DC Comics (November, 1995)
WRITER: Denny O’Neil
PENCILER: Greg Land
INKER: Mike Sellers
COLORIST: Cathi Bertrand
LETTERER: John Costanza
ASSISTANT EDITOR: Keri Kowalski
EDITOR: Pat Garrahy
We last left our hero in the nation of Kravia, surrounded by soldiers. Nightwing manages to take them down, then gets in touch with Miggy, and there seems to be some trouble at home. But since he’s too far away and hears screaming Nightwing goes to investigate and finds a family about to suffer ethnic cleansing. He saves them and asks for help to sneak into the prince’s statehouse, but is betrayed by the man who works there in the hopes his family will be spared. (He’s instead shot for his help.) Nightwing’s mask is removed but Prince Balsik doesn’t recognize Dick Grayson so his identity is safe. Balsik throws him into the titular oubliette, a hole that is about to be visited by hungry rats. Also there (and the both of them covered in honey) is the former prime minister, Heinmel Von Cart. It turns out Balsik was replaced and murdered by the prime minister years ago and replaced with Von Cart’s son when Balsik turned out to be unstable, only for the boy to become more than Balsik’s lookalike. The Graysons witnessed the murder, which is why the threatening note was sent, but Von Cart and his fellow underground people thought they might have to be killed. Nightwing resists killing them but as they escape the trap both Von Cart and Nightwing are shot.
What they got right: What the mystery lacks in investigation it makes up for with political intrigue. Nightwing’s reactions are understandable given the circumstances since he’s usually more caring about others. He doesn’t kill Von Cart, which since I know how the story ends is a good thing. Dick Grayson not being recognized by Balsik makes pretty good sense. Only the assassin he sent out as seen Dick’s face and he’s not as famous as his mentor.
What they got wrong: The Miggy subplot is still wasted here, better suited for its own story. The cliffhanger ending feels like it was tacked on out of a need to end on a cliffhanger rather than benefiting the story.
Recommendation: It’s still a good story and I hope it finishes as strong as I remember. If so it’s worth seeking out.