Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Nightwing #40 Review

I Squid You Farewell

Written by: Sam Humphries
Art by: Bernard Chang, Marcelo Mailo, and Carlos M. Mangual
Cover Price: $2.99
Release Date: March 7, 2018

With the announcement that Sam Humphries is off Nightwing in May, I really hope that he can tie-up his Judge story in style as it will be his entire run on the book.  While I haven't been a fan of his villain, I have liked a few things that Humphries brought to the book, namely Grayson Cross-Fit.  Will Dick's struggling business along with his two clients (Shout out to Kid Delicious!) make the transition to Ben Percy's run?  I kind of doubt it, but a man can hope, can't he?  Anyway, let's get on with this issue and see if we learn anything more about the Judge before it's all over...

We pick up after last issue's cliffhanger, with Nightwing drowning and about to check into the old cross-fit in the sky when he is "rescued" by a giant squid, some quick thinking, and a headbutt.  It's pure comic book ridiculousness and while I usually would give that kind of thing a bit of a pass, the fact that it is set up to be a tension-filled scene complete with countdown makes it more of a juxtaposition than it needed to be.

We continue with what looks to be the Death Knell for Grayson Cross-Fit (damn!) before going to Baby Ruthless.  She set Dick up for sure and it's all about the Judge and one of his damn poker chips.  Again, what is going on?  What are the Judge's powers?  Does he just see in the hearts of men and women and push them towards their own desires or does he mind control them?  Humphries has been flip-flopping between the two and with Lucy, it seems like the later.  At least that's how she explains it.  Then she changes her story and I am more confused than an issue of Nightwing should ever leave me!  Jane, stop this crazy thing...  Oh yea, then she changes the story again a bit.  

It's then off to visit the Judge and he tells a story, has a few laughs and sets up a selfie (really) before Nightwing shows up on his motorcycle popping wheelies like a badass.  After finding out what wins in a game of motorcycle-limousine-crowbar (spoiler's motorcycle), the Judge gets down to his usual nefarious business as Dick rides his cycle every which way but loose through the Casino.  The issue ends with another "how can he escape" cliffhanger and another pseudo monkey paw for someone in the clutches of...The Judge!  Yea, I made that more dramatic than it really was.

I'm just not digging this story at all.  I have been saying it with each issue, but without really knowing what the Judge's powers are (and it really goes back and forth in each issue), I don't feel invested in him as a villain or the story in general.  Plus, all of the Judge's victims usually just end up killing themselves or someone else and I really wish it was all a bit more clever.  Give me some Twilight Zone shit here!  Another big problem is that Humphries has made Nightwing feel like a bit player in his own book recently and has left any character progression in the dust.  That may be a result of finding out his run is a bit more limited than he knew about, but it's still not a good thing.  I did like Bernard Chang's art a whole lot in this issue, but the art hasn't really been an issue in this run so far.

Bits and Pieces:

I just can't wrap my head around the Judge as a villain and the story suffers because of it.  Sam Humphries seems to be stuck between telling a horror story and a fun one and in the end, it's not a good mix.  I loved the art here, but there isn't anything else I can recommend.  If you've enjoyed it up until now, god bless you, but everyone else should just hold out until the book changes hands in May.


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