Dick Grayson is no longer wearing the cape and cowl, but he is back in his Nightwing ensemble. Sort of. It’s now red where it had been light blue and there are flared gauntlets, but it’s more Nightwing’s costume than it is that of Batman. With the developments over in Scott Snyder’s “Batman” and factoring in the past work Kyle Higgins has done with Snyder in the Batverse, the opening of this issue -- with a mystery man declaring that Dick Grayson is “Gotham’s fiercest killer” -- begins to string the two books together a bit.
Of course, the beauty of all of this is that the two tales may not have any bearing whatsoever one upon the other. Whichever the case, Higgins builds upon Snyder’s work with Grayson under the cowl in “Detective” and helps us remember just why Nightwing is so fun. Confident and sure in the heat of battle, Nightwing is upbeat, entertaining, acrobatic, intelligent, and exciting. He’s also an insufferable horndog, but I’m sure there’s more to that tale to be shared in coming months that will add some depth to the fling.
With that scene, Higgins has made a pair of decisions that might be construed as character missteps: Nightwing’s apathy towards the police officers getting killed last issue and his rush to hit the sack with Raya Vestri in this issue. Neither decision gives the character more depth and both (apparently) could have been handled differently or altogether avoided. Higgins does balance that with the confidence and zest for life Nightwing readers would expect from this title (which might stretch to explain the latter decision).
Eddy Barrows’ art is as close to awesome as I’ve seen from him in a long time. Nightwing is a character -- and this story is a tale -- that matches Barrows’ style quite wonderfully. The dingy circus warehouse, grimy Gotham alleys, and rain-drenched rooftop fight all play to Barrows’ strengths. Barrows also has the opportunity to play around with page composition a bit and does some pretty work with some of the story’s quieter moments.
So far this new team and this new book has been high energy and adventurous excitement. We’ve gotten peeks into Dick Grayson’s new life and in this issue we’re given reason to see his new life reach back and embrace his old life. From this point going forward, there’s a substantial mystery that is sure to tie the two together for a bit and truly reshape who Nightwing (and Dick Grayson) is going to become. The character, setting, art, and plot are enough to bring me back, but the mystery and the settings that offers have me really looking forward to the next issue.