Review – Nightwing #57: Bludhaven vs. Gentrification

Comic Books DC This Week
Nightwing #57
Nightwing #57 variant cover, via DC Comics.

Nightwing #57 – Scott Lobdell, Zack Kaplan, Writers; Travis Moore, Artist; Tamra Bonvillain, Colorist


Ray – 5/10

There’s going to be a lot of upheaval on Nightwing in the next few months, as Zack Kaplan replaces Fabian Nicieza on Scott Lobdell’s plot for the next two issues and then Dan Jurgens jumps on to take the book in his own direction.

Of course, everyone is bound by the flawed “Ric Grayson” plotline, so the chances for success are limited.

But Nightwing #57 already shows some minor progress as Kaplan improves on the weak foundation. The best thing this issue does is a minor time-jump. “Ric”’s physical therapy is further along, he’s grown most of his hair back, and he and Bre are in a healthy relationship. While he doesn’t have most of his memories back, he seems more like Dick than he has since this storyline began.

But he’s still not Nightwing, and that means the team of cop Nightwings is still running around Bludhaven. Their leader, Sapienza, tries to recruit Ric to join the team but he declines.

Nightwing #57 interior page
At least Dick’s hair is looking better? Via DC Comics.

I’m less comfortable with the use of the Nightwings in the other subplot, where Detective Edwards solves the dead ends she reaches as a cop by breaking into the (admittedly vile) suspect’s home and beating a confession out of him. It reads a lot like a 1980s vigilante cop fantasy.

The issue falls apart when it tries to deal with politics, such as a ham-fisted gentrification plot. A councilman wants to close a homeless shelter to build a parking lot, and Bre and her allies are unable to stop him. But Lobdell’s pet character Joker’s daughter shows up, tortures the councilman, and turns him into a suicide bomb. It’s rare you see a plot that makes both sides look this cartoonish.

A segment involving Bre and Barbara Gordon bonding was surprisingly well done, but the issue as a whole is still full of flaws. Based on some of the dialogue, though, I would like to see Kaplan get a shot at his own DC comic.

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

Disclaimer: GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.

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