Underneath a magnificent Phil Noto cover, this book is a team-up for the sake of being a team-up. The plot device that drives Nightwing (the Chris Kent version) to seek out Red Robin is contrived, but functional. It gets the two characters together to set in motion a chain of team-ups between the Superman and Batman families. Sterling Gates is the perfect writer for a team-up for team-up’s sake, as he fills this story with fannish enthusiasm and excitement without ever truly putting the good guys in harm’s way.
Lopez’s art is the perfect match for this story as he masterfully creates the shadowy depths of the world Tim Drake is running through on his quest. Equally so, Lopez delivers a seedy facility operated by the Penguin. Keeping his Kryptonians paced with his Gothamites, Lopez gives Nightwing’s battlesuit a retro-tech, almost steampunk appearance. This is a great looking book with art that is well-matched to the story and, most importantly, the characters.
Gates clearly enjoys playing with the characters in this story, including the villains used herein. The story maintains a nice balance between the characters, giving the reader a chance to sample many different aspects of both families and their foes. Those foes appear to be the links that are going to tie this series together, and I am looking forward to that.
Some folks may not enjoy this comic, as it seems to exist just to push these newer characters and concepts further into the public consciousness, but it does a little more than that. This issue is a fun story. It’s a comic without tether, boundary, or limit. Like the Johnny DC line, this book is instantly approachable and extremely enjoyable. Unlike the Johnny line, this story features a more significant helping of butt-kicking. I enjoyed this book for what it is — a fun story. I look forward to the rest of this series and hope they are all just as fun.