In Knight Terrors: Nightwing #2, as Nightwing and Scarecrow search for ways to escape Arkham Asylum, the deepest fears of Dick Grayson increase their offensive to keep the two trapped forever!
Synopsis (Spoilers Ahead): Knight Terrors: Nightwing #2 begins with Nightwing (Dick Grayson) and Scarecrow (Jonathan Crane) watching as a cyberized Oracle is led across the halls of Arkham Asylum. Scarecrow tells Nightwing that he’s in possession of a map, which can guide them across the building, but Nightwing notes that the map makes no geographical sense upon reading it. Suddenly the doors open up, and Nightwing is welcomed into the dining hall by twisted images of his and Batman’s rogues. Harley Quinn appears as a guard, and a fight ensues, leaving Nightwing and Crane an opportunity to follow where Oracle is being held.
Crane, making note of a former inmate named Basil Grimes, pulls out a Walkie-Talkie, and hears Grimes’ voice leading them through the hallways. Finding his zombified corpse, the still-animated Grimes taunts Nightwing over his many mistakes throughout the years. Eventually they find Oracle, who has a literal bug on her mechanized heart. Suddenly the group is attacked by an image of Tony Zucco as a ringleader at the Haly Circus big top, with a deranged Batman attacking and accusing Nightwing of killing him. Before long, the Batgirls arrive – having been beset with their own worst fears, and the team escapes the nightmare by fleeing the now burning big top. Nightwing offers to bring Crane with them, but he refuses. Soon after, Dick wakes up in his apartment, warily believing that his nightmare has finally ended.
Analysis: I’m not a fan of DC crossover stories, and this was an example of why that is. Typically, unless it’s intended as a giant, universe-sprawling event like Infinite Crisis, the crossovers prove to be wastes of time. That wasn’t always the case, with Paul Levitz and Denny O’Neil really putting in work editorially back in the 90s with storylines like Final Night and the various Bat-crossovers. But that’s over 25 years ago, and it’s too long of a time to cite No Man’s Land and others as recent standards. Really, the last crossover I enjoyed was Blackest Night as an all-out attack story for most of the major heroes.
What gets me about Knight Terrors is that the very concept should be revelatory for the characters. The Bat-family, however, deal with this sort of psychological attack too often for this to mean anything. How often have they gone up against Scarecrow or other characters attacking them for their insecurities and sense of failures? Often, you don’t even need a fear toxin, the characters have probably been shown to have more nightmares than any comic book franchise on the market. So when we get something like Knight Terrors: Nightwing – what are we to expect?