By Benjamin Percy, Chris Mooneyham, Nick Filardi & Carlos M. Mangual
The new creative team of Nightwing board this issue for an interesting solo arc featuring Dick that pits him against the dangers of advancing technology in the city, in an issue that felt vaguely reminiscent of Netflix’s Black Mirror. The augmented reality device that hit the streets of Blüdhaven is causing nothing but problems, and it’s interesting to see how Dick deals with a situation like this.
Writer Benjamin Percy is a newcomer to this book, bringing with him artist Chris Mooneyham, colourist Nick Filardi and letterer Carlos M. Mangual to replace Tim Seeley’s run on the character. Percy clearly gets Nightwing for the most part and what makes him work, spending much of the issue focused on his character and running him through the motions of what we can expect from the new writer’s run. His scenes with Barbara Gordon are perhaps the highlight of the book as we get to see them interact with each other like old friends with no forced drama between them, and this plays to both characters strengths. He also finds a way to explore Nightwing and how he operates in relation to Batman, and although the Caped Crusader is never present, his presence over Dick’s life is clearly felt.
The plot is a rather straightforward mystery for now and Percy does an effective job at setting the stage, even if there are a couple of minor issues, namely when it comes down to Dick’s lack of knowledge about this new technology when it’s clearly commonplace and relatively inexpensive. Nightwing’s old-school view of advanced technology is somewhat confusing and frustrating for the character to have, especially when Bruce is so reliant on technology to operate as Batman having employed multiple gadgets in the past.
The main draw about Nightwing #44 however is its excellent artwork, which overcomes its mixed script, really finding a way to Blüdhaven to life in truly vivid, remarkable detail. Chris Mooneyham fleshes out the city well, giving its own distinctive voice, and even panels as simple as Dick simply walking down the streets of the city are done very well. The amount of detail in this issue from both Mooneyham and colourist Filardi is just incredible – the city truly feels alive, bustling full of energy and very atmospheric. Nightwing’s suit design blends in well with the city too, and the blue and black combination will never not be a cool one.
Facial expressions too are something that Mooneyham really does well, it’s not just the landscape and uniform. The characters themselves who inhabit Blüdhaven feel incredibly authentic, as Mooneyham finds a way to give even minor ones depth. And then there’s Carlos Mangual’s letters, with the comic’s text itself designed to make Blüdhaven feel as important as possible, almost like a character in the book itself.
Nightwing #44 may have an unremarkable script that is hit and miss at times, but Chris Mooneyham’s artwork and Nick Filardi’s colours really makes up for it. This is a book you’re going to want to pay attention to for the artwork but, hopefully, it won’t be long before the script improves.