That Girl's a Superfreak
This issue seriously has a dull cover. It's trying way too hard to be cool, especially with the rain. Nightwing and Lady Shiva are just taking up way too much space, and their fight poses are kind of awkward and static. Plus there's no background. It just looks so bland.
Andres Guinaldo delivers some very nice artwork, bright colors and dynamic movement. A couple of the panels in the Lady Shiva fight are really really awesome. The only downside to Guinaldo over Barrows is that Guinaldo uses traditional panel layouts, none of the wild and acrobatic kind of work Barrows does.
This issue is actually pretty competent at balancing out multiple plotlines, from the construction of the permanent home for Haly's Circus, to the dealings with Sonia Branch, to Lady Shiva, and even the return of The Joker. All these wild loose ends begin to tie together in a noose that's coming for Nightwing. I'm surprised that this issue is so connected, because I thought it was just Kyle Higgins who had the connection to Scott Snyder that seems to make Nightwing use Batman's events so perfectly to guide its own plot. A lot of these loose ends funnel together into two central points. The way Death of the Family was set up really shocked me, and overall the second year of the New 52 seems to be setting up Penguin as quite a boss character.
Lady Shiva's kind of weird in the New 52. The way she's apparently never encountered Batman and Nightwing aside from that one time in #0 REALLY screws with the supposedly relatively unchanged timeline; and it's really hard for me to piece together who she is at this point. She's practically a new character with this interpretation, her motivations are a little awkward, she talks about honor, and then talks about herself being no different than corrupt businessmen? To be fair, I ABSOLUTELY LOVE the way she fights. She's got a lot of weapons, and whips around wildly, attacking in multiple directions at once all the time. Except I hate her stupid hair. Her hair is full of blades? How do they stay in there, especially when she's whipping it around like that? How does she not cut herself? It's all just so stupid.
There's a lot of awkward dialogue. There's blatant exposition and just some weird lines. And there's A LOT Of 'oh this happened in this issue.' The most INFURIATING of which being the one that says NIGHTWING BROKE HIS RIBS LAST ISSUE GUYS. Not literally but pretty much. Ugh.
In Conclusion: 4/5
Nightwing's been a pretty low key series since Night of the Owls. It's been really hard for me to be gripped by most issues. This one had a lot of the same problems, but the plotline was much smoother, and the fight with Lady Shive had A LOT of cool stuff.