Kyle Higgins, Will Conrad
Spoiler alert! You have been warned!
Well, it happened. I’m officially over the departure of Brett Booth as artist and completely on board with new series artist Will Conrad. He and series writer Kyle Higgins are officially the new Nightwing dream team, on paper and in this lifelong fan’s mind. Their first big storyline has finally wrapped, and even though there was a slight hiccup on the story’s dismount, it was still a cut above the rest of the books on the stands. Dick Grayson has always been my favorite character, and if anything is true about the character, it’s this: He’s a survivor. So whatever this new team throws at him, I’m sure he’ll come out even better and stronger than he was before.
The issue starts off right where we left off, with the murderer of Dick’s parents coming to him as an unexpected ally against the Prankster, the man terrorizing the former Boy Wonder’s new home in Chicago. We learn that the Prankster’s motives are a little less than original, but that’s okay. Batman characters in general are usually based in some sort of tragedy, and what’s more traumatic than watching everyone and everything you die as a child? On Halloween, no less. So the Mayor’s rise to power was connected to the Prankster’s origin, which was not exactly the most clever, but pretty realistic and immediately believable. I like the Prankster as a villain, so I’m glad that they didn’t make him into a character at the end. And the fact that Tony Zucco saves Dick’s life is a nice twist on his character. Then we get to the ending… Which is the one thing I didn’t care for in this storyline (and pretty much the only plot thread I’ve ever disliked from Higgins, come to think of it). Tony Zucco is arrested, then there’s a shady mob enforcer that tells him his wife and child left him and then we get the old Tony Zucco back as a bad guy. So much for redemption, I guess. And one of the side characters also has a secret mask and costume of his own. So I guess we’ll be getting some more Chicago action in the near future (after the Zero Year issue and Forever Evil crossovers, naturally).
So there you have it. A great story, expertly written and drawn by a fantastic creative team that really seems to be finding their footing as a duo. And other than the ending (which I’m sure many others liked, even though it felt a little rushed to me personally), it was a pretty flawless issue. But I’m from the generation where the ending is everything. And this one doesn’t exactly ruin the story, but it still left me wanting. Not in a cliffhanger sense, just in a “did I miss something?” one. All in all, a good issue. Can’t wait to see what life throws at Nightwing next.
My Rating: 4/5