I love comic books. I love everything about them; the characters, the stories, and even the awesome costumes. Arguably, one of the most important things about a comic book is the mythos. Every successful comic has a mythos, a world it can call its own.
The worlds of Marvel and DC are considered mythos, but what's even cooler about those two infinitely large universes are the mythos within them. The Superman mythos, the Deadpool mythos, the Squirrel Girl mythos!
But my favorite mythos would definitely have to be Batman's. The Caped Crusader's world has been shaped and molded several times since his debut in the '70s, until finally becoming the dark and intriguing tale it is today. The coolest thing about Batman's mythos is that it's so easy to change it up. We've gotten many different storylines starring the Bat. And with these stories have come many different interpretations of Batman/Bruce Wayne.
We've seen everything from a '60s campy Batman, to a steampunk Batman, to a vampiric, blood-thirsty Batman!
I really love Batman's whole world, but he isn't my favorite thing about it. Sure, Batman's cool and quite obviously one of the strongest and most-well known characters in the world of comics, but my favorite character is one that is always unfairly put on the sidelines; Nightwing. Batman's first sidekick turned superhero!
He's just like Batman; he's strong-willed, combat-savvy and highly intelligent. All this is because he learned from Batman himself how to be an incredible superhero. But unlike Batman, who's gone toe-to-toe with more than one alien and won (and even died, yet still came back and won!), Nightwing is more human. He's got weaknesses, faults and other things that actual human beings have. It's why I think he's a much more compelling superhero than his mentor, and why I hate that he's been hardly used in the interchangeable mythos of Batman!
I would absolutely love to see more alternative versions of Nightwing! We've gotten a few, and he's always been a part of almost every Batman story, but he's never really had the focus on him.
Just look at two of Batman's biggest and greatest alternate storylines of all time, and my personal favorites—The Dark Knight Returns and Batman Beyond. I've always wondered what would happen if you took either of those great stories, and put the focus on Nightwing. Yes he was in both of them, and a huge part of the former, but I would have loved if he had gotten his own series set in either timeline. What would that be like?
Well, while I'll always be asking the guys at DC that question, one incredible filmmaker has decided to answer it himself! Well, sort of.
Grayson: Earth One is not a new web-series, but it's definitely one that is seriously overlooked—despite its already impressive fanbase and incredible lore. Rather than answer just one of my burning questions, it combines many of them and supplies a new answer. What would you get if you mashed the worlds of Batman Beyond AND The Dark Knight Returns, and put the focus on Nightwing? The answer is a completely new and original interpretation all together!
Grayson: Earth One is set in an alternate timeline, starring Richard Grayson as you've never seen him before! Like I said, the story is influenced by both The Dark Knight Returns and Batman Beyond, but it's nothing familiar to readers of either stories.
Director/Writer Hisonni Johnson does a spectacular job of creating a new and intriguing mythos for Nightwing and the entirety of the Batman world. In this series, you'll find new takes on existing DC characters, as well as fresh faces that you'll definitely want to get to know more! Take a look at the first episode below, before I give my breakdown.
As you can see, this is nothing like any other Gotham City-set story you've seen before! Let's breakdown this epic series, and take a closer look at what this alternate storyline holds.
A Gritty Punk Rock Nightwing!
This is the thing that some people might be a little indifferent towards. Nightwing has changed from his usual self, who comes across as a bit of a charming and joke-cracking goofball. In this series, he has a sort of punk rock attitude, and also happens to play in a rock band. Personally, I love this version of Nightwing! He's cool, he's tough, and his overall design is just bad-ass—reminding me a bit of The Crow.
But that's because I have no problem with writers changing up a character. Like I said, I love how changeable the Batman mythos is. You can take any one of the characters in that world and put them in entirely different situations, which could end up changing them from how they are usually perceived.
