Nightwing #49 – Benjamin Percy, Writer; Amancay Nahuelpan, Artist; Nick Filardi, Colorist
Ray – 8/10
Corrina: Race For the God
Ray: The word is out now – Ben Percy is leaving after this issue, with the upcoming Nightwing #50 being his last issue before being replaced by Scott Lobdell for a story focusing on a brain-damaged Nightwing who has lost all his memories of being a superhero. It seems about as far afield from everything Percy has been doing as possible, so this is likely another case of DC editorial getting in the way of a good run.
I haven’t enjoyed everything Percy has done in his run, but it’s been improving and this high-speed arc has been one of his high points. The last issue saw Dick, blackmailed by the mysterious Wyrm, entering a mysterious high-stakes motorcycle race for the right to gain a boon from an ancient Celtic oracle – which he was going to use to hack in Wyrm’s plan to gain the freedom of his friends. Complicating this plan was the presence of some of his deadliest villains including Professor Pyg and Flamingo – as well as a certain masked assassin by the name of Silencer.
The plot in this issue is pretty thin, at least at the start. Dick and Silencer are propelled from one combat scene to another, as Flamingo and Pyg attempt to kill them. Although Dick and Silencer begin as rivals, it soon becomes clear that Honor is actually there on a mission to protect him, and they become allies. Percy does a good job with Silencer, although she’s far away from her family and status quo.
It’s a good dynamic, and I’m glad to see some of the better New Age of DC Heroes making their way into the larger DCU – I don’t think anyone is clamoring for Damage to show up to fight Superman, though. Eventually, the also-rans are dispatched and Dick claims his place in the winner’s circle. He finds himself in a tricky spot, with only one question to act and a corrupt mission, but he figures out a clever way to buy himself the time he needs to figure out Wyrm’s plan and keep his friends safe for now. The issue is…none of this will likely be resolved unless Percy pulls a very hasty fix in the next issue. That makes this issue a fun but ultimately unsatisfying read.
Corrina: This is such an odd plot. Something out of the Silver Age, though that story would have one god (maybe Bat-Mite) interfering in Dick’s life, forcing him into this race, which ends with a talk with a Celtic god. But, as it is, the tech and mythic figures don’t quite gel.
However, the characterization of Nightwing is excellent, especially in the way he reacts to Silencer. This is Dick, someone who gives people a chance and listens to them before passing judgment. Silencer, too, is good, with realizing she can trust our hero. I’m not sure what will happen to her in the long run (though I would bet her family will not survive because this is the gritty era of DC again) but, like Ray, it’s good to see her as part of the wider DCU.
As for what comes next, I can only shake my head. DC tried to kill off Nightwing before, in Infinite Crisis, but changed their minds. This head injury seems to be a way to change his personality to either sideline him or make him grim’n’ gritty like the rest of the Bat-kids. Soon, he’ll be torturing villains in the basement like Damian. :sigh:
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Disclaimer: GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.