“Nightwing” #6 is a disappointment. Just when developments from the past five issues of this book begin to come together, this title begins to fall apart just a little bit — but that little bit is quite disrupting to the flow Kyle Higgins and Eddy Barrows began in issue #1.
The opening page of “Nightwing” #6 offers a great deal of promise, with Nightwing dishing out a heaping helping of ass-kicking in the setting of an upper-class dining establishment — but one page-turn later, the artwork gets sloppy and the page layout becomes painful. The panels are angular and chaotic in their arrangement, like the results of a toddler’s sticker attack on the inside window of a car. Set upon the page, the panels jam into each other and jar the story. Clearly, Barrows needed a break to recharge and he gets it as Geraldo Borges tags in for the second half of the issue.
Borges’ and Barrows’ styles are just different enough to provide clear delineation in this issue when Borges takes the wheel. Barrows’ Nightwing moves more like an acrobat, carrying the build of a gymnast and using it to his advantage. Borges’ version is considerably bulkier and moves like Spider-Man, swinging from grappling lines when he should be tumbling or bouncing — and it’s Borges who fills out Nightwing’s tussle with the villainous Saiko.
The scrap with Saiko builds up for the first sixteen pages of this issue but lasts only four with the final page leaving Nightwing in the lurch for next month. While Kyle Higgins has definitely found a voice for Nightwing, giving the hero a much-needed booster shot and purpose with Dick Grayson as the proud owner of Haly’s Circus, “Nightwing” #6 lacks payoff. There’s tension as Nightwing tries to second-guess Saiko, but the final confrontation is far less dramatic than prescribed.
Higgins’ story could have wrapped in this issue but instead drags on making “Nightwing” #6 easily forgotten, save a few character moments. Considering its strong opening page, the issue could have been exciting and memorable. The result is just unfortunate. Until now, “Nightwing” has been a fun offbeat romp, defying expectations of the stereotypical Batbook. Hopefully, readers will see that in the next issue.