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Thursday, October 20, 2011

DAMN Good Comics -- NIGHTWING #2

It may have taken a little while, but Dick Grayson is officially Nightwing again.

Last month's return of the Nightwing monthly series seemed a bit off somehow.  Maybe it was writer Kyle Higgins' excessive internal narrative captions that described way too much instead of simply showing, or maybe it just seemed strange to see Grayson back as Nightwing again after being such an effective Batman, but this wasn't Nightwing.  Not yet.

Four weeks later and we finally have a book that feels like the previous Nightwing series that was handled so well by Chuck Dixon and Peter J. Tomasi.  Higgins still relies too heavily on narrative captions, but he pulls back a bit here and things improve considerably.  Dick's apparent Kryptonite-like weakness for redheads resurfaces, leading to a sudden membership in the Mile High Club, even though the character's Pre-Flashpoint track record makes you wonder how long it'll be before Raya the Love Interest turns out to be evil.

The real highlight of the issue though, is the outstanding art by Eddy Barrows.  Barrows did some great work on the first issue, but he's rapidly evolving to another level.  Right from the start, everything is bold and vibrant, especially thanks to Rod Reis' coloring, with solid action sequences and poses that look dynamic.  Barrows is also improving on facial expressions, showcasing Grayson's natural charm in scenes with Raya and the final look of sadness in Mr. Haly's left eye as he dies.  If Barrows keeps growing at this pace, this series will look absolutely breathtaking six months from now.

As for Saiko, the first villain of this new Nightwing era, I think he has potential despite his somewhat ridiculous name.  Yeah, it's a pun on the word "Psycho" but I also keep waiting for Nightwing to compare his name to a Seiko watch or perhaps some Japanese sake.  By not revealing exactly why Saiko considers Grayson "Gotham's fiercest killer," it seems a rematch down the road is inevitable, especially since the old comic book axiom of "the villain isn't really dead if there's no body...and even then" seems to be in full effect here.

So at last, we finally have a Nightwing comic that feels like a Nightwing comic.  Now if DC Comics could just switch his chest symbol back to blue from red...

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