I hated the zero issue of Nightwing so I hoped Year Zero would show a better story for Dick.
The Who: Dick Grayson
The Situation: During a movie the power goes out leaving Dick and three other teens needing to find a way out.
I don't like how Higgins writes Dick. Yes he likes the spotlight but to have him act like such an ass? Maybe as a little kid but not as a teen. It's like every flashback I see of him from pre-Robin has him acting unbearable because he has to show off. During a performance Dick does this upstaging his friends (judging by Raya's comment it happens a lot) which leaves them feeling bitter and not wanting to go see a movie with him. John Grayson tells his son he can't go two miles into Gotham alone to see the movie but Dick does it anyway. The storm happens and I think it's implied that his friends feel guilty. Why? It wasn't their fault he ran off. Dick even has the gull to act like he doesn't know why they didn't come when a group of movie going kids ask him where his friends are.
While he does end up learning a lesson about losing friends it seems he never learns to focus on the moment or stop showing off. And given who these friends are he must have continued to piss them off since they became his enemies, something I can't see Raya at least doing without her truly thinking he lives up to his namesake. The three kids that Dick run into have to escape a monster who seems to conveniently show up then disappear. In fact he's still on the loose at the end. I heard he appeared previously to this but it feels pointless in this, at least to someone who doesn't know his history. I'm not really sure why the girl character was part of this other than to be female. Nothing would be lost if she wasn't in the story. One boy named CJ wanted to leave his longtime friend Josh behind once he got injured and his dad happened to be a mob boss hinting at bad things to come. That's pretty much it.
Barbara Gordon's story could have easily been Stephanie's outside the family connections and Dick's feels ever farther removed from the character. Barbara acted responsibly and saved many lives. Dick pissed off his friends, disobeyed his parents, was lucky that the trio made sure he wasn't trampled, randomly came across a monster and stalled it, Not as heroic and having them fight a mutant or whatever this bad guy is took away from a very human setting. Yeah comic books but hear me out. This is about a black out and a storm where tensions are high and it brings out the worst in people. The only time the readers really see that is when Dick gets knocked out by the panicked crowd and CJ tries to ditch them. The drama is lacking and the humanity isn't explored making it feel like a wasted issue. Maybe if it cut all the monster fighting and focused on the betrayal of CJ or other people living in Gotham.
I suppose I might have been more annoyed if I hadn't read Batgirl first but this only makes me that more determined not to get this title with the current writer. It's not my cup of tea and doesn't feel like I'm reading about Dick Grayson. Next up will be Jasons' Year Zero story and I'm not confident that I'll get through reading it without making irritated noises. But really I don't think Dick Grayson needed a Year Zero story, Tim would make more sense as he lived in Gotham. Barbara made more sense as her father was already a important figure not to mention Jason's connection to the Red Hood name. This didn't and felt very tacked on.