Nightwing18

With 8 Batman related comics up for review today I’m going to try and keep all articles at around 300 words in length. I think if I went for the usual 1000-2000 word piece it could very well kill me. So here we go. Short and sweet:

First of all, you’re probably wanting to know if author Kyle Higgins devoted more than 2 pages to Damian’s death. Dick Grayson arguably had a stronger bond with Damian than Bruce did so really this entire comic should be Damian-centric. Well I’m happy to say that the book does go beyond 2 pages, but sadly it doesn’t really extend further than 8 pages worth of Damian remorse. The pages that in which we see Grayson’s heartache are well done and quite touching but in the end there simply isn’t enough.

As you’ll recall from the last issue, The Dealer returned to Gotham. That was really exciting and I was greatly looking forward to seeing Dick face that foe once again. However, the time and place for that confrontation isn’t here or now. In the aftermath of Batman, Inc. #8 I think we all wanted to see more of a personal story like the one we had immediately after Death of the Family. The loss of Haly’s Circus took up about 2/3 of that book if not more whereas Damian’s death is only a little over 1/3 of the material in issue #18. Losing Haly’s Circus and all his circus pals was a major blow, but Damian’s death should have felt far worse. Again, the scenes that did focus on Damian were done well but there should have been more and the Dealer should have been saved for a time when we could have focused on him entirely and got a good story out of it. Here he’s kind of a throw-away villain and his appearance echoes the same scenes from Black Mirror all over again. I would also add that it would have been nice to have seen more flashbacks. The story opens with a page directly from issue  #17 that’s quite sad to look back on now but it would have been fantastic to have seen Dick look back on his adventures with Damian when they were Batman and Robin as well.

Spoiler
Why didn’t any of the Bat family attend Damian’s funeral? I sincerely hope this is something we see addressed in Batman, Inc. because it’s kind of ridiculous to see everyone visiting Damian’s grave and the grass has already grown over it. I really hope Morrison gives us a scene of everyone at the cemetery because if nobody touches on that moment then it’ll be a hugely wasted opportunity. And all this “We don’t get along because Bruce lied to us.” nonsense as a result of Death of the Family? That crap should be swept under the rug after a tragedy as big of this and it should pull the family back together again.

It’s good, but it’s obvious that the potential was there for this issue to be so much more.  Another “good but not great” is the artwork from Juan Jose Ryp. I very much like his attention to detail with the backgrounds and he does figures and fight scenes, and page layouts and basically everything looks good except faces. The worst of all has to be Dick Grayson himself who I called out as looking too round and cherub-like in the previous issue but here he looks like he looks extremely old. It’s clear he was going for a more tired look because of Dick’s emotional state, but the guy looks like Eric Roberts for the bulk of this comic and that’s not right.

Were my expectations a little too high for this one? No. I won’t say that. I truly believe that Nightwing #18 should have been as heartbreaking as Batman & Robin if not more. Does that mean that this was a bad comic? Heck no. It’s quite good and I recommend you pick it up. The time we do spend with Dick’s grief is powerful and there’s some great action plus there’s an absolutely thrilling finale that will have everyone talking. I know I was incredibly shocked by it and I can definitely see it leading to one of the most memorable Nightwing stories to date. It’s simply that I came into this comic looking to have a good cry but I left it feeling more excited than sorrowful.

SCORE: 7/10