Written by Tim Seeley
Art by Javier Fernandez
Colors by Chris Sotomayor
Letters by Carlos M. Mangual
Review by Matthew Iung
The opening arc of Nightwing ended like first acts often do, with more questions than answers.
Where does Raptor really come from? Has Dick permanently damaged a relationship? When will the truth come out?
It’s important to point out that this individual issue is of good quality. Regardless of a couple of places Tim Seeley’s dialogue feels just a little clunky. As always everything that Dick says and thinks ranges from insightful to extremely funny and Seeley knows how to nail the important and emotional beats without fail. At the end of the issue Bruce confronts Dick about his methods during his mission, and Dick calls him out on his inability to trust anyone but himself. This conversation feels, sounds and escalates naturally into an argument. Batman leads aggressively and Dick does what he can to defend himself, Bruce however is as dedicated to the mission as ever and he chastises Dick like he was Robin again. This is a clever reworking of a flashback from issue two and what probably upset Dick most. When he finally gets his say Dick uses it as an exit and on his way out remarks about how he isn’t Bruce. This takes us back all the way to the first issue where Seeley laid the seeds for this question of identity and while it would be simpler to just say that Dick Grayson is Nightwing it also opens up the door for just as simple possibilities that quickly complicate Dick Grayson simply being Nightwing. For example Dick Grayson was Robin and Agent 37 and Batman and he has an entire other possible life as the Gray Son of Gotham if he where to join the owls. Not to mention he is probably just wants to regular old Dick Grayson every now and then. So as easy and important as the simple facts are, understanding who Dick isn’t plays a big part in how he operates whether he has the mask on or not.
This will come as no surprise to those currently reading Nightwing. Chris Sotomayor’s bold and decisive colors over Javier Fernandezs clean and highly detailed pencils have been and still are a brilliant combination. Every character has a distinct design, stance and body language giving them individuality. Fernandezs also gets to design a crazy owl monster and give it a minor makeover all while building an underground labyrinth of tall walls and secret rooms. Sotomayor always leaves those rooms well lit weather they are awash in orange candle light or just simply spotlit by a lone ceiling lamp. Each page looks like it was crafted with care and thought making this like a live band that has their timing just right as each new movement begins.
Verdict, Buy. Nightwing has a lot to say about identity and how it plays a role in our lives as we go through phases and meet new people. In regards to the questions posed in the opening we are going to have to wait a little for Rise of Raptor. Because unlike most stage plays with a short first act, in comics there is often an event in the solicits. With this one falling in between the first and second arcs there is a high chance of halting the momentum that has been built up thus far. But until it shows I have confidence that the creators will continue to put out solid work with every issue.