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Nightwing #84

Posted: Wednesday, August 20, 2003
By: Jason Cornwell



Writer: Devin Grayson
Artists: Rick Leonardi (p), Jesse Delperdang (i)

Publisher: DC

Plot:
Believing her to be responsible for the murder of former Police Chief Redhorn, Nightwing attempts to bring the Tarantula to justice. However, his shoulder injury, and a lucky swipe across his cheek with one of her drug-laced darts, has Nightwing losing this battle, but not before he learns the Tarantula has hooked up with some rather questionable allies. Meanwhile, the investigative reporter that is dogging Nightwing hooks up with the mentally unstable Tad.

Comments:
Nightwing is a title that is currently on the bubble for me as on one hand I'm a big fan of the character, and I have been for most of my comic reading life thanks to his regular role in the New Teen Titans. However, the simple fact of the matter is that Devin Grayson's plots are not grabbing my interest, and given she hasn't radically changed to formula that Chuck Dixon employed when he was on this title, I can't really understand why I'm having such a hard time enjoying these issues. Part of it could be that there's no real sense of danger, as Nightwing sort of bounces his way around the panels, and even when he is caught by an attack, such as the Tarantula's drug tipped dart, nothing really happens to him beyond his passing out & waking up later unmolested. Now there's a subplot brewing with Blockbuster, and hopefully his return to these pages will act to kick things up a notch. The situation with Tad & the investigative reporter also looks mildly interesting. However, my main problem with this title is that the material never really breaks loose of the status quo that the title has been offering up for the better part of the past three years, and out of all the books that could currently use a good kick in the backside, this title would be number one on my list. I mean, this book is beginning to feel like the stagnant X-Men line from the 1990s.

As for the art, while I found the extended quality of the fight itself killed most of my enthusiasm for it, I can't deny that Rick Leonardi turned in one highly impressive looking battle, as the perspective jumps all over the place, and this lends a nice high energy feel to the action. The art also makes great use of its environment, as the two move their way through a tangle of metal catwalks, and steel piping. His version of Blockbuster is also cuts a rather imposing figure.

Final Word:
This issue spends roughly half of its time offering up a running battle between Nightwing & the new Tarantula. Now the action is certainly fast paced, and we do learn a somewhat interesting bit of information about Tarantula, and the rather questionable people she's chosen to ally herself with (though I suspect her alliance is a ruse, and that she'll reveal her true colors at the opportune moment). However, the simple fact of the matter is that watching two characters bounce around for close to ten pages of doesn't make for a riveting reading experience. Having their battle cut up with the injection of a couple subplots didn't exactly help the overall flow of this display of agility, as in addition to being a rather monotonous exchange, it is also saddled with numerous starts & stops, as well as a rather unrewarding finish. Still the idea that Blockbuster is making his return to these pages has me quite excited, and it's also nice to see the mentally unstable Tad is back in the picture.



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