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Nightwing #151

Posted: Friday, December 12, 2008
By: Erik Norris

Peter Tomasi
Doug Mahnke, Shawn Moll, Alamy & Ramos (i), Hi-Fi (c)
DC Comics
If I didnít know Nightwing had two more issues I would swear this was the final issue before the curtain closed on the characterís solo series. For all intents and purposes this feels like a wrap-up to everything Tomasi set-up from his first issue. We have Dick attempting to complete his ďGreat LeapĒ by beating Bruceís upstanding free-fall record, a confrontation with Harvey Dent in Arhkam following their showdown last issue, closure with his current flame from Marv Wolfmanís run on the title, and a great final moment showing exactly what Tim Drake, Dick Grayson, and Alfred Pennyworth are -- family.

But as I said before, this isnít the final issue. We have a ďFaces of EvilĒ story next month and after that is the final ďLast RitesĒ issue segueing Dick Grayson into whatever new role he will play in the DCU post Final Crisis (my bets on being Batman). But Iím here to judge this single issue and how well it wraps up a storyline for being an epilogue, so I guess itís about high time I got to doing just that.

A lot is accomplished in this issue of Nightwing. From my quick, rapid-fire list, you can probably see what Iím talking about. Issue #151 is essentially Peter Tomasiís swansong to Nightwing. It successfully accomplishes everything you might be looking for in a Nightwing comic. He one-ups the bad guy, uses his charm on not one, but two girls, proves how bad-ass he is by showing up Batman, and shows how important he is to the rest of the DC super-hero community and his family. Dick Grayson is the glue of the DCU, Ďnuff said. Hell, it could be argued that was one of the through-lines of Infinite Crisis a few years ago. So itís nice of Tomasi to show all this in a single 22 page comic. Truthfully, this single issue is my favorite of Tomasiís tenure on the title, and he has had twelve stellar issues thus far.

Then thereís Doug Mahnke, DCís clean-up hitter as of recently. The dude is everywhere. Doing a bunch of work on Final Crisis (DC Universe 0, Requiem, Supeman Beyond, Final Crisis #7), as well as jobs on JLA, and here on Nightwing, Doug Mahnke has finally risen to the A-list. And while having heroes that are uber-buff usually isnít my style, Mahnkeís characters donít distract me from the narrative at all because, truthfully, itís so polished I could case less if Dick Grayson, a normal human, has more muscles than God. The only segment Mahnke doesnít draw in this issue is one involving Nightwing, Superman, and Green Lantern (John Stewart) finding a new burial ground for fallen heroes after the events of ďFreefall.Ē However, it isnít jarring because fill-in artist Shawn Moll uses mostly wide shots to establish location instead of focusing on close-ups making the distinguishing characteristics of each artist a mute point. Therefore, both artists work in tandem to make a delicious plate of artwork.

Itís a shame this series is ending so soon. I know the character Nightwing will continue to show his face in other series but unfortunately itís without Peter Tomasiís amazing characterization. And thatís what makes me very sad about this seriesí cancellation. But I am thankful we have this awesome run on Nightwing to re-read in the future.



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