By Tim Seeley, Javier Fernández and Chris Sotomayor
Let’s talk about habits; according to Merriam Webster a habit is “as usual way of behaving : something that a person does often in a regular and repeated way”. Now a bad habit is often placed on lists that include things like drug abuse, self harm, or driving too fast. This issue of Nightwing really highlights Dicks bad habits.
Dick is wrapped up in Raptor in the worst way possible, he is following him around, trusting him blindly and generally letting things get away from him. Raptor is changing mission plans on the fly and working an angle that is increasingly becoming more skewed from Dick’s. Barbara is in this issue to really show the negativity of DIck’s choices and to get on him a little. Because she’s upset that he faked his death once already and is off again with this raptor character all of a sudden just globetrotting, not returning her calls, and she is frustrated and understandably so. Barbara cares so much for Dick and she literally just got him back and you can see Seeley building out a relationship between the two of them. The problem is that Dick has chosen to put his mission before all else, until his mission starts to go too far. When Dick thinks that Raptor has crossed that line he loses his mind, this really illustrates that while Dick will commit to a mission and let his training and relationships breakdown, there are parts of his code that he will now let slip.
There is a beautiful Conversation that Dick and Barbara share towards the opening of the book that moves from this worried franticness to hoping against hope that everything is going to be okay. Fernandez brings facial expressions and body language that you can really see and that speaks louder than the words at times. Something that’s becoming apparent is that not only are the characters physically different from one another and have distinct color schemes, Sotomayor uses the familiar colors to trigger emotions. He’ll throw Raptors orange up as the backdrop to character’s to reinforce not only what we are shocked but who we are shocked with. Every issue so far has had some kind of larger art piece that the team undertakes, this time it’s a double-page splash of our heroes making there way through a compound that was built by a superstitious paranoid man. It is a maze to be reckoned with there are traps and puzzles that have our here’s pulling each other out of danger at every turn. There are several floating panels against a background of nothing but Lionel and Roger Penrose’s impossible staircases. This is a really clever framing device that gets used on the cover as well as throughout the issue. It not only shows the near impossibility of the maze our characters are in, but it also kind of reflects circles that Dick has been going on lately is dragging not only himself but his friends through as well.
This arc is coming to a close fast and ultimately what Seeley, Fernandez and co. have set up is going to be a test for Dick. He is going to have to decide where he falls in the order of things and it look like he’s going to have to do it on his own. This is a really enjoyable issue that effectively shows how Dick is just putting his foot in it again and again. Here’s hoping that he gets his head on straight soon and stops standing up Barbara.