Tag Archives: Nightwing

Superman 158 – Nightwing and Flamebird debut

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It’s another full length classic tale by Hamilton, Swan and Klein in Superman 158 (Jan. 63).

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Super-powered thieves appear in Metropolis, men who not only can go toe to toe with Superman, but also know him, and have a grievance against him.  Superman recognizes some of them, as being from the bottle city of Kandor.

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Bringing Jimmy Olsen with him, for no particular reason, Superman heads to the Fortress and they descend into Kandor.  Superman runs into Nor-Kann, a friend of his father’s, who informs Superman of how Than-Ol has made the Kandorians comes to blame Superman for their captivity, and how he intends to enlarge the city, despite the risks.

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With everyone hating him, Superman decides to adopt a disguise for his time in Kandor, and figures Jimmy should have one as well.  They name themselves after two Kryptonian birds, the Nightwing and the Flamebird.  But really, they are patterning themselves on Batman and Robin.

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Superman also enlists the help of Van-Zee and the Superman Emergency Squad.  Van-Zee looks identical to Superman, and allows the hero to impersonate him.  Sylvia, Van-Zee’s human wife, who looks identical to Lois Lane, has a cameo.

Superman’s impersonation gets exposed, and Van-Zee dons the Nightwing costume to aid Jimmy Olsen in freeing Superman, but the two wind up getting sent into the Phantom Zone.

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Superman gets him and Jimmy out of the Zone, but not before Than-Ol manages to get Kandor out of the Fortress, and enlarges it.

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But as Superman knows, the enlarging process makes the atomic bonds unstable, and the city begins to disintegrate.  The Kandorians will as well, but Superman shrinks them all, and puts them back into the bottle.

Early in, the Kandorians had torn down a statue of Superman.  But at the end of the story, grateful that he saved their lives and city, a new pair of statues are erected, to Nightwing and Flamebird.

Nightwing and Flamebird will go on to a long life, with many variations, over the years.  Van-Zee will take over the identity for quite a while in the 70s, before Dick Grayson adopts the name after shedding the Robin identity.  Playing off of that, Bette Kane, the first Bat-Girl, would get re-chirstened Flamebird.  A completely different version of the pair would go on to a run in Action Comics shortly before the New 52.

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World’s Finest 143 – Superman and Batman battle it out in Kandor

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Hamilton, Swan and Klein send Superman and Batman into Kandor for World’s Finest 143 (June 1964).

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Batman gets shot while stopping a crime, and sinks into a depression.  Superman and Robin come up with a plan to get him out of his funk.  Superman, in conjunction with some of his Kandorian friends, fake an attack by metalloids in the bottle city, and request Batman to help.  Ace, the Bathound appears briefly in this story, the final appearance of the faithful dog.

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Superman and Jimmy Olsen don their Nightwing and Flamebird costumes while in Kandor.  Jimmy came along because.  He just.  Nightwing and Flamebird!  Oh, and Nighthound, a telepathic Kryptonian dog that Jimmy had worked with in his own book makes his last appearance here as well.

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We also see Nor-Kann, and old friend of Jor-El and Lara, who appeared occasionally in Superman stories from this time.  He provides Batman and Robin with flight belts, making them a bit more “powerful” that Superman in his Nightwing guise.

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Things get complicated when Batman finds out he has been conned, but then the metalloids turn out to be real, and a sulky Batman refuses to believe Superman.  Aside from Batman’s completely out-of-character behavoiur from beginning to end, this story does give everyone a fun role in the adventure, and is miles above the Dictator of Krypton City story, the first time Superman and Batman had a tale set in Kandor.

 

Action 889 – Nightwing & Flamebird and Captain Atom end

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Rucka, Trautman, Perez and Bergantino bring the Nightwing and Flamebird series to a grand finale in Action 880 (Late June 2010).

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Chris emerges from the Phantom Zone, powered by the Nightwing of legend.  The Justice Society and Wonder Woman are on their last legs against Rao.

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It’s quite the battle, climaxing as Flamebird uses her power to destroy Jax-Ur, as Rao gets sucked into the Phantom Zone by Nightwing.

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Love the shot of them kissing as their powers wane and they return to their normal bodies.  They head off into War Against the Superman, so I am also glad their own series ended on a really happy note. Of all the variations of Nightwing and Flamebird over the years, these were by far the most interesting and effective.

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Captain Atom’s chapter ends with an epilogue, by Robinson and Urbano. Aggarro reveals that he is Mordru, and this realm will become Zerox, the sorceror’s world, in time.  Captain Atom is taken aback, he knows of Mordru as a villain.  Mordru explains that in the world Atom lives in, he would be perceived that way.  But following with an idea built in Legion of Suepr-Heroes, Mordru is also the right one to rule Zerox, the one who can control the planet’s wild magic.

