SPOILER WARNING: Please be warned that this review contains minor spoilers as they relate to “Batman” #7-8.
“Night of the Owls” is falling all across Gotham City and touching every Batbook in its path. Beyond the Scott Snyder-penned main “Batman” title, “Nightwing” #8 is struck first as a prelude issue and features the backstory of a Talon (the Court of Owls assassins). In addition to appearing in this issue, that Talon also shares bloodlines with Dick Grayson.
Kyle Higgins’ interpretation of Nightwing’s voice has been consistent throughout the series and this issue is no exception. Nightwing is an intelligent young man who possesses a fair degree of detective skills, but more importantly, as is prominently displayed in this issue, has a strong moral code and deftly prioritizes what is right or more important to the greater good. Higgins bounces out of Nightwing’s thoughts for most of the issue, providing the thoughts of the Talon in question through the use of caption boxes. The Talon narrates his life for us and wraps it all up, with his purpose and connection to Gotham. It reads like a maniacal monologue (think “The Incredibles”), but serves the purpose of defining what Gotham means to the Court of Owls.
Eddy Barrows’ art is detailed and wild, barely remaining under control and sometimes crossing the line during the fight scenes. One such occurrence is a hideous dismemberment that breaks the panel frame in an almost comical way. That particular scene is excessively gory for the sake of gore and perhaps would have more dramatic if the gore were toned down. Barrows really excels in this issue during the scenes set at the turn of the century. Rod Reis applies moody coloring that ranges from grayscale to moody sepia tones with color accents as the account of the past progresses. Reis’ color mastery accentuates the distinct time periods this narrative plows through.
As tie-in issues go, this one is wonderfully freestanding. Everything, and I do mean everything, you need to know about the Court of Owls as it affects Nightwing is contained in this issue. What you don’t get, however, is the complete scope or history of the threat. That makes this issue a nice accessory for readers of “Batman” looking to enjoy the full scope of things or a good “Nightwing” story for those who only follow Dick Grayson’s adventures.