With A Whimper

February 14th, 2009 Posted by Esther Inglis-Arkell

The last issue of Nightwing has been published.  No one is taking much notice of it, and it is with a heavy heart that I admit that I can see why.

A number of books are ending this month – Nightwing, Robin, Birds of Prey, and The Blue Beetle – leaving me with a severely reduced pull-list.  But while Robin has ended with developments that, in my opinion, suck so hard that they could depressurize a space shuttle, the final few stories leave us with some sense of completion for the series.  Tim Drake has become someone new.  Sucky, but new.

Nightwing, on the other hand, is a sad example of one of those books whose characters are never quite heavyweights in their own right, but are close enough to the larger fictional universe that they get sucked into all plot lines.  Bludhaven was flattened in Final Crisis.  The main character undertook a pointless trip to New York because everything needed to be different One Year Later.  He had a girlfriend.  She moved away.  He found another.  She moved away.  Given another year or so he would have found another and she would have disappeared just as abruptly, because he’s practically betrothed to a character in another book.  Vigilante hijacked the plot for about three months in order to publicize that character’s upcoming book.

Then it was time for the unfortunate Pre-Event-Release-Date, Post-Event-Continuity to kick in.  This happens during every Big Event.  All the characters in a minor book hint incessantly at all the wild and crazy things that have happened in Event books that have yet to be released, leaving the reader confused and missing the emotional impact of the story.

I like the character of Dick Grayson, who is, of all the Bats, the cheeriest.  But after Devin Grayson left the series was helmed by too many different authors going too many different directions.  It was lurching and staggering like a punch-drunk boxer, and it was merciful to throw in the towel now.  I just wish that there were more of a sense of completion, rather than the books just being cut off. 

But who knows?  Maybe it will come back after the next Big Event.  At least that way it will have a fresh start.

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Catching Flies

November 17th, 2008 Posted by david brothers

I realize that the Bat-books are Esther’s purview, but I have a very, very important question here. What is going on in this panel?

Near as I can tell, Nightwing is torturing info out of a crook by pouring honey over his head and therefore tempting rats into eating him? Is that it? I just don’t understand.

This is the most remarkable thing in the book, by the way– the other highlights are Nightwing’s computer password (“big top”) and Two Face’s plan to terrorize New York by throwing giant bags of (scarred) pennies off the Empire State Building.

It’s all played perfectly straight. Terrible.

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