“Nightwing” is a prime example in my mind of a middle-of-the-road comic. That doesn’t make it a bad comic, but rather, it’s in the average range (although you could probably give it a nudge to “above average”), delivering exactly what you’d expect from a “Nightwing” comic.
Writer Kyle Higgins has gone for the “young man strikes out on his own” angle for the comic, and ignoring that this is hardly the first time that Nightwing’s been free of Batman’s shadow, it’s not a bad idea. Putting him as the new owner of the circus that he and his family were members of years earlier has a lot of story potential (provided that it lasts), giving him an excuse to move from place to place and get tangled into new situations. Provided, of course, that it lasts beyond the initial story arc. And after the first issue’s initial confrontation with Saiko, I’ve liked that Nightwing is now being treated like a competent hero, one that can defeat his enemies with a combination of smarts and strength.
Some bits of the story feel a little bit like a deus ex machina; last issue we had the random revelation that Nightwing’s suit can dole out a huge jolt of electricity, and this month’s fight against Feedback features a similar “here’s what else my suit can do” moment. I’m not against Nightwing having outfitted himself with some helpful tools, but this is starting to feel like a bad trend. Hopefully future issues will have Nightwing get out of jams through methods other than another previously-undisclosed ability of his suit. Still, at least the solution involved thinking through the problem to get a solution, so Higgins gets credit for that.
Eddy Barrows and Eduardo Pansica share the pencils this month, and in general I’m quite happy with Barrows’ work on “Nightwing.” His art here is stronger than what we had on “Superman” and “Teen Titans,” with attractive portraits of his characters and a textured, well-realized world to set them all in. Barrows has a lot of fun with the flashbacks and images of the past, giving them a ghostly look as well as a throwback to that big ol’ collar that Nightwing himself used to wear, courtesy his father’s trapeze artist outfit. Pansica’s pencils fit in well with Barrows’, too; it’s definitely one of the more seamless pinch-hittings I’ve seen in a while. (Although does every comic book circus need to have an overweight bearded lady? Why do those two physical traits always go hand-in-hand?)
“Nightwing” is a pleasant afternoon read; it’s not at the top of the stack, but it’s a good enough read to keep sticking around. The small problems I had with the first issue are gone, and all-in-all it feels like it’s on a good course. Nightwing fans should definitely be happy to see their hero doing well.