Helluva day for Batman comics, everybody. Both “Batman” and “Nightwing” really brought their A-game this week. I’ll even go so far as saying that I think #8 is the best issue of Nightwing so far!

Note: I know it’s a really great cover, and very tempting, but DO NOT open this book up until you’ve finished reading “Batman” #8 and its back-up story! There’s a definite order to reading these things.

This is not only a great read for someone who has been reading the series since the beginning, it’s a wonderful jumping-on point for new readers as well. And as far as crossovers are concerned, Higgins is doing a bang-up job of making Nightwing’s story feel like one that actually has an impact on and can be equally influenced by the main bat-title. The “Night of the Owls” isn’t shoehorned in here. It doesn’t feel like editorial made the author throw their story ideas on the backburner to make room for a gimicky cash-grab. “Night of the Owls” comes naturally to Nightwing.

Do you want depth? That’s here and it’s also coming to you in the style of “Gates of Gotham” which I’m sure quite a few of you enjoyed.

Do you want action? This is the most action packed issue of Nightwing yet. I usually try to put an “I” or a “me” in statements like that one so it doesn’t sound like I’m trying to speak for everybody, but this being the most bloody and brutal issue of all is a FACT and when you flip to the end you’ll see why!

Of course, you can’t have action without great, fluid art behind it. The artwork here is some of the best I’ve seen in the series so far. A two-page spread featuring panels drawn on shattered glass is one of the coolest things I’ve seen in a while! And I have to give a tip of my hat to the colorist as well. The whole book is actually divided into two stories that ultimately merge at the climax, but throughout the book it isn’t caption boxes that separate the two narratives, but Rod Reis’ palette. The faded browns, blues, and grays really couldn’t have been more perfect.

All that being said, I did have a few hang-ups about the issue:

Spoiler
Like how did Dick get a sword? The talon that attacks Hady is only shown with one sword and we never see Dick pull one down from a mantelpiece or any other display at City Hall–he just instantly has a sword. It reminded me of the first Spider-Man movie where, at the end, Green Goblin suddenly had a trident. One sword was brought into the room by the Talon and one sword only as far as I can tell and I flipped through the pages a few times before I dared write it here. Where did the other sword come from? If you noticed something I didn’t, please point it and I’ll give you a shout out in the next review or whatever passes as internet currency these days. Likes? Upvotes?

It also felt like the story of William Cobb was cut far too short. He has a wife and two children and describes that as “the beginning of the end” and goes on about an ultimate betrayal and how everything was stripped away and I want to know how and what exactly happened. I think this could be addressed in the next issue, but the end of this chapter in his story felt very abrupt.

Lastly, how does William Cobb know that Nightwing is Dick Grayson? I guess he was able to overhear everything while being sedated/frozen in the cave. Hmmm…

Anyway, those are all just minor problems that are easily overlooked and didn’t have that much of an impact on my enjoyment of the book which, again, is my favorite issue of “Nightwing” to date and I can’t wait to see what happens next month!

SCORE: 9/10