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Wednesday, March 12, 2014

SPOILERS: Nightwing #29


This is a weird issue to write up. On the surface, a very simple story is told: Jen has run away to confront her parents’ killer (Mr. Zsasz), which clearly doesn’t go well, but Dick manages to save her, as heroes tend to do. Afterwards, with Jen knowing his secret, he opens up to the  young girl a bit, and offers his advice on how to live on after the tragedy, and ends up giving Jen the bracelet he had given his mother the day before she died. The issue ends with Dick getting ready to head back to Gotham for a few days, texting Sonia Zucco, asking if she’d be interested in dinner. And that’s it. But there’s more to this issue than the simple story with Jen and Zsasz, and that’s where this issue excels.

The Good:

Being that this is kinda-sorta the last issue of the series, or, last regular issue that is, a lot of time is dedicated to wrap up. Throughout the issue, scenes and flashbacks from Dick Grayson’s life, through his parents’ death, his time as Robin, and events that have taken place in this title, are all woven through the main story, accompanied by a narration that plays true to the theme Kyle Higgins has used through out his run. Staring from the death of the Flying Graysons, the narrative discusses how one moves on from such a tragic event, to better themselves and avoid being defined by that single event. As the narration continues, questions are asked about what happens when the past comes back, via old friends who’ve fallen apart, ideas of what could have been, etc… all obviously ties to events that have happened in this book. The point that I’m getting at is this: The issue stays true to the overall theme Higgins has been working with the entire time which is that no matter what shit is thrown Dick Grayson’s way, he always maintains focus on the positive, and tries to move forward. Given the issue ends with the theme that started in issue #1, you really get the sense that a lot of care and thought got put into this issue, something not always found in New 52 cancellations. Then, to cap the great conclusion off, you have Russell Dauterman’s beautiful artwork, which was particularly great this issue. Many of the flashbacks are told through full page spreads, some of which being the best looking pages of the title’s entire run. Said it last month, but I’m really glad DC got a great artist to finish this one off, rather than just picking someone from their group of usual mercenary style fill-in.

The Bad:

As you might be able to tell by how much good stuff I had to say about the issue, there wasn’t a whole lot I disliked. If anything, I think it’s kind of unfortunate a closure to the Chicago story itself wasn’t really told, but to be fair… it didn’t get a good chance to be established in the first place due to you know… imminent doom?

The Bottom Line:

Nightwing #29 serves a fantastic conclusion to Kyle Higgins’ time on the book by remaining true to itself, wrapping things up with care, rather than hastily ending plotlines just to get to one editorially mandated point. This issue could have easily been: Dick Grayson beats Zsasz, brings Zsasz back to Gotham, OH NO, Forever Evil! and to be honest, given how some things go with book cancellations, I was sort of expecting a half-hearted ending such as that. But instead, by remaining true to the theme that has run throughout, the conclusion to this run felt satisfying by actually having some depth to it. Whether you liked the stories that were told in this book or not, you’d find yourself in a hard place trying to argue that the theme of Dick trying to focus on the positive and move forward was incorrect or a wrong fit for the character. Ultimately, it was the use of that theme is what this book consistently did well… and in an odd turn of events, became sort of meta as similar to Dick Grayson, this book took quite a few hits and changes in direction along the way, but nevertheless, Higgins continued on, trying to turn them all into positives, which you’ve got to respect.

RATING: 5/5

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