Reviewer: Mathan “Tardy” Erhardt
Story Title: Deadman Talking
Written by: Scott Beatty & Chuck Dixon
Penciled by: Scott McDaniel
Inked by: Andy Owens
Colored by: Gregory Wright
Lettered by: Phil Balsman
Editor: Nachie Castro
Publisher: DC Comics
The issue begins with Wonder Girl seemingly being attacked while she’s on the phone with Dick Grayson. But it turns out that she’s just witnessing Gar Logan making breakfast, which is a sight that words can’t do justice. Donna and Dick shoot the breeze, and she shows how she really cares about him as a friend. It’s rather touching.
Dick then encounters a strange dwarf who seems to speak to him in a familiar way. After that Dick bumps into Cleveland Brand, the brother of dead acrobat Boston Brand. Dick thinks they have a connection, but Cleveland is much too arrogant to acknowledge it. Dick then gets a blast from the past when he sees a poster featuring his father.
Then we jump to the Batcave where Jason Todd is tied up and about to have a talk with Batman himself. Back at the big top Dick speaks to a young girl who speak just like the dwarf, in terms of familiarity and tone. Dick then goes to warm up on the trapeze and try out his new (and familiar looking) outfit.
But then tragedy strikes when a lion escapes. Dick saves the day and then decides that the circus life isn’t for him. Then he shares a talk with Deadman, who also possessed the dwarf and the girl.
Deadman, possesses Alfred and informs Batman Dick is safe, then he takes leaves. Just as Alfred comes to his senses, Jason Todd appears sporting the Robin costume, much to the surprise of everyone. The final page reveals the debut of Nightwing, almost.
Dixon and Beatty have the knack for making Dick seem very un-Batman-like, the way he’s supposed be. They also utilized the history of the DCU (Deadman, Cleveland Brand) in a very inventive way so that it seems seamless. Their dialogue is spot on. But most of all, they make me care about Dick Grayson.
McDaniel and Owens are in their prime. The acrobatic feel of the circus really caters to their strength. The way the convey that Deadman has possessed a person (the blank look) is very well done. And the coloring this issue is just superb.