is without a second thought I would say “Nightwing” because I’ve been in love with Dick Grayson for as long as I can remember so when I first watched the trailer for Nightwing: The Series I had a small breakdown.
And by “small” I obviously mean I hyperventilated and had to fight back tears of joy. First of all, FINALLY SOMEONE WHO REALLY LOOKS THE PART. I know in the grand scheme of things appearance isn’t nearly as important as an actor who can truly portray all the idiosyncrasies and eccentricities but dear god does Danny Shepherd, co-creator and star, have the look down. From the floppy hair to the abs for days to the cocky smile of a guy who knows how good he is, Shepherd does a great job of guiding us through the ups and downs of being the original Robin and Bruce’s first adopted son.
As far as the production value of the web-series I’m genuinely impressed. For a “non-profit mini-series made for fans by fans” there was a lot of work put into making this and it shows. While not flawless it is pretty inspiring to see the dedication to story and canon while still working under a tight budget. There are a few stuttering moments in the acting when you are quickly reminded that this not a Warner Bros. production but it’s not a glaring problem. My personal favorite is Noel Schefflin who did an incredible job as Red Hood. You might think that’s a heavily biased opinion because I have a huge lady boner for Jason Todd, and well, you wouldn’t be completely wrong. Every line he delivered as Red Hood was dripping with the bitter after taste of a boy who was always compared to his perfect older brother. My heart and libido are eternally grateful.
On the other hand though I can not wrap my head around the casting of Bruce Wayne. Scott Kinworthy isn’t a bad actor by any means, but that scene in the cementry was impossible to sit through. That scene does deliver one of my favorite lines though: “I hope you treat Jason better than you treated me.” Spoiler alert: he doesn’t. But I digress, Bruce Wayne is a distinguished playboy and I didn’t get that vibe off Kinworthy once unfortunately. However the scene where you find out Bruce is using the Watchtower’s hologram technology to have a serious heart-to-heart with Dick makes up for it. Solid choice there, Bruce Wayne: Shittiest Dad of the Year; this is 12th consecutive win.
I’m not familiar with Shepherd’s ethnicity but he looks vaguely brown-ish, maybe it’s just a tan, but I’m going to pretend it’s reflective of Nightwing’s Romani heritage that some fans have accepted as the perfect head canon. This show has the right amount of shirtless Nightwing. As in, A LOT OF SHIRTLESS NIGHTWING. Like, every time he put a shirt on I felt like a part of my soul died a little. But more so than that Shepherd really utilized Nightwing’s acrobatic background, from flinging himself out of windows hundreds of feet in the air to a gymnastic twist in his fighting style. Most importantly though is how sarcastic and jokey he is when faced with danger. It’s like foreplay for my heart.
Shepherd’s chemistry with Lenna Karacostas is fantastic which pleases my shipper heart to no end because Dick/Babs is the second most important OTP of my entire life. She’s sassy and he’s flirty. Be still, my heart. There’s this moment when they almost kiss and if there is a ginger girl version of blue balls I have to imagine Barbara must be dying from it because if anything interrupted me from kissing Dick Grayson I would throw my goddamn wheelchair at it.
We don’t get an origin story until the second episode which I couldn’t be more thankful for. By the end of it we find out that three years has passed since Dick left for Bludhaven and has acquired KORDtech running an “Oracle” program that has been helping him track and study crime. After a heated discussion between bitter ex-boyfriend Dick and exasperated still-alive Babs, the Oracle program finds a lead that sends our former Boy Wonder to leap out of the window in true Jock fashion as she looks away forlornly and disappointedly. It’s a wonderful moment for Nightwing fans as we are all too familiar with his tendency for dramatic urban free-falling.
The showdown with Deathstroke ended exactly how I hoped it would. Not well for our bootylicious hero. Dick went into the fight completely unprepared and got the smirk beat out of him. In fact, if it weren’t for a mysterious stranger who takes Nightwing away at the last minute Deathstroke probably would have killed him clean off. It took the entire Teen Titans team to bring down Slade in the comics! Of all the side cameos in this my favorite is, brace yourself because I’ll never say this again, The Joker. One of the things that makes me hate the Joker so much is how he’s basically Batman’s Wolverine because they insist on sticking him in books since everyone looooves him. False. I used to love him until his own character became a punchline in itself. But this series manages to use him exquisitely. They capture the absolute madness without letting him take over the scenes. We don’t see him often but both times it’s flawless. This series isn’t about the Joker, it’s about Dick Grayson.
All in all, I loved watching this. It was fun and free with just the right amount of cheeky camp. If you have an hour to kill and find yourself thirsty for some sun-kissed abs starring in the angsty story of Dick trying to find his own way then please give this a try. Maybe you’ll be able to get through it with more chill than I could muster just from watching the trailer.