Writer: Devin Grayson
Artists: Rick Leonardi (p), Jesse Delperdang & John Lowe (i)
Publisher: DC Comics
Dick’s former partner (and current captain) kicks him off the force after last issue’s discovery that he’s Nightwing. To take his mind off his anger, Dick gives himself twelve hours to solve Chief Redhorn’s murder. Meanwhile, we learn that Blockbuster blames Nightwing for his mother’s death.
In the short time Grayson’s been on the book she’s managed to kill off the most interesting of Nightwing’s Rogues Gallery, Torque, and the main source of his professional and vigilante headaches, Chief Redhorn. With this issue, she seemingly completes her efforts to make this a below average book by taking away one of the most interesting aspects of the books; Dick’s struggle to work within the law (both literally and figuratively) by day and outside of it by night. The re-appearance of Blockbuster was by no means a surprise, but what is surprising is how poorly he’s written. He comes off whiney and less intelligent than previously shown. His new motivation for hating Nightwing feels like a big reach, and that makes for weak conflict. I’ve been reading Nightwing for almost 5 years straight now, and this has to be the worst the title has been in a while.
So what’s keeping me on the title? For all she’s done to kill the plot, Grayson does have some good ideas. The new, female version of Tarantula could prove intriguing, especially given the events of this issue. The author seems to have a deep understanding of the character and she writes Dick in such a way that I can identify with him. He’s mad at being fired, and we see him both lose himself in his other job and take out his frustrations on his girlfriend. Watching Dick combine detective and acrobatic skills was a lot of fun, as is reading his inner monologue.
This issue was actually a lot of fun to read once I got past the first few pages, and that’s due in large part to Rick Leonardi’s pencils. The meat of the story is Dick trying to solve the murder of Chief Redhorn, and given that there are very few ways to kill a cop while he’s on one of the top floors of his station Leonardi gets to showcase Nightwing’s acrobatic abilities. His style reminds me of Mark Bagley’s over in Ultimate Spider-Man as neither is particularly flashy, but their work is expressive without getting in the way of the story. That’s something I couldn’t say about previous Nightwing artists Scott McDaniel and Trevor McCarthy. Unfortunately, the inking team gets a little too carried away when outlining the characters and they end up looking like they were pulled out of the short lived “Clerks” cartoon.
If you want a good story featuring a non-super-powered vigilante, do yourself a favor and pick up any of the Chuck Dixon, Scott McDaniel Nightwing trades. The current iteration of the character is nothing like those early stories, and fans of Dick Grayson’s alter ego are worse for it.
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