There's been a lot of talk over the "five year" time period and the question of how all the Batman history and continuity could fit in. This issues starts off with "A Few Years Ago." That makes it easier to swallow and we don't have to get hung up on trying to sort out the timeline.
This is Dick Grayson while he was still at Haly's Circus. There are some tweaks and updates to his character compared to what we already know. Seeing him race across town with a buddy while doing some parkour moves separates him from the Golden Age version that many didn't take seriously.
One focus we see is Dick's ability to read people and surroundings. It's not a superhuman ability but something he's been trained to do. It makes sense in being an acrobat and trapeze artist. He has to know what his partners are going to do and when they're going to make their move. I don't recall this really being mentioned before but it's a brilliant idea.
While reading this, I kept thinking back to the original origin. It seemed Dick's parents were killed and he simply moved in with Bruce and became his ward. We have seen stories afterward where Dick deal with trying to solve what happened. This little updated story adds a little more credibility to the situation. There's more of a look at how he deals with it all as he goes along the path that will eventually lead him to become Robin and then Nightwing.
The art carries the frantic pacing of the action. Thank goodness Eddy Barrows was used to handle the art duties here. If you've been wondering what Dick's Robin costume looked like, you'll find out here. (Did he wear shorts and pixie boots?) Seeing some of his training process makes Nightwing an even cooler character than he was before.
Here we go with the time thing again. Dick seems younger here as if this story did take place more than five years prior to the current issues. The updates to his story are great but there were some elements that made him a little similar to Jason Todd and Tim Drake. Each has always had different character traits but we're seeing some overlap here.
There was a couple minor cheesy moments but overall it was full of excitement.
This is where we get to see the birth of Dick Grayson as a crime fighter. Despite already knowing his origin, there is plenty to see here to make this a fun and exciting read. Some aspects of Dick's past, abilities and training have been tweaked but this is the time to do it after all. The New 52 is about updating the characters and it's definitely not taking extreme liberties that will earn the wrath of fans. Dick Grayson as Robin was cool but let's be honest, he was something most of us chuckled at. Kyle Higgins and Tom Defalco have added just a tiny bit of spice to push him over the top. I want to see more of Dick in this time period. I couldn't ask for anything more in this issue except for extra pages to keep the story going.