Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Nightwing/Magilla Gorilla Special #1 Review

How Much for that...

Writer: Heath Corson
Pencils: Tom Grummett and Tom Derenick
Inks: Cam Smith and Andy Owens
Colors: Pete Pantazis
Letters: Carlos M Mangual

Nightwing/Magilla Gorilla? Are they just throwing darts at a random list of properties at the DC offices? Why not the more obvious Detective Chimp or Gorilla Grodd? Where exactly is the common ground shared by these two characters that caused Heath Corson to leap from his chair one day in a fit of inspiration with this story that needed to be shared with the world? Prove the cynic in me wrong Heath Corson, prove me wrong. . .

What we get is a very competently told Hollywood crime story. Dick Grayson is invited to Malibu by one of Hollywood's biggest stars, who plans to turn the story of Dicks family, the world-famous Flying Graysons, into big screen movie. After Dick declines the offer the Hollywood star is framed for the murder of his producer. Dick decides to stick around as Nightwing in order to investigate the crime and find the real culprit.

You might have noticed that Magillas’ name is oddly missing from my summary of the plot above and that is because although Magilla is the big Hollywood star framed for the murder, nothing about this story necessitates it be Magilla (or in fact any large Ape). If this story had been printed in a Nightwing annual with all the Hanna-Barbera characters replaced with brand new characters little would be lost. Outside of a couple of Ape based puns and Magilla deducing Nightwing's secret identity through his heightened sense of smell there really is no reason at all for the Hollywood star to be Magilla, and consequently, little reason for this to be a crossover issue at all.

For the most part, the story unfolds well. New players are introduced, clues laid out, twists added and a satisfying conclusion to the case is the end result. There's a couple of odd pacing issues here and there, an entirely unnecessary cameo by Madame Xanadu being the biggest example of filler material to reach the required page count. The central crime story is embellished with a few moments of touching sentimentality for Dick Grayson. Heath Corson appears to have a solid grasp of Dick Grayson, his history and his place in the DC universe. As a result of those quiet moments of reflection that Corson weaves into the story add an authentic layer of emotion to the whole proceedings.

There's a secret squirrel backup, its incoherent nonsense, its inclusion in these specials is a ridiculous idea and only harms these books.

Bits and Pieces:

On the whole, a solid crime story that would have probably been better served as Nightwing annual as the inclusion of Magilla Gorilla adds nothing to the overall story. The overall score is brought down by the inclusion of the backup but I look forward to whatever Heath Corson works on next.


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