When compared with issue #19, the first chapter of the first arc in Nightwing’s Chicago adventure’s, issue #26 is a bit of a snooze. I mean, that first arc we had Nightwing being chased by police while he himself hunted the man who killed his parents, we caught a glimpse of a serial killer who preys on costumed heroes, and we met a re-imagined version of The Prankster, who is now a Nightwing villain through-and-through. But this is the very definition of a slow start. Issue #19 had Nightwing rescuing folks from a chopper explosion and a villain who fed a victim to a wolf… issue #26 has Nightwing straining to open a window and Dick getting a part-time job at a restaurant. I’m not saying it’s terrible or anything, I’m giving it 2 out of 4 stars. But when Nightwing is being tortured by The Crime Syndicate in Forever Evil and Justice League‘s comics this month, the Nightwing title needs to up its game in order to compete and this isn’t going to cut it.

“Some Strings Attached” reintroduces us to Mali the Mimic, a character who appeared briefly way back in issue #19. She’s after a pharmaceutical drug made from an all-new element and Nightwing isn’t about to let a string of robberies go by unnoticed in his new town. In addition to this costumed plot we also get reacquainted with Nightwing’s roommates and watch as Nightwing takes on a job. While I wish Dick had found a more exciting profession, I was nonetheless pleased to see his private life fleshed out. I’m still waiting for some kind of hint as to what Barbara is doing for money. Of course, the hero-killer subplot still lingers from the previous arc and it appears as though that will play a larger role in this story– just not yet. Before we can develop Nightwing’s own villains further the book is interrupted by a classic Batman rogue who really doesn’t have any business here at all. I say this because 1) I’m jaded because I want to see Nightwing get his own baddies, and 2)  this villain has already been used in another bat-title VERY recently.

The plot of “Some Strings Attached” lays a decent foundation for a greater story to come, but I’m not sure if it’s promising enough to really get excited. This is especially true since the Nightwing title is being overshadowed by this prevailing sense of “none of what you see here will matter after Forever Evil.” Also, the artwork is definitely a step down from what we’ve seen lately. The stiffness is back in the shoulders of Will Conrad’s characters and everyone’s face seems to change from panel to panel. Also, the art credit is shared by Cliff Richards’ whose style is noticeably different from Conrad’s, thus giving the book and even more inconsistent look. 

Recommended If…

  • You remember Mali the Mimic and want to see her again
  • You want to take a break from Forever Evil and see Nightwing in more lighthearted situations
  • You like seeing your heroes live normal lives that include a real job and roommate drama

Overall

The Chicago stuff has been great so far and things are really getting interesting for Dick Grayson over in Forever Evil, but this comic wavered between “just okay” and “kind of dull.”

SCORE: 5/10