By Tim Seeley, Javier Fernandez and Chris Sotomayor.
DC Comics has spoiled its readers with Seeley’s Nightwing two weeks in a row. This issue explores more of Dick’s identity and leaves the reader with a lot to think about by the time the issue ends.
Let’s start with identity; the last issue covered a wide range the aspects of who Dick Grayson is and could be. This one adds another possibility with the introduction of Raptor, who says things that Dick himself has said and seem to be able to understand Dick’s process of thinking. Raptor also has not only professed that everything Batman taught Dick was wrong, he has also called him on the floor for being just a side-brand to Batman. Seeley establishes here that these two characters are more alike than Dick would like to admit. Raptor at one point says that Dick needs a mentor that has one foot in the darkness and is willing to take things to the next level. Raptor also says that because he is there already he would be able to keep dick from going too far. Eventually Dick is faced with a choice and when he opts to go on another mission with Raptor, it prevents him from meeting Barbara for what she thought was a date.
When it comes to Dick and Barbara, Seeley has made the most out of their interactions. The two of them are sweet, cute and the have enough chemistry to fill a lab. So when Dick doesn’t show up, it’s heartbreaking. Because isn’t that why we read Nightwing? To see Dick not only leap off roofs, perform heroic feats and crack wise the entire time, but to then go and have a sunset picnic with a beautiful woman? Of course that’s what we come for, but instead Dick puts not only his long-term mission in front of his personal welfare, but the opportunity to go on another outing with Raptor. Which begs the question: was this choice informed by Batman and his upbringing or is it the influence of Raptor and the prospect of being around someone dangerous? Another conceivable line of thinking would be that maybe Dick feels the need to prove to raptor that everything he has been taught is right. It looks like we will have to read on to find out.
With the way that Fernandez and Sotomayor are cranking out top-of-the-line work, this book could be re-titled: “How to Show Off an Art Team”, because we have Raptor who is visually different from Nightwing throughout the book, but then at the beginning of this issue we get a Robin flashback and then in the course of the issue we also get to see Barbara in and out of her costume. All of these provide a wide range for both the pencils and the colors to really show what they can do. Fernandez brings something new to the table once again with a terrifying sequence involving a snake woman. As an added elemental to the grotesqueness, Dick is wincing. His faces says it all without there needing to be any actual dialogue, save some exclamation points in a word balloon. Topping that off, Sotomayor’s color juxtaposition paired with Fernandez’s unique costume design play a large role for our leads. It acts as a visual representation of what the words are saying and provides a draw for the eye with each turn of the page.
Seeley has readers asking all of the right questions while Fernandez and Sotomayor are making it more than appealing to the eye. It’s exciting to explore Dick’s identity and watch him weave his way through a shaky new partnership. This book has so much potential and from what we have seen so far there should be no need to worry about it going to waste.