This month, the Nightwings discover that water can stop fire. Ric Grayson is apparently on the same level as Neanderthals.
Look, this review isn’t going to be very long. There’s really not much I can say about this title that I haven’t said before, and there’s honestly not much in this issue that sets it apart from previous issues. The first ten pages are spent recapping the “main” characters while providing context into who they are. We’re reminded that Dick has amnesia, goes by Ric now, and has decided to stop fighting crime… ironically, as he chooses to fight crime.
In Nightwing’s absence, citizens have stepped up to share the mantle of Nightwing, and they are doing their best to curb crime in Bludhaven. Their best efforts never seem to be enough though, and non-hero Ric continuously has to step in and become heroic – even though he claims he doesn’t want to – to save the day. It’s exhilarating! (No it’s not.)
This chapter does introduce something new though… tag names to add on to “Nightwing.” As it turns out, Dick has always thought of these Nightwings as “Nightwing Prime” or “Nightwing Red,” despite the fact that this is the first time within eleven issues that it’s been referred to… And guess what? It’s stupid. If he’s calling Sap and Malcolm “Nightwing Prime” and “Nightwing Red,” what in the hell is going to call the other two? “Disco Nightwing” and “Lady Nightwing?” Or… Or, since they’re brother and sister, will he call them “Bro Nightwing” and “Sis Nightwing?” Maybe he should just call the brother “Got Shot and Almost Died Nightwing.” No? Ok… I’m just throwing things out there for the sake of brainstorming. DC appears to need all the help they can get with this book at the moment.
Now, to be serious, I know my tone is extremely negative, but honestly, I already don’t like this concept, and the fact that we have to recap the current situation as part of the narrative each and every issue is completely insane. Either pull a Marvel and have a recap page at the beginning of each book, or just stop doing it altogether. It’s taking away precious pages that could be used for actual story development. But no, for eleven issues now, we have to endure Ric’s internal monologue reflecting on how he feels about his current life, his old life, the new people that know him, and the terrible people that used to know him and tried to help him… I’m over it.
Last month we were introduced to a giant fire monster that’s targeting cops. I’m not crazy about this villain, but it does have a campy, throwback vibe that takes me back to some of Batman’s zany missions decades ago. For that, I’ll give it a little leeway. This issue picks up where the last issue ended – with Ric and Malcolm – excuse me, Nightwing Red – confronting the fire monster. For whatever reason, Malcolm, (who is a firefighter, mind you) decides the best way to attack fire, is to hack at it with an axe… Really? I hope to God he isn’t called to my house if it catches on fire.
They work to try and stop the fire monster with little luck. Sap (Nightwing Prime) eventually arrives to lend a hand, and it’s around that time that Malcolm comes to his senses and realizes, “Hey! In the fire department, we fight fire with water!” Well, !@%# a duck and call me a chicken, because it works. Who would’ve thought water would stop fire?
After the threat is handled, we get a series of bad scenes before the issue ends on a rather positive turn. So, with the fire creature temporarily beaten, Ric runs back to Bea to show her he’s fine. There’s a huge lovey-dovey scene that could’ve been good, but is just too heavy-handed and unrealistic to be taken seriously. I mean, I’ve definitely read worse. That doesn’t mean this scene didn’t result in an eye roll.
Meanwhile, Sap and Malcolm discuss Ric in his absence. The conversation concerning Ric is just weird because it completely switches Sap and Malcolm’s stance on Ric from previous issues. Sap, who sought Ric out and asked him to join the Nightwings, is now hesitant to keep him around… but there’s no actual motivation for him to switch to this stance. Malcolm, on the other hand, has spent more one-on-one time with Ric recently, and has seen that he’s reliable in the field. So, where he originally opposed the idea of Ric, he now sees Ric as someone they need to be successful. While I dislike Sap’s change in heart, I actually applaud Malcolm’s because I believe his development.
Their conversation isn’t only about Ric though. They both have an idea as to who the fire monster might be… Melissa Stapleton. Melissa was introduced in the previous issue, and is a daughter of a former cop who is now in a vegetative state after a call went south. She blames the PD, especially Malcolm, for her father’s current state, and has made verbal threats against the police in response. To put it lightly, she’s completely over the top, and while I understand her being angry, her anger is misdirected. I was convinced the book was going to take the blatantly obvious route and have her be the fire monster, but they don’t. Considering everything else about this story is so generic, it was nice to have an unexpected reveal to end this issue. We still don’t know who Burnback is, so I’m kind of curious to find that out… I can’t say I’d buy the issue to find out, but it at least gives me something to look forward to for next month’s issue.
The Art: Christopher Mooneyham continues his duties on art. I’ve made it clear that I’m not the biggest fan of his work. I think he’s a decent storyteller, but it’s the actual look and aesthetic of his art that typically doesn’t connect with me. That being said, this issue contains some of the best work I’ve seen from him in a while. He’s inconsistent, but there are pages and panels that look good enough to catch my attention in positive ways, and that’s not always the case.
- I feel like you’re only reading this to hate-read it, or because you don’t really know Dick Grayson…
- You’re bored?
- Hey! It’s a campy, fire monster that feels like a total throwback Batman villain. Let’s go with that.
Overall: There’s nothing new here. Ric Grayson is… Ric Grayson. At this point, you have creative teams inside and outside of DC taking jabs at how awful this entire concept is, so you would think that DC would just move on… Unfortunately, they’re not, and we have to continue enduring this generic slum of mediocrity that often dips down into the low levels of bad. But hey, at least we have Nightwing Prime and Nightwing Red now…