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Review: Nightwing #29

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Nightwing 29 cover
Publisher: DC Comics
Writer: Kyle Higgens
Artist: Russell Dauterman
Release Date: 3/12/13

Kyle Higgen’s epic run on Nightwing comes to an end this week as Dick Grayson’s life hangs in the balance over in Forever Evil. While this is not the last issue (that will be next month’s issue 30 which will serve as an epilogue to the series and connect it to the events over in Forever Evil); it does seem to be an end of an era. For almost two and a half years, Higgens has been the scribe for Nightwing’s adventures; so it is fitting that he and artist Russell Dauterman end this chapter in Dick Grayson’s life.

WARNING: POTENTIAL SPOILERS

To quickly recap the events of last issue; the friends of one of Dick’s roommates were murdered, leaving their NTW-29-1-5e384daughter Jen an orphan. Adding to the chaos, Jen told Dick the murderer was Zsasz. And to make matters worse, Jen knows Dick is Nightwing (Note: this takes place BEFORE Forever Evil). And if that isn’t stressful enough, Jen has run off to look for Zsasz and kill him with Nightwing’s eskrima sticks. As Nightwing swings through the city, looking for Jen and Zsasz, he reflects on his life; the choices he made, what could have been, and the glorious adventure it has been. Jen finds Zsasz first, but thankfully Nightwing arrives in time to save her and to deliver a powerful beat down to the scarred thug. We then find that the interior dialogue is in fact a conversation with Jen as he promises to help her through the pain. And as the story wraps up, Nightwing sees a bright light on the horizon…..

Higgens takes a simple concept and makes it poignant and touching. He ties up several strings as he says “good bye” to Nightwing, as well as making us go into Dick’s psyche and see what has helped shape him into the man and hero he is. The interior monologue serves as a way to show what makes Dick Grayson tick. The flashback scenes are wonderfully complimented by Dauterman’s art, as is a look into what things would have been like if Dick had been taken in by the Court of Owls. It’s these scenes, as well as the final pages, that are the meat of the book, and it is done beautifully. The action scene, though secondary to the rest of the plot, is also well written, NTW-29-5-4c8dfwith plenty of suspense. In the end, it’s the fact that Dick can confide in someone that makes this beautiful.

Dauterman’s art, though with the occasional wonky face, is well done. Nightwing in action is energetic and powerful; and his art on the flashbacks ranges from terrifying to tragic to ultimately triumphant. The final shots, as Nightwing talks to Jen, are beautifully done; the rising of the son matching the new hope Dick has instilled in Jen and in himself. It’s almost bittersweet to know what happens next is not that bright.

Higgens said that he wanted to make the ultimate Nightwing tale. Though he was unfortunately cheated out of this by Nightwing’s importance in Forever Evil, his twenty-nine issue arc will go down as a major part of Dick Grayson’s history. While Dick will likely live and go on to more adventures, Higgens and the various artists he has worked with has helped solidify Dick Grayson’s history in the New 52, and his place in the DC Universe even more so. As a reader, a critic, and fan; I want to thank Kyle Higgens and the rest for taking us on Nightwing’s journey of discovery, vengeance, forgiveness, and ultimately hope. It makes it all the more bittersweet that we will not see this journey continue like it should.Ā We will always wonder what it would be like if Dick Grayson did not have to face a nightmare after having a radiant morning of hope.

 

FINAL SCORE: 10 out of 10

Take a bow, Dick
Take a bow, Dick
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