Nightwing #48 review

This week, Nightwing travels to the Isle of Harm to compete in a deadly motorcycle race… Because… Well, there are reasons, but they’re so forced that it’s laughable.

The first thing that I thought while reading this story is, “Why are we even here? And how did we get here?” While the first question is answered – Dick is here to save Vicky Vale and Willem Cloke – we never get any inclination as to what transpired for him to actually come here, how it will save Vale and Cloke, or what Dick’s/Wyrm’s motivations are to have Dick enter the race. Nor do we know how winning this race will help Nightwing save the two. In fact, this feels so far removed from what’s been going on in Percy’s run, that the entire story feels shoehorned in because somebody thought, “Wouldn’t it be cool if we got to see Nightwing in a death race?” And instead of being patient and finding the right time to tell this story, they just decided they’d do it now and force the concept. It’s lazy writing and cheap storytelling.

If I’m being honest, I actually like this concept. The idea of a death race mixed with heroes, villains, and aliens alike should be fun, but the foundation of the story is thrown together so poorly that there’s nothing to sink your teeth into. Everything comes off as generic and, quite frankly, boring. When you break it down, there’s not much substance in this issue though. Most of this chapter is spent either sharing Dick’s internal thoughts on why he needs to win this race – which, as I’ve already stated, isn’t even fully explained – or it’s spent with a goblin spewing exposition about the race, and the nonsense about how dangerous/ unique the island is. It’s a prime example of where “show, don’t tell” would’ve been more effective.

What makes all of this worse is the repetition that Percy uses. He explains that Dick is entering the race to save Vale and Cloak twice, each time giving a backstory on Wyrm and what happened to them. It’s more padding and a waste of pages – something I’m sorry to say is becoming a trend for Percy. One explanation will suffice. And with the pages he’d have saved, he then would’ve been able to explain the “how” aspect. How did Dick learn of the race? How will winning the race save his friends?

The repetition continues with the goblin-lady’s proclamations of the island and track. There’s so much narration describing the treachery of the track, that it ultimately takes away from us getting to enjoy the race. In the end, there’s not much of a race to witness, nor is there much action or suspense. The only exciting feature in the race is that Dick almost flies off a mountainous area of the track… Other than that, people shoot at him. The entire thing is a total let-down.

Percy tried to infuse some interesting, familiar elements into the story be including Pyg and Flamingo in the race, but these attempts also fall flat. For one, their reason for entering the race is also glossed over with a mere “Hehe” or “My reasons are too disturbing for you to know.” Again, this is lazy writing. If you want characters involved in a story, at the very least, find a reason for them to be there. Then, hopefully, make it interesting. Percy failed in both of these ventures, and it results in another aspect that seems to be here because it would be “cool.” I appreciate the selection of characters because they both debuted as rogues for Dick, but the execution is crap.

Which brings me to Silencer. If you picked up this issue because you saw Silencer on the cover, then you’re going to be disappointed because she’s barely in the issue. If anything, she serves more as a tease for the next issue, than ever really being an inclusion in this issue. More importantly, I have to ask why she’s even here? The whole point of her title is that she’s been out of the assassin game and wants to stay out… So why in the hell would she be taking an operation for Leviathan to kill Nightwing? It’s clear Percy didn’t do his research, because none of this aligns with continuity… at all. I was excited for her inclusion in another title, but if you’re not going to even attempt to tell an accurate story with the character, then you shouldn’t use them.

The Art: Amancay Nahuelpan delivers the art for this issue, and the work is great! Everything that’s interesting about this story comes from Nahuelpan’s art, and it’s a shame we can’t experience the work under a better script. There’s so much detail and nuance crammed into panels and pages that Percy owes a huge thanks to the art team for making this book remotely bearable.

Recommended if:

  • You want another incomplete story.
  • You like tons of exposition.
  • You want to see great characters misrepresented.
  • This is a Nightwing book?

Overall: While the script for this issue isn’t necessarily a dumpster fire like the previous issues, it’s still a steaming pile of poop. There’s no set-up, no substance, and no payoff in any way. There’s also no characterization, and great characters like Silencer, Pyg, and Flamingo are misrepresented and completely underused. In fact, the thing this story reminds me of more than anything is Anne Nocenti’s “Race of Thieves” from Catwoman. That story was also awful.

SCORE:  4.5/10