With the Nightwing series ending at issue #30, it appears that writer Kyle Higgins is trying to tie up all loose ends and craft a finale that brings us up to date with Forever Evil while celebrating the past 28 issues.

The first 1/3 of the comic is essentially one large fight scene that tosses the reader right into the middle of the action and really puts new artist Russell Dauterman to the test. Some will know his work from Boom Studios’ “Supurbia” which was actually a pretty fun comic– I can’t remember why I stopped picking it up… must’ve been an unreliable release schedule or something. Anyway, not only is the combat dynamic and exciting from panel to panel, but it features a wide variety of characters for Dauterman to try his hand at due to the fact that Nightwing is battling a furious shapeshifter. You’ll see panels of our hero boxing with the likes of Barbara, Batman, Superman, and others. It makes for some terrific visuals and the villain has a liquidy T-1000 quality to him, which pleases me as a fan of Terminator 2 (anyone who isn’t should be drug out into the street and shot).

The rest of the book is much darker and much more character driven with more emphasis on the man behind the mask than the acrobatic action of the opening scene. In fact, the fight scene probably had to be so big and bombastic so Higgins could afford to perform the plain-clothed human drama that follows. The theme of the issue is Nightwing’s past catching up with him and indeed it does. Not only does it make for good drama, but it’s a spectacular excuse to drag up all the characters who have appeared over the course of Kyle Higgins’ run for one big curtain call. The shapeshifter, for example, is a returning foe from Nightwing #4.

Spoiler
Should we count the shapeshifter’s current condition as Nightwing killing a guy? The reason that the shapeshifter is after Nightwing again is because the method used to defeat him in a previous appearance has resulted in him only having a few months left to live. It’s Nightwing’s fault that the bad guy will die. I wish I had that particular comic handy so I could go back and double check what happened exactly.

We also get a glimpse at the fate of the Zucco family, whose world was turned upside down by the Prankster arc, and the little girl from the last issue who discovered Nightwing’s suit has a far greater part to play in a plot that will see us through to the coming of the Crime Syndicate. There is definitely no shortage of content and the tone of the book crosses an extraordinary range from amusement to sorrow. However, there is so much happening all at once that the transitions between scenes can be rather abrupt. There’s no easy way to easily segue between some of these moments and it gives off the sense that its creators are desperately trying to squeeze as much as they can in these final issues. After all, while Nightwing goes on to issue #30, Higgins leaves at issue #29. I fear that the Hero-Killer plot which ran beneath the surface of the entire Prankster arc might have been dropped entirely and that’s a hell of a loose end to leave dangling.

Recommended If…

  • You want to hop aboard for the final arc before the series comes to a close
  • You’ve been looking for a really cool fight sequence
  • You’re at all curious about the final fate of Tony Zucco and Sonia Branch
  • You love seeing the personal drama that occurs when a superhero is off the clock

Overall

We can see the end of Nightwing coming in this issue with plenty of call backs to stories past and nods to things we’ve seen in Forever Evil. The comic strikes a great balance with just about every emotion you can feel, features a really fun action sequence that I think everyone will enjoy, and the new artist Russell Dauterman is a near perfect fit for Dick Grayson’s world. This is both a nice jumping on point and a rewarding read for those who have read the New 52 Nightwing from the beginning. It gets a little bumpy with so much being squeezed in at once, but it’s an important chapter for fans to check out if they want to know the fate of the series’ cast before the book ends in just 2 more issues.

SCORE: 8/10