Review – Nightwing #45: Hacking the Brain

Reading Time: 3 minutes
Nightwing #45 cover
Image via DC Comics

Nightwing #45 – Benjamin Percy, Writer; Stephen Mooneyham, Artist; Klaus Janson, Inker; Nick Filardi, Colorist

Ratings:

Ray – 7/10

Corrina: MInd Control Is a Theme Lately

WARNING: SPOILERS BELOW

Ray: After a rough debut, Nightwing #45 makes very clear what Ben Percy is going for on this title – his run on Nightwing is a horror story. Specifically, a technologically-based cyberpunk horror story that’s worming its way into the hero’s world. The last issue introduced the possibility of Bludhaven being taken over by some sort of sinister technology and ended by a robotic spider burrowing its way into Nightwing’s chest (a theme that Percy likes a little too much). Where the issue begins, though, is very different – Dick, in bed with Barbara Gordon, remembering nothing of the previous night. Not sure what made him restart the relationship and late for his day, he runs out – but Barbara isn’t what she seems. She’s actually a malevolent AI luring Dick into a false sense of security. It’s not clear what this being actually did with Dick the previous night, but at the very least there are incredibly disturbing implications here that mark it as one of the darkest villains we’ve seen in this title. Meanwhile, the technology taking over Bludhaven continues to tighten its grip, and various criminal elements are looking to use it to their advantage. This take on Bludhaven is very different, but it’s intriguing.

Dick spends most of the issue feeling very out of sorts, like he knows something is off but can’t put his finger on it. His training session with his new client – who is a cyborg, and reminds me a lot of a character from David Walker’s run on Cyborg – is one of the best scenes in the issue, although I’m still puzzled by Dick’s new characterization as a blue-collar luddite. It seems a distinct 180 from the youthful character in Sam Humphries’ and Tim Seeley’s run. Dick’s interactions with the real Batgirl – who doesn’t seem to remember anything from last night, of course – are a lot of fun, including a cameo by Killer Croc’s pet Pomeranian, and make me think that Percy might have a decent grasp on Dick’s social circle. The ending of the issue, though, jumps full-on into the horror plot, as the villain Wyrm reveals themselves in twisted fashion and proceeds to send the book careening into body horror again. It’s a definite improvement over the first issue, but I’m still not fully sold on this new direction.

Nightwing #45 page 2
Don’t get excited, Babs/Dick shippers. It’s not what it seems. Image via DC Comics

Corrina: It’s rare for me to like something more than Ray and I’m not sure that’s happened here but I found this somewhat less horrific and more interesting than he did.

I clued in fast that having sex with Barbara was part of an illusion/virtual reality run by our villain. (Heck, is Dick/Babs ever real/allowed to be real lately?) But Dick’s confusion and frustration worked, as did his dedication to his client. I loved that Dick’s little training exercises are always about saving someone. That is a nice touch, even if I think a personal trainer who must keep appointments is a strange career choice for someone who’s constantly called away for emergencies.

The overall plot, however, suffered from being one of many mind control plots for our hero lately. First, of course, were the hypnos of Spyral. The Judge had his fun controlling Dick and everyone else. And now there’s a virtual reality theme with mind control, very similar to a plot in Teen Titans just a month or two ago. (Could this be the same villain?) Perhaps. In any case, they’re blending together in my head.

To find reviews of all the DC issues, visit DC This Week.

Disclaimer: GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.

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