Story: Benjamin Percy
Art: Amancay Nahuelpan
Colors: Nick Filardi
Grayson is off to the races in Nightwing #49 (Eh? Eh? I don’t feel good about that). With his eye on the finish line, Nightwing struggles with what to do when he reaches it. Does he give Wyrm access to the biggest database of information imaginable, or let Willem and Vicki die in their techno-purgatory? Not much time to think it over as Flamingo, Pyg, and an unfamiliar assassin are coming for his head (among other things). Silencer reveals her true purpose from being on the isle of harm, and Nightwing may be just the person she needs to achieve it.
Last week, Benjamin Percy bummed me out hard by announcing that he would be leaving Nightwing after #50. Reading this issue was bitter sweet. It is a great issue! Harm’s Way has been such a fun arc to read. It feels like Percy found his legs with Nightwing, and I just want more, but all we get is 1 more. It will be a double-sized issue, but still only one more cover with Percy’s name on it. He did say that he wished he got to tell the story he wanted, which makes me curious if the story we got was an abridged version of what we should have gotten. Looking over the past arc, it would make sense. It felt like a big meaty concept that was being rushed through a bit. I could be way off base. Maybe Percy had this big plan that would have turned Wyrm into one of Nightwing’s top rogues, and it would span 10 issues. Either way, let’s not focus on Percy leaving; I’ll leave that for my review of #50. Let’s focus on why you clicked on this post… my wit, charm, and overall delightfulness. Fine, never mind, let’s talk Nightwing.
Like I said, this issue is great! As I was reading this, my wife couldn’t help but point out the big smile I had painted on my face (it may have been accompanied with some giggles, but like, manly giggles). In my last post I said how I wished that the Nightwing humor in his own title was closer to what Tom King gave us in Batman #54. Well Percy delivered that and more! This felt like a fully fleshed out Nightwing from Percy, and it is exactly what I’ve been waiting for!
Along with the laughs we get from Grayson, there are other forces at work that make this just an incredibly fun read. Professor Pyg is great. Such imagination when it comes to creating abominations. Pyg is such a joy to read because he is absolutely ridiculous (as he should be), and then he’s juxtaposed with the incredibly creepy Dollotrons (seriously, they are stuck in my head. They keep popping up in my dreams, and it’s not ok. Thanks a lot Amancay Nahuelpan and Nick Filardi). Flamingo is also a boost of comedy and ridiculousness in this issue. He doesn’t say anything. He’s just insane. A joy to read, but only a little less creepy than the Dollotrons.
The Silencer plays a huge part in this issue. Oddly enough, she’s not there for the race at all. She is there to find her way out of the fighting and into a quiet life. I hope we get to see more of Silencer and Nightwing, because the back and forth is where a lot of the Nightwing humor lived. Also, Nightwing had a solid idea on how Silencer could best help humanity (no more “tt”). With Pyg and Flamingo being so over the top and bonkers, we needed a real threat to remind us that this is still the most dangerous race in the cosmos, and that’s the real reason Silencer is on the Isle of Harm.
With regards to the story itself, this issue does a great job of not just leaning on the chaos and excitement of the race to fill its pages; it also progresses the story beautifully. One of the issues I had with Bleeding Edge was it just felt disjointed and rushed. That is not an issue here at all. The only real issue I had with it was, for only getting 1 question, there sure were A LOT of question marks used in the last few pages. Made me think that maybe Cimialcinnus is a very lonely God. Like maybe he is a God that answers telemarketing calls with a big smile on his face and conversation in his heart begging to come out. Maybe this is a God that has a lot of birds. Like TOO MANY birds. Maybe I’m over thinking this and should move on to the artwork. Maybe you’ve already checked out and are now looking at birds.
The artwork in this issue continues to be one my favorites in my personal pull list. Going through each panel, you can feel how much fun Nahuelpan and Filardi had making them. The dimension that Nightwing and Silencer start in during this issue looks a little like and MC Escher fever dream. The artwork in these panels show just enough of the track to get an idea of its vastness, without stealing focus from the characters. My favorite piece in the whole issue though? On one of the splash pages, we see Nightwing and Silencer shoot out of a portal and are right back in the thick of the race. We see Silencer’s bike cross from one panel to the next. It stuck out to me so much because at first glance it looks like it is one big panel, but the bike is actually jumping the gutter between the panels. It subtly reinforces the idea that time and space is all relative on the Isle of Harm.
Another reason why this felt like the Nightwing issue I’ve been waiting for is all the acrobatics. Sure, some are a little clunky and make you give it a bit of a side eye, but you get over it quickly. The way that Nahuelpan and Filardi show motion allows you to see Grayson actually do a front flip onto a bike, and it brings us back to the Flying Grayson we all love to see.
At the end of the issue is a note to read Batman #55 (like you needed a reason). I’m not going to get Batman too much (but check out Jason Saba’s review of Batman #55 now. And then… you know… read the issue), but definitely make sure you pick it up this week. If you’ve seen any comic book news over the past few days, you’ve seen Chelsea Cain’s Vision was cancelled (WHY?!), Killmonger is getting his on mini-series (YES!!!), and Grayson has got a bat shaped boo-boo on his dome. Batman #55 is hilarious, explains the boo-boo, and leads into Benjamin Percy’s final Nightwing issue.
Nightwing #49 gave me everything I have been wanting from a Nightwing title since Percy took over. It leans into its Wacky Racers feel (though I’m not sure if that was intentional or not), and delivers a fast paced story with a lot of laughs and a lot more chaos. The artwork continues to be at the top of my list when it comes to the Big 2. The only thing I wish is that we got more time with this incredible team. There seems to be a groove that they have settled in and it delivered my one of my favorite issues of the week (which is saying A LOT. Just look at what DC has out this week! That’s just DC!). After reading Batman, I have zero clue as to what is going to happen in #50, but I know Percy will make sure he goes out on a very high note!
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