Nightwing Annual #1 – Benjamin Percy, Writer; Otto Schmidt, Artist
Ray – 8.5/10
Ray: After a hit-and-miss first arc, Benjamin Percy’s Nightwing run may be hitting its groove with a creepy annual that escalates the threat of Wyrm and the Dark Web into Gotham City. Batgirl played a major role in that first arc, and the title continues to build on her relationship with Nightwing. The catfishing hologram version out of the way, she’s helping Dick get the tech out of his system (as illustrated in a creepy opening segment), and then it’s on to Gotham, where Barbara has even set up a mobile Batcave for Dick. The Batgirl/Nightwing relationship has been on and off for a while, and I’m glad to see it getting major play, even though there’s another complication introduced this issue – in the form of a flirtatious Vicki Vale, who needs Nightwing’s help to deal with a Wyrm infestation into Gotham’s news industry. Wyrm, since his debut, has been all about the disruptive power of technology. As we see in our everyday life, where is technology more potentially disruptive than in the news? It doesn’t have to target us directly, we’ll target ourselves due to misinformation.
Percy has one of his most memorable Green Arrow collaborators, Otto Schmidt, on art duties this issue. That makes a big difference in the effectiveness of the story, because Schmidt’s take on the Terminals and the related technological monsters are terrifying. The mysterious face of Wyrm’s new viral news network, Karma Shifton, seems to have an uncanny ability to get into people’s heads and force them to confess their worst sins. The Feed, the new newspaper that seems to have taken over every news source, spins inflammatory and often actively contradictory headlines to turn people against each other. I’m not sure about Dick talking about Walter Cronkite – Percy’s take on him as an old-soul luddite is still a bit odd for me – but the reveal of Karma’s real form is one of the creepiest visuals I’ve seen in a comic in a while. This is a great horror story with a modern tech-based twist, and it kept me guessing from the first page to the last. The story will dovetail into the next issue of Nightwing as Dick finds himself playing Wyrm’s game to save two hostages. I’m excited to see where it goes.
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GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.