Confessions of a Comic Book Guy is a weekly column by Steve Bennett of Super-Fly Comics and Games in Yellow Springs, Ohio.  This week, columnist Steve Bennett looks at two Tom Taylor comics and a new animated series as they seek relevance.

Last week (see "Confessions -- The Dark Knight Revised"), I wrote how nice it would be if Batman updated his crime-fighting mission statement and stopped being "a billionaire aristocrat who beats up poor people, as well as the mentally ill."  It was only after I posted last week's column that I found out about Nightwing #83, where Dick Grayson decides to dole his billion-dollar inheritance from Alfred Pennyworth out to the poor of the city of Blüdhaven.

Well, it's actually a little more complicated than that.  Along with completely eliminating homelessness within a month and an end to poverty, his billion will work on "…employment, prisoner rehabilitation, public transport, free renewable energy, healthcare, and a guaranteed living wage," according to dialogue in the comic.  Because of this, some have dubbed Nightwing the socialist Batman, and while that’s not entirely accurate, it’s been obvious for a while that he needed a "thing."

I’ve previously used my saying, "This Is Who They Are,  This Is What They Do,  This Is What They’re For,” on Batman and Superman, but it’s harder to do with Nightwing.  The closest I’ve ever come is "Batman without baggage," both emotionally (he captured his parent’s killers) and literally (unlike Bruce, Dick has very little in the way of crimefighting apparatus, i.e.; he doesn’t have a lot in the way of superhero "stuff").

I have no illusions this new status quo will last long, but if nothing else, at least this gives the character something distinctive to distinguish him from the rest of the Bat-Family -- other than his butt-hugging outfit that is.  And the Tim Drake Robin is already the bisexual one (see "Media Lights Up With Drake Reveal").

Nightwing #83 was written by Tom Taylor, who’s also writing Superman: Son of Kal-El, which is taking the Jonathon Kent Superman in a similar direction (see "Confessions of a Comic Book Guy -- A Better World").  In the just-released second issue, Jon rescues a boatload of boat people and chastises the Metropolis police when they start putting them in handcuffs.

Back in 2019, I said if they were going to sell the He-Man And The Masters Of The Universe franchise to a new generation of kids they’d have to update the property (see "Confessions of a Comic Book Guy --Non-Toxic").  Well, the trailer for Netflix’s kid-centric version of MotU finally dropped and, yep, they certainly have.  For starters, here "Masters of the Universe" isn’t just a cool-sounding name; each of the main characters is a "master" of something, technology, demotion, sorcery, the wild, etc.

The Masters are also a smaller group of mostly teens who thanks to some magical gimcracks, can transform; this time, it’s not just Adam.  Of course, there’s He-Man, who actually wears a shirt, which is nice but he’s also impossibly top-heavy (he seems to have missed ‘leg day’ for a couple of years).  But there’s also Man-at-Arms, Battle Cat (who has been upgraded from mere cat/vehicle to an actual member of the group, so great strides have been made for animal inclusion), Teela/Sorceress and, I wish I was kidding, Ram Ma’am, a female version of Ram Man.  Me, I would have gone with just "Ram", but I’m sure Mattel knew what it was doing.

Speaking of which, Mattel seems to have put a lot of thought into the project.  According to the official Mattel press release, the show will "explore perseverance, teamwork, leadership, friendship, and believing in yourself – all themes that are critical for growing up… and changing the world.  We ALL have the power!"  That power is "to become the best version of ourselves."

The opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the writer, and do not necessarily reflect the views of the editorial staff of