The artwork in “Nightwing” #7 is handled by a team of pencilers and inkers rather than a single pairing, as memories and flashbacks are illustrated with soft lines and emotion and the current action is defined and striking in its juxtaposition. The result is an issue that immediately feels important and monumental in scope. From the second page of “Nightwing” #7, the art alone raises the stakes and weaves together memories of a past bursting forth to the present in dramatic fashion, even before Kyle Higgins’ dialogue is taken in.
We learn at the close of the issue that #7 has been subtitled “Turning Points,” which the artwork thematically enacts from page to page. Displaying key memories of both Nightwing and Saiko in the background as their battle rages show these characters as driven by past experiences while a new event plays out. The artistic result is nothing short of breathtaking as even readers who are new to the series will experience the gravitas of this issue thanks to this daring blend of artistic treatments.
As for the plot itself, Kyle Higgins has crafted a story unique to Dick Grayson in a way that centers on his unique perspective on his life. Battling demons from Nightwing’s past (both figuratively and literally) at Haly’s Circus, Higgins provides Dick an inner monologue that shows a man discovering his place in the world and figuring out what Gotham City means both to him and to others. Even with the appearance of Batman and Alfred in the latter half of “Nightwing” #7, the spotlight never wavers from Dick’s viewpoint, as fans of Scott Snyder’s “Batman” are treated to a different perspective on Gotham and the events leading up to “Night of the Owls.” The result of Higgins’ deft handling of dialogue and monologue is a book that feels different from other Bat-books in a very unique way. The comic is called “Nightwing,” after all, and the culmination of the first storyline since the New 52 relaunch has defined that character and the series itself in an impressive fashion.
Whereas previous Bat-crossovers have felt like Batman stories with a supporting cast squarely in the background, the creative team of “Nightwing” #7 has proven Dick won’t be forgotten in the upcoming shuffle. Not only does issue #7 conclude the Saiko storyline as well as introduce “Night of the Owls,” the final page instigates a new storyline and direction for our hero to explore, separate from Batman and the Court. The plot of “Nightwing” #7 accomplishes as much as any single issue possibly can, crafted and carried by beautiful artwork all the while. If you have been hesitant about this series to date, #7 is incredibly strong evidence this book is just hitting its stride. I have dipped in and out of “Nightwing” since the relaunch, but issue #7 just rocketed it to the top of my pull-list. Nothing short of a fantastic superhero comic book, “Nightwing” #7 is a turning point in more ways than one.