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Written By: Tim Seeley Art By: Javier Fernandez, Chris Sotomayor, Carlos M. Mangual Cover Price: $2.99 Release Date: September 7, 2016
*Non Spoilers and Score At The Bottom*
Just when I was really starting to get behind this new status quo for our hero, it turns out that this is the last issue to the whole Parliament of Owls shebang! I mean, it was I think just two issues ago when Nightwing was talking to Raptor about playing the long game to take down the Owls.......... and apparently they've played long enough...... Weird. So yeah, with Nightwing crossing some lines to get the trust of his new employers, I guess he figures there's no time like the present to tender his resignation and hopefully get back to the whole hero thing. Let's jump into this issue and see what Dick and Raptor do with the blueprints to the Labyrinth and what kind of info they can get about the book of wisdom from Doctor Leviticus. Let's check it out.
Boy howdy, does this issue just really get to work in shutting this story arc down because even though we were just shown Dr. Leviticus in the previous issue being caged by Raptor, here it seems that she........... Yes, she, is all about getting on the Nightwing trolley and lays down how the Book of Wisdom with all the names of the Parliament's members are on coins at the heart of the Owl's labyrinth........ and goddamn is the explanation convoluted as hell, but I guess it doesn't matter because we don't really deal with any of that or Dr. Leviticus again. All we have to know going forward is that Dick has to get his hands on these coins and that leads us to our heroes breaking their bad guy cover and rescuing the people they helped the Owl's capture in a previous issue........ and that's when shit gets nuts.
You know that leader of the Parliament that we've really had no real interactions with?....... Well, I don't blame you if you don't, but it turns out that he can turn into a big fucking owl monster and we get to see him do that when he's informed of Nightwing and Raptor's betrayal......... and maybe if I knew....... like anything about him I'd find this interesting, but since he's only ever been just some dude in a owl mask, I don't care at all and the whole book just becomes ridiculous as hell with its delivery, which I really should have seen coming once Dr. Leviticus was introduced. Fuck explaining it, I'll just break some shit down for you. Raptor knew that this Orator got his animal blending deal from Kobra and because of that he's able to slow him down by introducing some fish DNA into his system - giving a shout out to his shark attractant a couple of issues ago.......... and really, all this issue seems to do is try and make everything we saw with Kobra make sense......... nope.
In the end, Nightwing gets the coins, fights the Orator and says goodbye to Raptor because apparently he'll be arrested when Nightwing turns in the documents about the Owls, but that doesn't jive with Dick getting Spyral to do all the decoding of the Parliament names......and speaking of Spyral, it seems that Tim Seeley isn't done with them yet because we see that Tiger is outside of the Labyrinth and is Dick's ace in the hole to make sure that all the captured people make it to safety. If that wasn't enough, we get Raptor apparently having a connection to Dick from his days in the circus and Batman giving our hero a lecture about letting Raptor go........... because apparently out of nowhere he stole millions of dollars and yeah, it seems out of nowhere that we'd get this info, but as it turns out Batman was right to give Dick a talking to because as this issue closes, we see that Raptor was working with Kobra the entire time....... but because of how out of nowhere this conclusion to this story arc seems, I just really don't care.
That's it for this issue of Nightwing and I really feel like we skipped a couple of issues to get to where we are now. Everything just seems to come out of nowhere and when it's not, we're just being bombarded by callbacks to things that happened in the last two issues as a way to (in my mind) make this whole story arc feel bigger than it actually is. There's just no real substance here and I found myself having a severe lack of caring about this story because I just don't know enough about what's going on or the players involved to have any real investment. This issue really just feels like a mess and since I'm still not a huge fan of the art style, it was hard as hell to find something to enjoy and by the end I guess the only sense of satisfaction I can take away from this issue is that Dick is finally back doing the hero thing and that hopefully we can start telling some new stories that don't involve Robin War or Grayson.
Bits and Pieces:
This finale to our first story arc feels like it comes out of nowhere because everything that's needed to wrap it up are just thrown at us all willy nilly and it's forced beyond belief. With that being said, I find it hard to continue to be excited about Nightwing because this first arc felt like a convoluted mess and I'm still not a fan of the art style. Hopefully now that this series isn't hindered by the events of Robin War and Grayson, maybe we can move into some more fleshed out territory.