Nightwing #25 by Kyle Higgins – Friday Flash Review [Bane of Kings/Shadowhawk]

Nightwing 25

Bane of Kings and Shadowhawk take a look at the recent issue of DC’s Nightwing, a Zero Year tie-in issue from series writer Kyle Higgins.

A solid enough issue, worth checking out.” ~Bane of Kings, The Founding Fields

An interesting enough take on Dick Grayson’s activities during the blackout of Gotham, this was a decent issue at best.” ~Shadowhawk, The Founding Fields

Bane of Kings:

Art: Will Conrad, Cliff Richards | Colours: Peter Pantazis

A BATMAN: ZERO YEAR tie-in! Dick Grayson frantically tries to find Haly’s Circus—and his parents—as Gotham City is plunged into total darkness!

Nightwing has been a series that although has been suffering from constant crossovers since its conception – namely The Night of Owls and the Death of the Family – and despite keeping Kyle Higgins on the book the series has been unable to find a stable artist but instead has managed to weave a fairly solid narrative over the course of its run. However, it’s safe to say that Higgins has got to the point with the latest arc where he really pulls of Nightwing extremely well with the journey to Chicago really helping him establish himself as a character on his own – showing us that the move should have happened right from the start – I certainly wouldn’t mind him to be disconnected from the Bat-Family, building his life in either Chicago, Blüdhaven (preferably) or any other major city – for a good three arcs before being involved in the multiple Batman related crossovers. The same can also be said for other Bat-Family characters as well. Yet here we are – with another crossover. The only difference is this is more like last year’s #0 issues as opposed to Death of the Family – as Higgins explores a pre-Nightwing Dick Grayson, who is still part of the Flying Graysons with his parents.

The character development in this issue is one of its strongest points, with Higgins using the events of Zero Year to help Dick really grow as a character and explore some important life lessons – as a young kid, he’s constantly striving to pull out all the stops thus alienating his friends at the Circus. This promptly sees him go to the movies alone – and midway through the latest cheesy action blockbuster – the power cuts out. And Dick, after being saved from a stampeding horde of cinema attendees fleeing for their lives by a group of strangers – must escape with them to safety. However, this new friendship could be shattered before it even had the chance to develop when Amygdala escapes from Gotham Central during the blackout.

Whilst this issue may be a bit heavy handed and blunt in its approach – with little but this sentimental tale actually in a way fits the character, delivering something that you might even have expected from a Dick Grayson flashback chapter. If you’re not familiar with the ongoing Zero Year narrative in Snyder’s Batman then you don’t need to have read that in order know what’s going on. The same can really be said with all the Zero Year tie-ins – or at least those that I’ve read (Action Comics, Detective Comics, Green Arrow, Batgirl and Nightwing) – and the issue is very solid. Indeed, that’s another thing about the Zero Year tie-ins that I’ve read so far, they’re all very enjoyable. I haven’t disliked an issue yet –which kind of makes me regret the fact that I’m not getting a Zero Year tie-in in the next two months – and that’s something that I’d never thought I’d say. Then again, my experience with DC Comics tie-ins has been largely positive – I’ve read pretty much all of the Death of the Family tie-ins aside from the Catwoman ones and I generally enjoyed more of them then I disliked. And heck, I’m even finding some of the Forever Evil tie-ins better than the actual ongoing storyline.

The artwork in this issue is pretty solid. Despite being a story full of optimism, Conrad and Richards, with Pantazis on the colours, do a pretty decent job at giving Gotham the grimdark feel with some pretty solid artwork.

However, despite being a strong issue, Nightwing #25 is not without its flaws. The pricetag of $3.99 like Batgirl, is a bit much for what you’re getting because the content really didn’t feel like more than your average length of a Nightwing issue. And when the characters are walking through Gotham we don’t really get a feel for the sheer madness and chaos that a city-wide blackout would cause – but after the barbarism in the opening scenes at the cinema –  nothing more is really featured, with everybody gone – which is a shame. But again – it’s a minor letdown for me, like the price.

On the whole though, Nightwing #25 is a solid issue, and recommended. It’s certainly worth checking out, whether you’ve been following the series or not – as long as you’re roughly familiar with the character.

Rating: 4/5

Nightwing 25

Shadowhawk:

I’ve been reading Kyle Higgins’ New 52 run on Nightwing since the very first issue and its a series that I’ve enjoyed immensely, through the two major crossovers that it has seen in the two years since the launch of the New 52: Court of Owls and Death of the Family. Now its time for a one-shot tie-in to the ongoing Zero Year storyline in Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo’s Batman. This proved to be an interesting issue in that, despite being a tie-in, Batman himself doesn’t feature anywhere at all. This is pretty much the same as with Marguerite Bennett’s Batgirl #25 in which we see Barbara Gordon do her part to help save Gotham during Zero Year.

The thing about this issue is that it is a fairly straightforward story, start to finish. There are some twists here and there, but other than that it is a predictable story that hits all the right beats, getting you to “ooh” and “aah” at the right time. This is a Dick Grayson before he ever met Bruce Wayne/Batman, and so there are none of the usual trappings of Nightwing and his vigilante persona. There aren’t even any trappings of Dick Grayson as Robin, the first Robin in fact. So its an interesting time to set the story in, with a protagonist who is different yet similar.

To be honest, I wasn’t too taken with this issue, much like Batman #25, which I think turned out to be a too mediocre, considering how consistently that series has been since issue 1. With Nightwing #25, it feels as if Kyle is going through the motions, and little else. It robs the story of the requisite punch. The scenes in the circus with Dick and his friends Raymond and Raya were some of the best in the issue, and its great to see them return after the previous stories that Kyle has told in the series. Raya particularly since she made her exit in a rather emotional and heartfelt way. I was really sad to see her go, so I liked her return to the series, no matter how brief.

Some of the dialogue and situations were a little ham-fisted and cheesy, but I liked them all the same. We’ve been having a lot of character drama in the series for a good long while now, so getting an issue where things are simple and straightforward, it works. The monotony of the character drama is broken and we can go back to the feel-good adventure vibe of the series. Or what I think the series should have.

The pencils in this issue are by series regulars Will Conrad and Cliff Richards on the pencils, Pete Pantazis on the colours and Carlos M. Mangual on the letters. The art was alright. This isn’t the regular character of course, and neither is it the regular Gotham, so everything is quite different. Nothing here really spoke Gotham in trouble for me, so that was a major misstep in all respects. So what we have here is a so-so story and some meh art. I liked the issue issue well enough, and while I wouldn’t exactly recommend it all that highly, I would say to read it all the same if you just want to relax and stuff, take a break from the hard-hitting stories of the recent issues.

Rating: 6/10

Shadowhawk is a regular contributor to TFF. A resident of Dubai, Shadowhawk reads, reads and reads. His opinions are always clear and concise. His articles always worth reading.

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