Plot: Scott Lobdell
Script: Fabian Nicieza
Art: Garry Brown and Will Conrad
Colors: Nick Filardi
In Nightwing #54, the new Nightwings go out on patrol, and work to protect Blüdhaven in a way they never could. Meanwhile, Ric gets some assistance with letting go of Dick Grayson and the life he once led.
This week’s Nightwing had some really great moments. Seeing the new Nightwings in action was exciting, and I am way more into that story line then I thought I would be. They are just a group of people that have dedicated their lives to public safety, but now they can use the mantle of Nightwing to work outside of the law and protect their city in a whole new way. The love they have for the Blüd and the people in it is reminiscent of Jim Gordon in Gotham. It pulls you in and makes you want more of their story. Unfortunately, the Ric Grayson sections of this issue bring it down and made it hard for me to stay engaged. It’s not a bad issue; it’s just not a very good one either.
Part of the problem with #54 is the artwork. Unfortunately, that is a rather large problem when talking about comics. This issue worked to create two different tones throughout the story with a change in the artwork between the Nightwing’s story, and the Ric story. I have zero issue with a change of artwork to convey a certain tone, or to act as a way to see deeper into a character’s psyche. When it is done well, it is hard to take yourself out of that world and makes for an incredible issue. This issue felt more like two completely different titles pressed together, with a weird cut-away moment thrown in.
The Ric Grayson storyline of this issue focuses on him working through his memory loss with none other than Dr. Gruidae. This concept of Grayson getting therapy from Gruidae is enticing and makes me want to dive in to a mini-series that lets that idea breath and tell a really compelling human story. The artwork itself is rather crude. I understand the feeling and message it’s meant convey. Ric is trying to figure out who he is. His memories are sparse, he has a team of people who love the man he has forgotten, and he can do things he can’t explain. He’s lost. He himself is unfinished; incomplete. It’s a stark contrast to the clean and vibrant look of the Nightwings storyline, which is a much more familiar look for this series. I don’t dislike this style of artwork, but it just didn’t seem to fit. Instead of drawing me in and adding this extra layer to the issue, it took me completely out of the issue. There are some gorgeous panels in this artwork, but they didn’t tell a story or elevate what was written, it was just a beautiful piece of artwork. It distracted me from the story and I found myself reading quicker through these parts.
The Ric artwork does clean up a little bit when we see Bea, but this only added to me being taken out of the issue. The artwork is different from the other two styles throughout the issue, and it just distracts more. This scene isn’t 100% needed and kind of feels like it was thrown in at the last moment to fill a page (I can’t explain how bummed I am to have typed that). Some aspects of the art do work. Bea represents who Ric wants to be, and provides him a little bit of clarity to what a life as Ric Grayson could be like. It’s just feels like an over correct from the crudeness of Ric in therapy, and the panel of just Ric is kind of off putting. The script in this page also feels disjointed from everything else. It just felt a bit unnatural. To be fair, Ric does say “dope”, which just feels wrong. Not because I feel like Dick Grayson wouldn’t say “dope”, it’s because no one should be saying dope anymore. If you still are, please read this issue, so that you will stop. It honestly felt like hearing my dad say dope.
There are some highlights to this issue, and a strong reason why it’s still worth picking up. The storyline of the Nightwings is very fun. There isn’t a lot of it compared to the main Ric storyline, but it definitely steals the issue. The artwork pops in this storyline and the dialogue is draws you in. Seeing the disco suits back in action is exciting, and the personalities of the new Nightwings come through quickly, which is why it is so easy to latch on to them and want to know more. I am genuinely excited to see this part of the issue play out.
All in all this issue is meh. It is worth picking up for the new Nightwings alone. But ultimately this issue is just two completely different issue fused together, and the main character makes it rather difficult to fully jump into this issue. The change of artwork is interesting in concept, but it simply doesn’t work in this issue, and unfortunately makes the issue fall flat.