Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Nightwing #45 Review

Will the Real Dick Grayson Please Show Up

Written by: Ben Percy
Art by: Chris Mooneyham, Klaus Janson, Nick Filardi, and Carlos M. Mangual
Cover Price: $3.99
Release Date: June 6, 2018

I didn't like the first issue of Ben Percy's run on Nightwing mainly because it felt so damn forced.  Ben Percy may want his Nightwing run to take place in the 90s, but it's 2018 and this Dick Grayson was probably just born when that decade began.  So, put away your flannel and stop listening to Achy Breaky Heart and get with the times.  Now that we have taken care of that, is this issue any better?  Let's find out...

The issue opens with a couple panels of Grayson's telephone and I was already angry.  We get it...he prefers a landline.  It's his new workout customer on the line and it seems that Dick had too much wine, song and ...Babs (?) the night before.  It freaks him out, but a job is a job and he says goodbye to Barbara for now and heads to the docks.

Now, we do get a visual tell that all isn't what we see, but was that really necessary?  It kills any bit of mystery there was and treats the reader like a moron.  Percy does the same thing when we get to the docks when Dick meets up with Willem.  You mean the cyborg eye guy may be bad in a story about the ills of technology?  I still think this one is a red herring, but again, it doesn't have to be forced in like this.  Before all that, though, we get a reminder of the Phantasm system and another big explosion caused by a gang's cell phones.

Continuing the main plot, Dick notices a new tech company involved in rebuilding the subway and him and cyborg workout guy find a dead body in the ocean at the Bludhaven docks.

Svoboda is on the scene and the reader is told the obvious...the decaying body in the ocean was killed by the internet.  What?!?!?  Yep, it makes some sense in a roundabout way, but why do we have to keep on forcing this every step of the way?!?!  The talk between Svoboda and Dick continues this and it sounds more like two nerds at a genius bar than a grizzled cop and a hardened vigilante.

After Nightwing leaves, he gets ahold of Barbara (who is involved in her own ridiculous tech scenario) and after asking her for help, heads home.  He barely mentions waking up with her this morning and when he gets back to his apartment...there she is.  Yea, if it wasn't obvious that this was the big bad the whole time, the jig is now up and gone.  By the way, throughout the issue, a neural download percentage keeps edging up to 100% and that's our big cliffhanger leading to the villain reveal.  

I actually liked this issue less than the last one.  Yea, the tech thing is still forced, but Percy does try to explain it a little more and while it kind of goes against what we were told at first, it's a better explanation so I'll go with it.  No, my biggest problem is that this just doesn't feel like a Nightwing book at all.  Sure, you have the tropes and characters going, but they feel more like tricks to make you think you are reading Nightwing instead of what this really is...a story that Ben Percy wanted to tell with no regards to what character he was writing.  If he was still writing Green Arrow, I am positive that Oliver would have been against tech and Black Canary would have been there in place of Batgirl.

I also didn't like the art as much this issue as last.  While I dug the retro feel Chris Mooneyham was vibing, this issue felt rushed and sloppy at times.  His Dick Grayson was still good, but everything else...?

Bits and Pieces:

While the story here is still forced by Ben Percy, my biggest problem is it just doesn't feel like a Nightwing book.  This is now my poster child of a writer forcing a character into a story rather than starting with the character and moving on from there.  I was looking forward to seeing how Ben Percy was going to write Dick Grayson/Nightwing and sadly after two issues, I'm still waiting for him to start.


1 comment:

  1. Hey Jim!
    I'm a week out, so this will probably be lost in the Annals of time, but I wanted to post because I feel where you're coming from , and I agree, but I also disagree.

    I actually liked this issue more than the previous one, in fact the difference he mentions between himself and Batman (the walking swiss army knife) , might be the best line in the book.
    I don't necessarily buy into the Ludite-Nightwing angle, but I can see a future old Man Grayson saying "I told you so" when some Skynet Analog eventually shows up.
    Percy doesn't seem concerned with the lighter notes of Nightwing's personality, but after the last 2-3 writers on the book, I'm fine with just having a solid story, even if it lacks the Kicks & Giggles. I appreciate the allusion to Dick's feelings about Babs, even if it is obviously part of a trap. Also, I really liked that they've kept Detective Svoboda in the picture, her playful disdain for Grayson is awesome.

    But I can see how this may come off a little heavy handed to the modern crowd, but for me, who happens to share some of Dick's sentiments about tech and some of it's more insidious aspects, it works.

    This was a 7.5/10 for me, not least of all because I really dig Mooneyhams art.

    Rock on!