By Michael McMillian, Christian Duce, and Chris Sotomayor
“Split Second” is a strong issue that features the team-up of two fan-favorites, Dick Grayson and Wally West, against interesting opposition. It makes sense to have Nightwing and Wally teaming-up given that Batman and Barry are currently in the middle of a crossover. The issue itself more than justifies Wally’s inclusion giving him plenty to do but also in the process not overlooking Nightwing. This is after all, a Nightwing series, but fans of Wally will be relieved to know that his appearance is far more than just that of a simple cameo.
Little touches to the script like seeing Dick and Wally in a bar talking to civilians or just hanging out as friends help flesh out the bond between the duo. The joke about both characters’ names being old-school is made with a reference to the 1950s. However, it isn’t long before the issue introduces the antagonist and the action really begins, with Michael McMillian having cleverly plotted and paced this issue so that it feels perfectly timed.
The pencils from Christian Duce and the colors from Chris Sotomayor are awesome. Even twenty-one issues it still feels very cool seeing Nightwing in his blue suit in Blüdhaven, and then you throw Wally into the equation with his own superhero gear. There’s a great panel that has them both running and jumping across the rooftop skyline that stands out as a real highlight this issue. The atmosphere created in the look and feel of the city helps flesh Blüdhaven out with a distinctive feel, and the action too, is well detailed. Even though most of the costume drama takes place at night, there’s a pretty colorful scene where Dick and Wally are observing their foe run through a crowded market, stealing from multiple people, and it’s highlighted in brilliant detail.
This issue doesn’t feel like filler despite the creative team change and the apparent standalone feel invoked by the guest appearance of Flash. The fun dynamic between the two characters is really exploited well and plays to their strengths; the fact the supporting character isn’t a member of the extended Bat-family is really enjoyable. Yes, the dialogue can get a bit predictable in places as one might expect for a team-up, particularly between these two characters, but it often feels relevant to the main plot – even if most of the main issue focuses on the ‘villain of the week’ formula. It’s something that is used expertly on Person of Interest for instance, tying the villain of the week into the overarching storyline, and it’s pulled off to great success here too.
Benefiting from a light-hearted outlook and a refreshing break from the doom and gloom, Nightwing #21 may suffer from a lacklustre villain, but then the villain was never going to be a focus in an issue where you have both Wally West and Dick Grayson teaming-up. The character dynamic presented here is fun and engaging and if a team-up of these two superheroes sounds like your kind of thing, then you need to read this.