Let’s catch up! The last issue ended with Paragon killing all of his henchmen with whips stolen from the set of Iron Man II. All alone now, Paragon turned to Detective Nie with an offer of some kind. Detective Nie believes that Nightwing killed two cops, one of which was Nie’s lover, but that crime was actually committed by Saiko in issue #1 from last September. Dick Grayson, who is trying to revitalize Amusement Mile, lost any chance of investment in his dream project and put his foot in his mouth when talking to the lovely Sonia Zucco. But on the bright side, Nightwing may have uncovered some new information on the Strayhorn brothers who were murdered in issue #10– whew! There’s a lot of interesting stuff going on in Nightwing and it’ll definitely read well as a trade paperback but I’d be lying if I said I didn’t have to go back to issue #11 to refresh my memory. And truthfully, it might be a good idea to dig up issues #1 and #2 as well because this chapter references things that many will have forgotten.
So how was issue #12? Did Higgins and Guinaldo give the fans a satisfying conclusion to a story that felt like it could’ve been way bigger than just three parts?
The answer is: kind of. I was afraid it would come off rushed since there had been so much fantastic world building and expanding of the supporting cast in the previous two issues and that’s exactly what happened. This book is mostly one big fight scene with numerous balloons and boxes that aren’t filled with rich prose or snappy dialogue as much as they serve as a massive info dump. Nightwing is explaining how he figured Paragon out, Paragon is explaining why he’s so great and how he’s totally going to kill Nightwing. Any. Minute. Now. I was hoping that Nightwing would pull a The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly but instead they just boxed and explained themselves. I believe the Pixar flick The Incredibles referred to it as monologuing. It’s not as bad as the final chapter of The Night of the Owls, but it’s still annoying. There’s even one panel toward the end that acknowledged the issue’s wordiness and that was a nice touch. Giant speechbubbbles have no business in a fight scene. A few words every now and then, sure. Exchanging a few words between strikes is fine, but it’s not time for a speech and it’s not the right time to lecture your audience about what went unseen in the story. When the big brawl begins the time for talking should be over.
It’s still not a bad book though. It’s just that the info dump bogs things down and a certain character has an all too-convenient change of heart. Issue #12 feels like it was a fine chapter cut short.
But you’ve gotta commend Higgins for keeping the continuity so tight. Referencing stuff from issues as far back as 12 months ago like it happened yesterday might be taxing on the ol’ memory banks right now but when fans read his run as a TPB years from now it’ll tick like a Swiss watch.
As for the art, it was okay. Not quite as good as last issue and the same problem, faces, still came up. These two panels in particular were goofy looking and reminded me of two Ben Stiller movies.
But if it wasn’t for the occasionally odd face, I think Guinaldo does an alright job with the book but nothing stood out like the crumbling clock tower in the last issue. The imagery was not as memorable.
Issue #12 is worth picking up if you’ve read the rest of this arc. It’s not as satisfying as I would have liked it to be but it was alright. Even though the plot kind of got cut short, this arc totally delivered when it came to world building and broadening the supporting cast. The Amusement Mile stuff and the relationship with Sonia are making Dick Grayson’s life seem more interesting than his masked alter-ego. And Detective Nie has the makings of a complex friend or enemy. The Republic of Tomorrow was a fine addition to Nightwing’s story.