Story by Jackson Lanzing and Colin Kelly
Art by Jorge Corona
Colors by Mat Lopes
This issue is a little left field as Sam Humphries steps away from writing duties to allow Jackson Lanzing and Colin Kelly to fill in with a one-shot as Benjamin Percy’s seat is kept warm for him. This writing team are best known for the creator owned titles Hacktivist and Joyride – of which I have read neither.
The story this issue is about brotherhood and is set against the backdrop of something that looks like feudal Japan…but isn’t. I don’t read any manga, but this issue art-wise at least, looks like a Manga book – if I’m wrong, please sound off in the comments and let me know. Do I like how manga looks? I’m not really sure to be honest, I could take it or leave it. If you have ever read Teen Titans Go! or the We Are Robin series then you will be quite familiar with Jorge Corona who did the pencils for this issue, and the colors are by Mat Lopes, whose most recent DC work was on Rebirth Batgirl.
Nightwing is in Japan because Damian has disappeared during a mission and he is there to find and rescue him. To do this, Dick will have to ascend the Crimson Kabuki’s tower of crime…sound ridiculous? That’s because it is. The crimson is quite literal as well – there is an overwhelming swathe of red in this issue, the magenta toner will have be replaced quick smart, lemme tell ya. If it sounds like I am not taking this review seriously it’s because I’m not. The art itself does a great job of transporting you to Japan, and you get those Kill Bill vibes from all the sword action, but this is not what I thought we would get just before Percy takes over.
The story uses Dick and Damian’s big brother, little brother dynamic to draw parables with the fable that is recited during the issue, but I just wasn’t in the mood to read something like this given all that just happened with the Judge. Don’t get me wrong, I get that this was a great chance for DC to showcase some new talent in a book that is about to change hands, but not like this. The change of scenery was just too jarring from last issue. Not reading the solicits will catch you unaware like this, but I’m not going to apologize for not wanting to be spoiled.
If you like samurai/ninja fables with a bit of monster dress-up mixed in, then you may really enjoy this issue, or you may get through a few pages of the issue, and then realize you have fallen down quite the rabbit hole. This is not a bad issue, but the problem for me was that nothing grabbed my attention and held it until Damian actually was depicted in a panel by the end of the issue. The art style was not my preference but it was very good for what it was trying to achieve. A satisfactory effort, but next time, keep an issue like this in a showcase issue please, DC. I wonder what’s in store for the last issue before Percy begins…
6.5 out of 10