Graphic Novel Reviews: Nightwing 013

The Story

Nightwing’s investigation on Lady Shiva leads him to discover that a small time gangster has hired a squad of men to murder the assassin upon arrival. Even though Shiva most certainly deserves death for the crimes she’s commited, Nightwing goes to stop the attack, only to discover that she has arrived in Gotham, but not by the means everyone thought she would.

The Review
First off, if you’ve noticed that the plot summaries on these reviews have been somewhat short, that’s because while I consider some kind of plot synopsis is necessary, I don’t put that much weight on them. I like to keep the spoilers in more or less the same place so anyone that doesn’t want to know what actually happens in the book doesn’t have to watch out for spoilers during the review itself. And considering that I don’t really feel like summarizing every little thing that happens, you end up with only a few lines. If you like your reviews with plot summaries, I apologize for the shortness of mine, but I probably won’t be doing more than the most basic of summaries anytime soon.

That being said, let’s actually talk about the book. I know that I’m behind on these, and as part of my effort of catching up, I did things a little differently this time. I’ve already read through my backlog, and rather than reviewing each issue as I finished it, I let the stories sit in my head a bit so I could form my opinion. That may have backfired since everything is a blur now, but let us press on!

There are a few things worth noting in this book. Firstly, I appreciate seeing Nightwing do detective work. Too many of the Bat titles seem to forget that Batman and his allies are detectives first, fistfighters second. So seeing Dick actually spend a good chunk of the issue getting his answers was nice.

If nothing else, a lot happened this issue, and I think Tom DeFalco does a pretty good job juggling all the different plot threads running through this book. If nothing else Nightwing is one of the few books that actually has an ongoing plot that continues from book to book, through all the crossovers. Batgirl does a good job of that too, I can’t really comment on Dark Knight and Detective Comics, but Batman and Robin pretty much abandons every plot thread every few issues. And as great as Scott Snyder’s Batman has been, his plot threads have a habbit of spilling over into other series, or into their own new books. So I can certainly appreciate Nightwing for doing a respectable job remembering that a serialized story can have story elements that extend beyond the individual stories.

The introduction of the acrobat family, with a dynamic very similar to Dick’s as a child, was an interesting touch. I hope we get to see more from them, as the parallels betwen Dick and the girl Christina would make for some good material.

My main complaint with this issue would be Batgirl’s cameo. Don’t get me wrong, the shipper in me (malnourished though he is) appreciated the appearance. But what bugs me is the note that this exchange took place after Batgirl 14. At the time that I’m writing this review I have already read that issue, but had I read it when it first came out I would have been horribly confused. “What happened in that issue!?” I would ask, with no answer in sight for another month.

This is mostly a general complaint about the chronology of the comics as a whole, though I really shouldn’t complain too much, at least these are happening within a few hours of each other, as opposed to the several years of difference between some books. It would just be nice if there were some kind of chart to show which book is happening when in relation to each other.

Other than that, it was a solid issue. With my only complaint being one that applies to comics in general, I feel confident giving this issue…

The Grade

3/5

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