|"'Til Death Do Us Part"|
|First Published:||January 18, 2012|
|Previous Issue:||Nightwing #4|
|Next Issue:||Nightwing #6|
"'Til Death Do Us Part"Edit
Somewhere in New Orleans, a woman named Zohna offers the souls of her parents to a demon in exchange for having a certain someone brought to her and bonded to her eternally: Jimmy Clark, the clown at Haly's Circus.
Meanwhile, Dick Grayson has missed the circus train as a result of his activities as Nightwing. Fortunately, he has memorized the roadmaps of most US states in order that he can ride his bike parallel to the train and catch up enough to jump it straight into the open caboose, which he cleverly chose as his storage car, hoping to avoid scrutiny.
Dick is perplexed by recent events. Before watching Mr. Haly die before his eyes, his old friend had given him a clue to the secret of recent attacks by an assassin called Saiko. This clue had led to a book which Dick found hidden in the inner circle of the circus' ring, full of names including his own.
As the circus folk prepare for that night's show, Jimmy is visibly shaken by a note he has received, heavily suggesting that a woman is infatuated with him. He is startled by the approach of Raya, who becomes concerned at his apparent distress. Jimmy brushes it off, and he is saved any further discussion by Marc who tells Raya to ask Dick for approval on laying some cement to ballast the tent poles.
Reluctantly, Raya knocks on Dick's door, having avoided him since her encounter with Barbara Gordon. She happens to wake Dick from a dream in which he remembers rehearsing for the big-top trapeze show with his friend Raymond. That night would be the last time he'd ever see his parents or Raymond alive. Tersely, Raya asks about the cement, and Dick okays it. However, he presses her to discuss their relationship, as he senses her coldness. She professes that her avoidance is not related to Barbara, so he asks her on a date. Raya refuses, and so Dick assures her that he is okay with simply letting things happen rather than over-thinking their relationship, and Raya smiles.
That night during the show, Dick notices that Jimmy is sweating unnaturally, and looks like he may pass out. Jimmy claims that he's merely warm, and Dick offers to get him some water. As soon as dick is out of sight, Zohna's demon appears and captures Jimmy in a thick fist. It doesn't take much before Jimmy passes out, which gives Dick the opportunity to try to fight back without witnesses.
Unfortunately, he's no match for the demon, and one punch sends him flying. After peeking in on Raya and Marc's act and reconciling himself to the fact that dinner with the girl is probably off, Dick dons his costume and chases after the demon on his bike. He uses his thermal lenses to track the demon, but he is confused by the fact that its trail seems to be the absence of heat, rather than an abundance of it.
The demon takes Jimmy back to the ceremony where Zohna performed the ceremony that called the demon. The clown is bound to the face of Zohna's family crypt, and as she calls upon the demon to bind him to her soul eternally, she shows him the ring with which he had once been engaged to her.
Before the ritual can begin, Nightwing leaps into action, knocking Zohna off her feet and landing a kick in the demon's face. Using his acrobatics, he carefully avoids the demon's attacks, but in the meantime, Zohna manages to begin the ritual. The crest on the crypt suddenly begins to glow with a bright light, and Jimmy writhes in pain.
Nightwing gets an idea, and provokes the demon into charging at him. Dick times his dodge just right, and the demon charges straight into the crypt, destroying the glowing crest, and thereby breaking the spell that would bind the two people together. Afterward, Nightwing subdues Zohna, and frees Jimmy. Jimmy is horrified that she gave up the souls of her family in order to summon the demon, and he wishes that he could be free of his past.
The next day, Dick finds Jimmy staring at a sewer grate, and asks to know what happened last night. The clown doesn't share what it was in his past that led to the night's events, but he warns that Dick should be careful about digging up his past by joining the circus again. Some things, he says, are better left buried. With that, he tosses the ring into the sewers.
That night, Raya meets with Saiko, revealing that she has been a part of the conspiracy that surrounds Dick's return to the circus. Saiko removes his mask to reveal that he is actually Dick's old friend Raymond, still alive after all this time. He questions Raya's resolve in carrying out their plan, and after she reassures him, they embrace.
"'Til Death Do Us Part"Edit
- Raya Vestri
- Jimmy Clark
- Acheron (Demon)
- Saiko (Raymond) (Real identity revealed)
- Bryan Haly
- Zane (mentioned only)
- New Orleans