Batman and Nightwing #23 finds Nightwing paying a visit to Bruce, who is torturing himself over the events that led to Damian’s death. But can this former boy wonder help Batman come to terms with these tragic events?
Acceptance begins with Bruce in a simulation machine going over the events from the night of Damian’s Death. As we quickly learn, he has gone through it hundreds of times over in only a few days, an action that has led Alfred to call Nightwing for help. Knowing him better than anyone else, Dick takes the join-them approach and enters the simulation with Bruce. With this, and a few honest words, Bruce finally begins to come to terms with the events and realizes that this death left so much more in its wake.
“That’s all anyone can expect from a father who had to bury his son, Bruce.” Batman and Nightwing #23 is a great return to form for Peter Tomasi. The past issues have taken us through the stages of grieving with mixed results, however, with Acceptance, Tomasi not only gives Bruce the closure he needs, but also does it with many heartfelt moments. Bruce’s emotional torture is finally displayed in a believable manner, rather than a caricature of emotion. Tomasi’s Nightwing, too, feels tangible and displays a deep relationship with Batman, if only through a few lines of dialogue that they share. Alfred also finally gets his due as he shares a moment, perhaps the best one in the issue, with Bruce.
“…Damn it… Reset simulation. “This issue was quite strong and had nothing that really stood out as bad, however…
“This calling the cavalry routine is getting old, Alfred.” While this issue had many strong, emotional moments, it still left something to be desired. Being a team-up book, this series has obviously suffered in the aftermath of Robin’s death. This issue does little to remedy this as Nightwing’s appearance is a cameo that could have happened in any other bat book.
Batman and Nightwing #23 is a breath of fresh air. While Damian’s death was something that deserved grieving, for a long time it felt like the Batman and… series was just treading water. Luckily this issue is Tomasi at his best, and while it doesn’t prove that the series will continue to be necessary per se, it does provide a beautiful story and an emotional end to tragic events. Hopefully next issue will bring more solid writing in its Tale of Two-Faces!