Nightwing Annual #1
DC Comics (1997)
“Forever Hold Your Peace”
WRITER: Devin Grayson (no relation to Dick…also, she’s from Connecticut)
PENCILER: Greg Land
INKER: Bob McLeod
COLORIST: Roberta Tewes
LETTERER: John Costanza
ASSOCIATE EDITOR: Darren Vincenzo
EDITOR: Scott Peterson
“Pulp Heroes” was a different kind of event. For one it was only in the annuals, unlike events today, but it wasn’t some overarching story of changing the status quo forever and ever until the next event. Instead it went to the pulp heroes, the precursor to the traditional superhero, for inspiration in crafting its tales. Devin Grayson would eventually take over the regular Nightwing comic, which some…interesting results. (I believe she wrote the story where Nightwing got raped. Because that always goes well in comics, we wrote sarcastically.)
One of Dick’s friends at Waynetech dies under mysterious circumstances, and he learns the man’s widow has had that happen to her a few times before. Suspecting her of murdering men for the money, Dick decides to become the next victim. As he gets to know her however, he begins to see she isn’t the kind of person to be a killer, and evidence eventually points to her friend. Years ago his “wife”‘s father allowed the friend’s father to take all the rap for counterfeiting and then was killed in an accident. After the woman’s first husband died the “friend” decided the best revenge would be to frame her for the deaths of her later husbands. Dick is able to stop the killer and end her reign of terror but his fake wife has a real broken heart. Perhaps it’s Dick who did the real damage.
What they got right: Dick has to jump through a lot of hoops to keep from…shall we say “consummating the marriage”? There have been times where Dick has wanted a normal life and here he is faking one so he can find a killer. Also, our victim has a son, and I’m kind of glad we don’t see how this affects him. Her reaction was sad enough but that one we had to see. Greg Land’s art is better than what we see today, with only a few panels of our widow looking like it was traced. (Unlike a lot of his work today.)
What they got wrong: So if Dick’s friends in the Titans learned about this marriage (given how the ward of Bruce Wayne getting married would probably be quite the gossip) did Clancy or anyone else among his supporting cast back in his regular title find out? This case took months (during which he still found time to break up some bad guy activities), and Nightwing by this point in the regular story was still trying to establish his presence in Bludhaven. I’m not sure where this story should fall in continuity. They also took some time before finally going on their honeymoon. Maybe they should have started investigating the friend before the “marriage”?
Recommendation: A solid standalone Nightwing adventure in the style of the pulps (said the man who hasn’t really read a pulp pre-superhero story before) and a really good mystery. It’s worth picking up.