Wednesday, January 15, 2014

SPOILERS: Nightwing #27

The Mad Hatter has taken a Chicago vacation, and he wants his Alice back... Nightwing? Eh, whatever, kill him! And so begins the unexpected team-up of Nightwing and Marionette. Being well aware of Mad Hatter's gimmick, Dick goes for the hats on top of everyone's heads, but when he's still getting shot at, it's obvious that Hatter's game has evolved. It's Mali who figures out the mind control is coming from a phone, and once it's busted, she and Dick grab Michael and the cop he's been working with, and get the hell out of dodge.

When they're alone, Mali tells Dick her story, how she was abducted by the Hatter, turned into an Alice, and discarded like the rest. Her mind was broken as a result of Hatter's tinkering, so that's how she became who she is today, and the drugs she steals keeps her at a baseline, at best. Mali expresses to Dick that she's tired of it all, and if there's someone who can fix her mind, it's probably the Hatter.

That morning, Dick returns to his apartment, but the window is locked once again, as Joey and Jen are cleaning the apartment. Dick enters through the front door, and starts to argue with Joey about how he likes his stuff the way it is, how she doesn't need to be OCD about everything, blah blah blah. Meanwhile, Jen is putting some shoes away in Dick's room, and when she drops them, hears the floor clack a bit... then she finds a false floor compartment with the Nightwing costume inside. Dick doesn't find out, as he leaves with Joey telling him to find a new place to live.

Elsewhere, Hatter is at a company called Drexler Chemical, who he's clearly got a hand in, and it turns out they supply him with plenty of drugs for his various teas. Dick and Mali have a plan to go in, find Hatter and get out, hoping to use him to fix Mali later... But Mali has another plan, purposely tripping the alarm and leaving Dick to find Hatter on her own. Dick thinks that Mali is going to kill Hatter, but when he finally gets to the room he's in, find shim pinned up from the wall, screaming about his stolen tea. Hatter then notices Nightwing looks confused, telling him he's been played, something his Alice does particularly well.

Turns out that the tea Hatter uses has a bunch of Kanium in it, enough to last Mali for a while. Dick's all sorts of confused, looking for Mali, but never finds her. So unaware of which side of her was telling the truth, Dick just sort of leaves things as they are.

Later at his bar tending job, Dick learns that after the Hatter took over his mind, Michael left his job sort of... "fixing" the press about masks, now being a bit touchy about people controlling him. Thought his conversation, Dick realizes he should probably apologize to Joey, and when he does, finds out she lost her job, thus why she's at home so much. They make up, and Jen's parents come to pick her up. Jen has apparently been drawing all day, but won't show anyone her drawings... Why? Because they're a secret... like Nightwing secret.


The Good: 

I like Mali's story and origin, I liked the idea of Hatter's involvement last month, but the explanation here really sold me on it. It just makes sense in a way that someone who'd gone through Hatter's... I don't know, "process?" would have some weird, weird personality stuff going on. 

The Bad:

Small stuff first, weird forced drama between Dick and Joey, sort of just came out of no where. Also... Dick, you can leave your window closed, but keep it unlocked, just saying.

Then the big stuff... With whatever that is happening to Nightwing in the future, and the Forever Evil confirmation that his life in Chicago is over, this is just one of those Nightwing issues where, once again, you can tell ideas and concepts for this latest new direction are being swept under the rug for whatever is coming next. I ultimately feel bad for Kyle Higgins, this is what... the fourth direction he had for this book, now being overridden by DC's bigger plans? I mean, shit, Dick literally leaves Mali at "I guess I'll never know!" Way to go, not like he was trained by Batman and could probably find anyone if he REALLY wanted to try. Then whatever his other roommate Michael was doing with the cops, yeah that's thrown out too. It just sucks, and I certainly hope no one at the top of DC is looking down and going "We really need to set a solid direction for Nightwing" because it's their fucking fault he hasn't had one since The New 52 started.

The Bottom Line:

Marionette is a cool character, with an interesting connection to a classic villain and I really enjoyed her reintroduction into this title, but unfortunately, it seems she'll be left hanging (HAH!). Like being on the road with the circus, or the owner of Amusement Mile before it, this Chicago driven direction for Nightwing seems to be coming to an end, and is unceremoniously being shown the door in favor for whatever is next. Unfortunately, this inevitable and most recent change in direction lead to a few too quick for their own good wrap ups on characters or ideas that were introduced recently, and it's disappointing for interesting concepts to seemingly not get utilized to their full potential, yet again. Par for the course of New 52 Dick Grayson.


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