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Review: Nightwing #29

Overview: Nightwing, Robin, Green Arrow, Harley Quinn and Killer Croc continue there way to Challenger Mountain and confront a superpowered Mr. Freeze.


Editor’s Note: This issue is part of the Gotham Resistance crossover between Teen Titans, Nightwing, Suicide Squad and Green Arrow which started last week and continues for the next three weeks. 


Synopsis (spoilers ahead): The story opens with a flashback to Arkham Asylum with the Batman Who Laughs freeing Mr. Freeze and giving him a metal playing card, promising to give him powers to create whatever he desires.  The story then cuts to the present where Nightwing has met up with Robin, Green Arrow, Harley Quinn, and Killer Croc in a wintery section of Gotham City and this newly formed team takes on a frost giant, which is taken down by an automated Gotham train.  Robin notices that the wound on Nightwing’s forehead that he sustained from Deathwing using Simon Hurt’s black blade has reopened.  Nightwing explains that the wound reopened after he dealt with the Justice League in the Amazon in Dark Nights: Metal #2 and explains that he has been following a silver orb which has lead him to Gotham City.


Meanwhile, the Teen Titans and Suicide Squad meet in another part of Gotham City and have a brief standoff while the Batman Who Laughs’ demonic versions of Robin loom in the darkness.  The Teen Titans and Suicide Squad are in the midst of calling a truce when they are overwhelmed by an army of Demonic Robins.


Back in Mr. Freeze’s section of Gotham, as Mr. Freeze and his Frost Giants close in on Nightwing and the rest of the group as they find a recently added Court of Owls Statue.  They hit the statue and find refuge inside what turns out to be a Court of Owls armory full of Nth Metal weapons.  Nightwing and Robin almost come to blows over Robin’s impatience in their progress in finding his father, with Robin being restrained and then embraced by Nightwing, who reassures him that they will find Batman.  Nightwing and the others then use the weapons in the armory to defeat Mr. Freeze and his Frost Giants.  Nightwing has a vision of Barbatos being released as his forehead continues to bleed. The story then ends with the demonic Robins overlooking a now demonized Teen Titans and Suicide Squad.


Analysis: As with most major comic events, the series goes on hiatus to participate in a multi-book crossover, and does so with mixed results.  There’s a lot of big ideas presented in this issue.  I like how Nightwing’s encounter with Simon Hurt and Deathwing tie into what’s going on, which is appropriate as it all leads back to the big bad of the Metal storyline, Barbatos.  I also enjoy the call-backs to the Court of Owls storyline, with Dick dealing with the fact that he was being prepared to serve as a weapon to the Court of Owls who now also factor into the larger Metal Story.   The problem is that these very interesting concepts aren’t given the room they need to breath and come across and rushed afterthoughts.  Nightwing’s involvement in this story and the cut on his forehead opening up are explained quickly as having occurred off panel between two different books, which is also frustrating.  It seems like the story is building towards Nightwing playing a larger role as the story continues, and it would have made for a much stronger issue if the book had focused on its title character instead of rushing through the issue.


The overall tone of the book feels very rushed, with Seeley presumably having to cover a lot of ground to bridge the gap to the next book in this crossover.  I don’t feel that the Court of Owls armory was adequately explained and find it to be a bit too convenient that the team finds a room full of weapons just as they are surrounded.   Robin and Nightwing have a nice moment mid book where Nightwing reassures him that they will find Batman, but its relegated to a few brief panels and looses much of its impact.  The super powered Mr. Freeze is a bit too reminiscent of the Night King from Game of Thrones in my opinion.  Its not badly done, but it feels a bit derivative and frankly I’ve seen it done better elsewhere.  On the positive side, the Batman Who Laughs and his demonic Robins are interesting and creepy and are a compelling villain to focus on and are a good choice as the overarching villain of this crossover.


I fail to see any reason why Nightwing is wearing a different costume in this issue and reminds me something out of a 1990’s Batman action figure line (Arctic Blast Nightwing)? My one main gripe about this outfit is the lack of Nightwing wearing gloves but I admit that’s more me being a colossal nerd then it actually being a problem.


The art is fairly well handled.  Pelletier has to do a lot of heavy lifting in this issue with all the different characters and most part does it successfully.  There are a few panels where Pelletier renders Nightwing and the rest of the group in silhouette that seems a bit odd to me but that is a minor gripe.


Final Thoughts: I’m not generally a big fan of tie-in issues as they take away from the larger story and usually end up feeling like a cash-grab.  There are, however, some legitimately good ideas and interesting concepts in this issue and I find myself frustrated that they weren’t more of a focus of the issue.   While I wish the creative team had executed things a different way, this crossover has me interested enough to want to read to see what happens next.


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