It’s Damian versus Roy Harper in this week’s Nightwing! Ok… Not really, but it might as well be because the banter between these two is a ton of fun!

This is the second “filler” issue for Nightwing before Ben Percy begins his run in May. Typically, I’m not the biggest fan of filler issues. I often find them uninspired, uninteresting, and lacking in characterization. This issue, however, doesn’t fall victim to the problems listed above. Instead, we are treated to a fun, one-and-done story that’s full of humor, charm, and action!

“The Noble, the Obnoxious, and the Inept” takes place before the end of Tim Seeley’s run – roughly Nightwing #34 or before. All Dick wants to do is enjoy a night to himself, watch a little Netflix, probably eat some ice-cream – you know, things we normal people do on a regular basis. He’s a hard-working hero! He deserves that, right? Of course, he does!

But before Dick’s night of rest and relaxation can even begin, he’s interrupted by Damian… And then by Roy. Damian’s encountered the League of Assassins and needs Nightwing’s help. Sounds about right. As for Roy, he’s in some deep stuff… Which also sounds about right. So, in an effort to kill two birds with one stone, Dick has the two meet him in Gotham unbeknownst to the other… And thus creates the greatest frenemy duo of our generation: Robin and Arsenal!

The best thing about this story is that it’s easy to imagine the back-and-forth between these two characters. When you have someone as obnoxious as Damian crossing paths with someone as arrogantly inept as Roy, the script practically writes itself. You have the personifications of the overly serious, child savant, and the adult man-child that never moved past his bro-phase… And they’re being forced to work together!

Page after page consists of Damian insulting Roy – and nothing appears to be off the table – with Roy taking the bait. It’s brutal, but an absolute riot that I genuinely hope we get to see more of in the future. Now, you might be thinking, “Dude, you’re only talking about Robin and Arsenal. Where’s Nightwing in all of this? It’s his book.” Well, he’s caught in the middle, which puts him as the “dad” attempting to reign in two, childish egos. But it’s not just the banter or the scenario that works for me here. Michael Moreci’s interpretation of Dick is stellar. He understands the core beats of Nightwing as a character – his light-hearted nature, his sense of nobility, his humor; all of these elements come through clearly. It’s an underappreciated trait and one that I’ve found lacking in the previous two stories. So, I was happy to see Nightwing return to form here!

As for the plot, it serves its purpose. The plot is quite thin considering the mission is to stop the League of Assassins from carrying out a citywide catastrophe, and it’s wrapped up in one issue. So, if you’re looking for depth, this isn’t the place to find it. The narrative is fast-paced and action-packed though. And as someone who loves dark, morally ambiguous stories, sometimes it’s nice to have a moment to take a breath. I know we review each issue individually, but sometimes you have to think bigger picture and acknowledge how an issue will play once collected.

If I have one complaint, it’s that Dick has moments where he almost gives in to self-doubt. This is something that a number of writers have done recently, so I almost wonder if it’s a mandate from DC. Or perhaps the writers think this is a way to add drama or depth to Dick as a character. I, however, completely disagree with this. For me, Dick is confidence. His whole thing is to jump without a net. A large part of the reason he’s so quippy is that he is confident, even in the worse situations. He always believes he’ll find a way. So, if this is a mandate – or if this is just writers trying to do something different, let’s stop. Thankfully, this idea is brief and ends quickly.

Spoiler

I also want to comment on the end of this issue, because I thought it was brilliant fun! After being drug out on his “night off,” Dick tells Damian and Roy that they owe him, so he has them come to Bludhaven to take care of his criminals so he can get a night off… Except he chooses to watch them tauntingly. He even has popcorn for the occasion!

The Art: Real talk… I don’t think Dick Grayson has looked this sexy since Mikel Janin was drawing him for Grayson. Minkyu Jung draws one hell of a Dick Grayson/ Nightwing. Just the mere shape and proportion of him had me swooning a little.

But enough of the oogling. There’s much more to Jung’s art. While the look of Nightwing is good, the asthetic is strong as well! Jung captures and choreographs the fighting styles of Nightwing, Robin, and Arsenal perfectly! The movements and body language of each character are damn near perfect, and assists Moreci’s script to deliver a fully-realized story. Whether it’s playing up the charm, humor, or action, Minkyu Jung hits all of the right notes, and I can’t wait to see more of his work!

The covers are also worth commenting on. While I think the main cover by Jorge Jimenez looks great and perfectly captures the tone of this issue, I really enjoyed the Superman variant by Yasmine Putri! If you look closely, you’ll notice that Superman and Nightwing just high-fived as if telling each other, “nice job.” It’s such a small detail, and I love that Putri captured the moment immediately following the high-five rather than the actual moment. To me, this cover captures the relationship between Clark and Dick perfectly!

Recommended if:

  • You love Nightwing because of his heart, humor, and quips.
  • The banter between Damian and Roy seems like your idea of fun.
  • It’s a fun, one-and-done story. What’s not to like?

Overall: Is this the best Nightwing story? No, but this is a simple story that’s a ton of fun. While that may not sound like much to some people, it means the world to me! The banter between Dick, Damian, and Roy is a blast to read, and rings true to how my friends and I tease each other. For me, this was the perfect tone to present before jumping into an arc!

SCORE: 8.0/10