Nightwing #46 – Benjamin Percy, Writer; Stephen Mooneyham, Penciller; Klaus Janson, Inker; Nick Filardi, Colorist
Ray – 6.5/10
Ray: Ben Percy is at his core a horror writer, and those themes consistently dominated his writing on Green Arrow and his brief Detective Comics arc. His Teen Titans run, while often strong, never played to his strengths. So it’s not a surprise he’s back to that groove with Nightwing, but with a different bent – taking our modern-day tech obsession and twisting it into something disturbing. This isn’t a subtle Twilight Zone episode, though – it’s big, bombastic horror with monsters everywhere. That makes it really not feel all that much like a Nightwing comic at times. The issue opens with more cyber-spiders crawling their way into Nightwing’s body, as a ghostly techno-monster hovers over him. Dick is barely able to escape his hacked apartment, throwing himself out the window – when Babs catches him, entering the storyline for real after her appearance as a 3D Catfish trick last issue. They’re soon stalked through the streets of the newly cyber-equipped Bludhaven by more holo-monsters.
The interesting thing is, this isn’t the first time Batgirl has tangled with threats like this. A lot of Hope Larson’s Batgirl run was about the threat of tech companies to aid in gentrification. That’s what Percy is going for here as well, but while Larson’s threat was tech bros and human evil, this issue is all about massive, ugly, in-your-face threats. The best part in this issue comes from the banter between Dick and Barbara, as they’ve clearly got a strong partnership going that goes back years. But the plot is lacking. When the villain finally shows up in the flesh, he might as well have a flashing sign over his head – all the murder victims so far were in his class, and he has a mysterious cyber-eye. The issue is fond of graphic suicides, gory shots of robotic spiders trying to crawl into orifices, etc. The ending of the issue introduces some new villains, in the form of a gang of female warriors called the “Russian Sisterhood”, plus a band of imposing sentries taking on Nightwing. It’s not that this series is overtly bad so far, but this initial storyline isn’t really working for me and I don’t think the tone meshes well with Nightwing’s character.
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GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.