CREDITS: Written by Hilary J. Bader; directed by Butch Lukic (just graduated from storyboard artist to director, but has been with the DCAU since the first year).
REVIEW: We've seen Dick Grayson on the New Adventures, but not yet as Nightwing, an acrobatic hero, more "winged" than what we're used to, who having lived a long time in Batman's shadow, is rather territorial about his cases. The culmination of Dick's father/son arc, the Nightwing persona doesn't seem to want any help, rather the opposite of Bruce who has since built a team around himself. But that could change if Catwoman is true to her word and really does want to reform and team up (and romance the new kid on the block?). Eventually, we find out she was manipulating him, and further, that he and Batman were manipulating her. Since when? Unsure. But there are enough scenes where Nightwing proclaims his independence that she DOESN'T have access to that we can safely believe the sentiment is real even if Dick does end up working with his stern old man.
The level of action is very high in this one, each fight different and making use of its location in a clever way. The bit with the forklift, the motorcycle stunts, the bad guy's hook hand, the pool cleaner's net, the giant propeller... all are well used and give the episode a lot of oomph.
As for the Catwoman redesign, all I can say is that a black-haired Selina seems much more natural, but I keep wondering why her face is so pale when she's in costume. Does she have to apply make-up every time? It's an odd choice that doesn't seem to take her civilian identity into account. I like her scaring rats though. The characterization is fun, even if her anti-hero leanings have long been jettisoned.
IN THE COMICS: Catwoman's new look better reflects the comic book version of this era (1997). Nightwing's too (the ponytail). This is the first appearance of Dick Grayson AS Nightwing, but he's essentially the same character he is in the comics, complete with a relationship with Barbara Gordon in his past. Has the comic book Nightwing ever been able to "fly" as well as this one though?
SOUNDS LIKE: Enrique El Gancho is played by Sal Lopez, T.H.E. Rock in Full Metal Jacket.
REWATCHABILITY: Medium-High - An action-packed introduction to Dick's new identity, with some nice twists on the old formulae.