Nightwing has had a rough transition in the New 52. The first eight issues of the series have been completely forgettable simply because the story was boring. Issue 9 picked up steam with the Court Of Owls and with Nightwing #10, the book may be finding its voice. Nightwing needs to be his own hero, separate from Batman and with a different agenda. This seems to be setting that up.
There is a lot to digest in this issue but it is all good stuff. First, Nightwing is back in Gotham for good. Second, he’s looking to help regenerate interest in the city by sprucing up Old Gotham and reopening a World’s Fair type amusement park that has now gone to rot. Helping in this little venture is Sofia Zucco, daughter of the man who killed Dick Grayson’s parents. Along with all of this, there’s a corrupt cop out to nail Nightwing for two murders he didn’t commit and, to top it all off, a costumed baddy named Paragon looking to end Nightwing once and for all.
Writer Kyle Higgins is smart to allow all these loose ends to unfold naturally. He doesn’t rush the story – instead each bit fits together to move to the next section. Nightwing’s investigation of the double murder involves both the corrupt cop and Paragon. His involvement with Sofia Zucco weaves into his need to establish himself outside of Bruce Wane’s shadow, which plays into Dick wanting to help the circus and deal with his past. As the issue comes to a close, the set up for the next several issue is laid out before us.
How does Paragon play into this and why does he consider Nightwing a false idol? Will this corrupt cop be the end for our hero and is this business venture with Sofia Zucco going to turn into a romantic interest. Imagine the drama if Nightwing involves himself with the girl of the family who killed his parents. Then there’s the circus and the business to turning Old Gotham into something grand again. How will that all play into Nightwing’s stint as superhero. Nightwing #10 goes a long way to erasing the trips and falls of the first issues.
Eddy Barrows and Geraldo Borges handles the art duties here with almost complete perfection. I really like this team; I like how they use panels and backgrounds to push the motion of the scene. The opening splash page of Nightwing swinging through the city is a perfect example. The city is a bit blurred in the background giving both depth and a feeling of how fast Nightwing moves. The panel placement is well done, though it sways back and forth between intricate and basic a little too much for me.
Both men seem to have an eye for detail and a great use of shadow, especially the exchange between Commissioner Gordon and the Deputy Mayor. The only issue I have with the art is how Dick Grayson is drawn outside of his costume. He’s way too young and he has this weird Asian quality to his face. I don’t care about that except Dick Grayson isn’t Asian so it seems odd. Other than that, the art is really solid. I particularly loved the cover, which comes from Eddy Barrows, inker Eber Ferreira and colorist Rod Reis. If this quality keeps up, Nightwing could become a real asset to the New 52.
(4, Story 4, Art)