All Aboard the Nightwing Express!!! CHOO CHOOO!
It has been a long September without Nightwing. Luckily, the wait is over now because our, "Not So Dark Knight", has returned and in spectacular form! While Nightwing did appear throughout some Forever Evil titles, I found myself missing him being conscious... Never mind, on with the review! I expected a bombastic issue with gratuitous action and Nightwing just beating up the Prankster yet, Kyle Higgins completely shattered my predictions for this issue making it something completely different. Prankster's relationship with Nightwing was shelved. Instead, this conclusion to the Prankster arc focused on Tony Zucco's relationship with Nightwing. I find every last bit of dialogue between these two characters simply enthralling because the relationship between these two characters couldn't possibly exist between Batman and Joe Chill. Kyle is telling Nightwing stories the right way. Nightwing should be similar to batman to the point where he is recognizable as Batman's protégé yet, different enough so we can get stories and situations that could never take place in a Batman comic. The action may seem a bit muffled compared to the bombastic action palooza that was Batman #24 but, I preferred the majority of the story really exposing the reader to the interesting relationship between Dick and Tony. I was never a fan of the Prankster and his extremely general motive didn't make me like him anymore yet, I feel that the character's purpose was to be used as a springboard for Dick and Tony to meet and possibly get used to working together for what comes next in Chicago (possibly the mask killer?). Once again, Will Conrad does an impeccable job in the art department. The cover of this issue was Will's best so far in my opinion. One thing I especially missed seeing was Nightwing riding his motorcycle. I'm pleased to see that Nightwing seems to be getting his gear back little by little. What really made this issue for me is the classic Kyle Higgins blindside ending. An element is added to Tony Zucco's character that in my mind cements him as the most fascinating interpretation of the character so far.
I wish that Nightwing and Zucco went up against someone a little more formidable than the Prankster. I never really felt threatened by him through this whole arc but, I wanted to wait and find out his motivations before dubbing him a dull character. The Prankster's motivation being something as typical as avenging his father just seemed really trite and boring. I doubt Prankster will be remembered and praised by fans as an interesting character a few months from now. I also found it kind of lame that the Prankster was too stupid to ensure that the train where he laid bombs in couldn't move. Nightwing simply had to turn on the train and get it to a safe area. It barely took any intelligence to defeat the Prankster which disappointed me since inescapable traps were kind of his thing... As I said, he served his purpose as a springboard yet, you'd think Nightwing should be getting the compelling villain treatment since his Rouges Gallery has been hijacked by Batman (Deathstroke) and Batgirl (James Gordon Jr.) since the New 52 began. One little knit pick that I have is the absence of Nightwing's escrima sticks. Throughout this arc, Dick sported his escrima sticks yet, for whatever reason, they have vanished for this issue. The fight scenes are much more badass with them so included plus, why not include them since he always uses them?
Thoughts Going Forward
After a month long break, issue 24 sucks me right back into Chicago where I belong. All I can think about is Tony's role in the upcoming arc. I'm eager to learn all about what made Tony enter and leave the secret aspect of his life revealed at the end of 24 and I'm also wondering if Tony may have a longer stay in Nightwing's life. With the way things are going, he may even become Nightwing's ally. Hopefully Tony sticks around as a permanent piece in Nightwing's life since he's the first Nightwing supporting cast character that actually interested me.
Nightwing has entered seamlessly into Chicago and this book has found its footing. While it is unfortunate that this book's progression is constantly halted due to events and crossovers, the story being told in Nightwing is a story that will be something truly special. Kyle Higgins is showing Nightwing fans that Nightwing is anything but Batman-Lite.