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Mordru sends Captain Atom and Zachary Zatara back to the real world, and he returns just in time to take part in Justice League Generation Lost.

 

Action 888 – Wonder Woman and the JSA join the battle, and Captain Atom triumphs

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The gigantic Rao draws the attention of Wonder Woman and the Justice Society in Action 888 (Early June 2010), which effectively explains why none of these characters are involved in the New Krypton climax.

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Rucka, Trautman and Perez send Justice Society members Flash, Green Lantern, Dr. Fate and Mr. Terrific to aid Flamebird against Rao and Jax-Ur.  The heroes do their best, but barely have an impact.  Even Dr. Fate is outmatched by the Kryptonian legendary being.

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While this is going on, Chris is in the new Phantom Zone, and meets the Nightwing entity.  The Nightwing is much like Aether, from the final issue of DC Comics Presents, a sentient personification of the Phantom Zone.  Chris merges with the Nightwing.

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Captain Atom sure doesn’t look triumphant at the start of this chapter, by Robinson and Urbano.  Mirabia plans to make him another slave, alongside Zatara.

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Aggarro makes him realize that Mirabai’s magic is all illusion. He is not defeated, he simply perceives that he is.  Captain Atom gets his shit together, and takes Mirabai down.

Action 887 – building Rao, and readying for war

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Action 887 (May 2010) is billed as part of Last Stand of New Krypton, but really isn’t part of that story arc.

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The eponymous hero of the Web, a short-lived book, makes a cameo, fixing Lois Lane’s computer, on the first page of this story, by Rucka, Trautman and Perez.

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She then heads out to the Middle East, to cover the events there, and we read her article on the battle between Nightwing and Flamebird, and Jax-Ur’s creation, which he claims to be the god Rao.

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Rao absorbs all the energy thrown at it, just getting larger.

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Jax-Ur sends Chris back into the Phantom Zone, effectively re-creating it with the Nightwing.

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Captain Atom’s chapter, by Robinson and Urbano, continues the rapid pace of this series.  He searches Skartaris, and finds Aggarro and the others he fought with.

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They explain about Mirabia, the woman working with Sam Lane.  She now has Zachary Zatara under her spell, and readies her forces for the attack.

Action 886 – the legend of Nightwing and Flamebird, and Captain Atom sees the map

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Rucka, Trautman and Perez are joined by Fernando Dagnino and Raul Fernandez as the story delves into the legend that the starring heroes take their names from, in Action 886 (April 2010).

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Thara is getting tired of Chris’s insecurities, and his disbelief that she is the Flamebird of legend.  But Chris does not really know the story, not having been raised on Krypton, and she gives him a crystal encoded with the tale.

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So as Chris learns the story, so does the reader.  In Kryptonian theology, there is a creator, who builds for the glory of the Flamebird.  The Flamebird destroys each things he makes, to spur him on to greater achievements.  The creator loves the Flamebird, but the Flamebird is fascinated by a creature who lives in darkness, the mysterious Nightwing.

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The creator’s jealousy builds, as does his resentment that nothing he makes is good enough for the Flamebird.  Finally, he murders the Nightwing, to give the Flamebird the same pain he feels.

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Chris is convinced, and the two are quite happy, until Jax-Ur shows up.  He is the creator, determined to destroy the Nightwing again.

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In the Captain Atom chapter, by Robinson, Urbano and Bergantino, the Shadowpact show Captain Atom a map of the magical realms, including the 5th Dimension, Myrrah, the Nightshade realm, Hell, and Gemworld.  But the place that Captain Atom has to go to enter the realm he wants is accessible in the far north.

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Captain Atom flies to the arctic, and finds the entrance to the inner world of Skartaris.

Action 885 – Nightwing and Flamebird caught, and Captain Atom defends himself

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The Guardian takes in Nightwing and Flamebird in Rucka, Trautman and Perez’s story in Action 885 (March 2010).

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As Dr. Light and Jax-Ur finish their examination of Nightwing, the Guardian and the Science Police show up to arrest them.  Mon-El also arrives, and demands that the pair be kept safe, and insists on staying with them.

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Lois Lane also shows up, as does Sam Lane and a new Squad K.  It’s a big stand-off in the Science Police headquarters, and not likely to go well.

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But the one who ends it is Car-Vex, undercover as one of Lane’s soldiers, sets off a bomb, destroying the building.

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Robinson and Urbano put Captain Atom through a wringer in this chapter, as he faces an angry Justice League.  The last most knew of him was his transformation into Monarch during Countdown.

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Captain Atom’s speech t the League is summarized rather than shown.  Likely a good thing, as the Leaguers comment on how repetitive and self-pitying it is.  He insists that he needs to get back to the magical realm.

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So the League contact Shadowpact.  Blue Devil, Detective Chimp, Enchantress and Ragman show up.