Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Nightwing #37 Review


Written by: Sam Humphries
Art by: Klaus Janson, Jamal Campbell, Alex Sinclair and Carlos M Mangual
Cover Price: $2.99
Release Date: January 17, 2018

I have been lukewarm with this book since Sam Humphries jumped onto it.  I do like his voice for Nightwing and enjoy the idea of the Grayson Cross-Fit's just this first villain, The Judge, I'm finding hard to get behind.  Humphries hasn't fleshed him out enough and I really need to know what is going on with these golden casino chips.  Are they magic?  Are they some tech-based mumbo jumbo?  Are they just poker chips?  Well, this issue is supposed to go back to the beginning when Dick was Robin and him and Batman first crossed paths with the Judge, so hopefully, this is the issue with big reveals and lots of character work.  Was it?  Let's find out...

The issue opens with a Lucy Weatherton who is obviously adversely affected by the casinos being shut down in Bludhaven.  You don't get much before Nightwing shows up and away we go to the past to see how these two met and how it ties in with the Judge.

We see what looks like the Judge's first big crime in Bludhaven and after a confusing scene with the guy the Judge influenced into wrong-doing, we get to see classic Batman and Robin, which I always love.  The problem is, it's a bit confusing again as they head off to Bludhaven to stop the Judge.

Most of the story revolves around Dick's early motivation to impress Batman...which also is his undoing.  Before that, however, he and Batman meet Lucy...well, back then, she was going by the name, "Baby Ruthless".  Yea, it's a stupid name, but I actually like her.  That's not to say she is a great and fully fleshed out character because she is not.  We get a paper thin origin and motivation and really, by the end of the issue, she is pretty unnecessary.  I like her look though, and maybe if she sticks around a bit, Humphries can give her more substance.

Back to the story, we get some very quick and surface level detective work that takes up from King Sturgeon (Guppy's dad) to a tanker shipping in nuclear waste to the Judge.  The nuclear waste bit is explained as "illegal dumping", but the minute it's mentioned, it's obviously just there to keep the plot going in a forced direction.

The heroes show up just in time, stop the captain of the tanker from falling for the Judge's tricks and would have stopped him if Robin would have just calmed down a little.  The issue ends with the Judge escaping, the captain of the tanker somehow becoming a hero (she was still importing nuclear waste!!!) and Batman and Robin talking in the Justice Tree...which changes in scale drastically.  We then get a cliffhanger that shows the next step in the Judge's plans and also where Nightwing has to go to stop it.

This issue was all filler.  I always love seeing classic Batman and Robin, but this issue gave us nothing new on the Judge and gave us a new character that was woefully underdeveloped.   We did get a good cliffhanger, but that was one page out of twenty-one.  Anybody reading this story arc could skip this and not miss anything at all.

Klaus Janson and Jamal Campbell split art duties and I really didn't like Janson's flashback scenes.  Dick looks odd more times than not with weird proportions and weird facial expressions.  The proportions are not just limited to him, though, as some of the set pieces were wonky as well.  Campbell's present-day scenes looked great, however, and I'd be happy with him on the book more.

Bits and Pieces:

This issue of Nightwing dealt with Dick's early days as Robin when he first encountered the Judge.  While that would have been good if Sam Humphries uses it to give us more information about his still pretty unknown villain, Humphries wastes time with stuff we know and to introduce a new ally who ends up being painfully underdeveloped.  The art is hit or miss and this one can be skipped, even by those reading this current story arc.


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