Nightwing #44

Writers: Benjamin Percy
Artist: Chris Mooneyham
Colorist: Nick Filardi
Letterer: Carlos L. Manugal
Cover: Declan Shalvey & Jordie Bellaire
Publisher: DC Comics

Review by Nico Sprezzatura

There’s never a dull moment in Blüdhaven, but after the events of Nightwing #44, Dick Grayson might wish there were. “The Bleeding Edge” starts here!

Following Tim Seeley’s years-long run with the character —and a briefer one by Sam Humphries that just concluded— Nightwing #44 welcomes new ongoing writer Benjamin Percy (Green Arrow, Teen Titans) to the title. As a big fan of Percy’s work, this is a very good thing.

Based on this one issue, Percy seems to really “get” what makes Nightwing different from Batman: fun. While his old mentor is broody and chronically serious, Dick brings some levity to the Batfam, even while operating in the grimy dump that is Blüdhaven. That’s the Nightwing Difference! (Trademark pending.)

That quality is best exemplified on one particular page in this issue. The moment trouble breaks out on a crowded subway train, Dick doesn’t hesitate cracking a coy little grin before getting to work. In just those four panels, artist Chris Mooneyham shows mutual understanding of what makes Nightwing such an appealing character. Even if you don’t read Percy’s words, you know exactly what’s happening and how Dick ticks, thanks to how Mooneyham conveys the scene.

(… “Dick ticks.”)

Colorist Nick Filardi is also a good match for Mooneyham’s visuals, from the vibrant blue of Nightwing’s suit, to the sickly greens of everybody’s smartphones. The latter is especially good color-coding; green often means health and fortune, but it can just as easily mean malice and grossness. Based on the first installment of “Bleeding Edge,” it seems that aspect to technology will emerge in full force.

Even though we’re technically no longer in the “Rebirth” era of DC Comics, Nightwing #44 gives you just about everything you could possibly want from the character. Swashbuckling shenanigans! Interaction with Barbara Gordon! Dick in various states of undress! All that’s missing here is a gratuitous butt shot, but I’ll forgive Mooneyham for that.

As a possible entry point, Nightwing #44 offers an interesting sci-fi element that most Nightwing stories don’t seem to have. The last page specifically calls to mind the “Extremis” concept from Iron Man, and I can’t imagine it’ll be good news for the former Boy Wonder. Guess we’ll have to wait a month to find out how this one shakes out!

The Verdict: Buy it.

With a new creative team, but all the familiar trappings of his character, Nightwing #44 is a promising new start for the hunkiest member of the Batfam.

Nico Sprezzatura
Nico Frank Sprezzatura, middle name optional. 24. Schrödinger's writer.

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