This is absolutely the best issue of Nightwing that I have read so far within the New 52. I say that without reservations and regrets, as it is something I realised while I was reading it, after I finished reading it, and then as I re-read it as well. And you know what’s even more strange? Not a lot happens. The vast majority of this issue is flashbacks and thoughts, this issue becoming more of a tribute to Nightwing’s legacy and heroics according to the New 52 continuity, which although it is less than 3 years’ worth of stories, villains and memorable moments, is still incredibly rich, engaging and will no doubt form a beautiful elegy for Nightwing for the fate he will suffer as a result of Forever Evil, as well as a fantastic swan song for writer Kyle Higgins who has written Nightwing since the New 52’s inception. I’ve said it before, DC, and I will keep on saying it. Please don’t kill Nightwing (and if you do, bring him back really quickly).
The issue follows directly on from #28, as Jen has run off to confront her parent’s murderer: Victor Zsasz. The actual opening page does not contain this at all, however, as it instead shows us the scene of a distraught, young Dick Grayson at the scene of his parents’ murder at the hands of Tony Zucco. This is the first of many black-and-white-and-red flashback scenes, which are spread throughout the issue depicting a chronological account of Dick’s key moments and battles as he narrates them. We see him as Robin at Batman’s side, fighting Harley Quinn and Scarecrow as the Joker gets away, a great, classic comic-book scenario. Next his battle with Saiko/Raymond and the aftermath of it, which features a great side-by-side section of artwork of Raymond. Following this is my favourite page of the book, as we see Nightwing battle the Talon, and he wonders what he could have become if he was indoctrinated into the Court of Owls, complete with a Nightwing-Talon mashup costume which will probably blow fans’ minds. We then see the events of Death Of The Family unfold, and then are pulled smoothly back into reality as Dick saves Jen from Zsasz, and then we see that Dick’s narration was actually him speaking to Jen, comforting her and telling her that he truly does understand. This makes beautiful sense as Jen is a mirror of Dick, the major difference between them being that Dick recovered by donning a garishly-coloured costume and fighting crime next to a man dressed like a bat, while Jen (far more healthily) heals by being given a reminder that things “will get better”. Issue #29, while being brief, really is quite touching in places, as we can see Dick revisit his dark past and then still be comforting and casual, just like the optimistic and youthful character he is.
This issue also contains a very nice and conclusive twist; I mentioned in my previous issue’s review that one aspect of Dick’s story was tied up in a way which was very abrupt, but I still felt as if it was satisfying. Well, let’s just say we get a conclusion that I am sure many readers wanted instead. Incidentally, I was not really a fan of Russell Dauterman’s artwork before this issue, but this issue has truly swayed me into loving his energetic, modern and youthful style.
Overall, a fantastic issue. It truly is a shame that we’re only getting one more.
Reviewed by Josh Clayton