Kyle Higgins, Brett Booth
Spoiler alert! You have been warned!
This title has gained three new things this month, and all three are a nice change of pace. First, joining series writer Kyle Higgins is new series artist, formerly of Teen Titans fame, Brett Booth. This give a fresh new take on Dick Grayson and his supporting cast and makes for a fun-filled, action-packed realistic world. Which brings me to the second new addition, which is the change of location. We are no longer in Gotham City, but rather, Chicago. This is fun for a number of reasons, both in the story itself and the fact that it adds depths to the Batman mythos by expanding its geography. And lastly, we get a new villain, and even though he (or is it she?) is only mentioned a few times and doesn’t debut until the final page, the Prankster is intriguing, threatening, and potentially insane, which is always a bonus in comics. Could this be Nightwing’s version of the Joker?
The opening pages show Dick being welcomed, via gunfire, by Chicago’s finest, which is a great but simple way to bring the reader in and hook us. Then we’re shown Dick (a day earlier) hearing the mayor speak out about vigilantes, meeting his new roommate, and interrupting a shady villain’s information deal. The fights are fast, the dialogue is witty, and the plot moves at the pace that we’ve come to expect from Higgins. We’re then brought back to the beginning of the issue, where Dick’s search for the new identity of Tony Zucco (you know, the guy who killed his parents) has put him on the cops’ hit list, the mayor is seen talking about closure with Zucco, and the Prankster premieres. All in all, a great first issue.
I think the biggest strength of this issue is the fact that it truly is a good jumping on point for new readers or lapsed readers, but it also keeps the story going for those of us who have been with Dick for years. One of the best things about the Batman family characters is just that: The characters. The stories are almost always great, the art is usually from the top of today’s talent pool. But all of that is only made possible because the writers, the artists, and the editors are always professionals, but they are also fans. These characters endure because it’s not just a paycheck; the creators care. And it’s refreshing to see what they’re going to put our favorite heroes and villains through on a monthly basis because, at their core, they know that what they’re doing is important. This title, just like Batman by Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo and Batman and Robin by Peter J. Tomasi and Patrick Gleason, is a series that never disappoints. And the fact that three changes can happen without completely compromising or flat-out ruining what has come before just proves that DC does, in fact, know what they’re doing. Welcome aboard, Brett Booth. I’m excited to see where you and Kyle Higgins take my favorite character next.
My Rating: 5/5