But for those who are afraid this Nightwing steers too far from the path of the previous one, they're actually surprisingly similar. Both of them are young and tough cool dudes, and Grayson: Earth One's Nightwing is still charming and a bit of a goofball. And as shown near the end of the episode, he's still just as cocky and arrogant as his source material—choosing to go after a whole gang of criminals by himself, only to have to be saved by Batman.
This version of Nightwing has an awesome personality, and an amazing design choice. He may get a suit later on, but personally, I wouldn't mind at all if he just kept the leather jacket look. Everybody knows his secret identity anyway, no need to wear a mask and tights.
Unfamiliar Familiar Faces!
The first person we see in the trailer is Gotham City mainstay, Barbara Gordon! Though she looks like she's pretty much the same as her mainstream DC counterpart, who knows? We don't see a lot of her this episode, but it's possible that in future episodes, we'll see her go through some sort of change in design, character or all of the above.
It's also unclear if she has become Batgirl yet, or if she will at all. Though she is easily kidnapped by a bunch of goons, that doesn't mean she can't fight; all superheroes have bad days!
In the episode, she does manage to get out of her handcuffs by - and I say this while cringing- dislocating her wrists (at least that's what I saw), and even contemplates giving Grayson a hand in battle before instead choosing to free the other captive girls. So it's pretty clear that she's got some form of survival skills, only time will tell if we get to see her use them in full!
We also see another member of the Bat-Family, Carrie Kelly, who - depending on who you ask- was the fourth Robin. In this series, she looks older than her comic book counterpart, and it is again unclear if she has become her superhero alter-ego yet, and if she'll ever don the Robin costume in the future.
Though it looks as if she's just a normal person. Perhaps she'll be taught by Grayson later on. After all, he's already teaching her how to play the guitar, what's some superhero lessons for an extra fee?
The Dark (And Mysterious) Knight!
You can't have a story set in and influenced by the world of Batman without the Dark Knight himself! Thankfully, he's only seen in two scenes. One at the beginning (as Bruce Wayne) and another near the end, where he's in his Batman attire, choking our titular vigilante. Too much Batman would distract the focus from Nightwing, and this is his story after all.
That being said, I do hope we see more appearances from Batman in the future, specifically because of his mysterious story. It seems that in this storyline, Nightwing and Batman were never partners, as evident by Dick Grayson asking who (or what) Batman is.
It's possible that this Dick Grayson was never taught by Batman. Which might explain why he seems to be less experienced, and not completely against killing—as seen by his encounter with a man catcalling at Carrie Kelly. It'd be really interesting to see how Batman fits into this new world, and what his relationship with Dick Grayson will be like since they were never the Dynamic Duo.
An Even More Lunatic Mr. Freeze!
Alright, so TECHNICALLY, he's not Mr. Freeze, as he's sorely lacking in the blue skin and ice rays department. But Victor Fries -pronounced like "freeze", not like the fried potato snack- seems to share a few similarities with his comic counterpart.
In the comics, Victor is an intelligent man who wants to find a cure for his wife, by any means necessary. This causes him to perform several heinous criminal acts, and come to blows with Batman and his friends several times. While Earth One Victor's reasons for being a criminal aren't outright said, it's pretty clear that he's looking for a DNA match for a specific person—that person more than likely being his dying wife.
This Victor however, is MUCH more psychotic than the one from the comics! I mean, he straight up chokes someone to death because..I don't know! They weren't a viable match I guess?! The main appeal for Victor is still here however. You still feel for him, as he's clearly a sad man looking for a cure for his love. Albeit he's a slightly more deranged man, but potato tomato...or something like that.
Grayson: Earth One is a new and amazing take on the Batman mythos. It stars a unique interpretation of one of my favorite superheroes, and takes inspiration from two of my favorite storylines!
It manages to be wonderfully different, yet also very familiar at the same time. And its story is certainly something you've never read or watched before. Grayson: Earth One is definitely on my list of must-watch web-series', and it should absolutely be on yours!
If you liked Grayson: Earth One, make sure to check out the Youtube channel that it's on, P3Series, for more amazing fan-made films!