Kicking off a couple of days after the end of issue #22, issue #23 finds us following Nightwing as he brawls with a group of the Prankster’s thugs. This sees Higgins writing Nightwing in top form. From wisecracks to Nightwing’s fighting style, everything is true to Dick Grayson’s character. The first five pages of this issue is written exactly how Nightwing is meant to be written. It’s fun, it’s light hearted, yet, at the same time, it has a dark cloud hanging over the whole thing, all backed up by Will Conrad’s stellar pencils and Andrew Dalhouse’s stunning color work.
Over the next series of pages, Higgins flexes his muscles in terms of range, as it goes from a light hearted, fun Nightwing to a desolate, broken, hopeless Chicago. There’s a great contrast between the city and the character at this point, and Higgins seems to be playing that up. Much like Snyder has done in the main Batman title, he’s made the city a character unto itself. The book seamlessly transitions from the city to checking up on Dick’s two room mates, Joey and Michael. These two characters, especially Joey, have been underused so far, and sadly, that doesn’t change.
This then shifts into the book’s main story; kicking off in an old warehouse being investigated by the police, as it’s one of the Prankster’ hideouts. From here, it turns into (mostly) a straight up rescue story. It’s a little bit formulaic, but we get more of that lighthearted Nightwing that everyone should love. It’s a fun little story, though there isn’t a whole lot of depth to the parts concerning Nightwing.
Where there is depth is in the scenes with the mayor and Tony Zucco. There’s an interesting social commentary going on here, even if it is relegated to being a simple undertone. We also see Zucco become (somewhat) more humanized in this issue, as he watches his new life begin to crumple around him. A lot of this is set up for the next issue, which is labelled as being “The Final Showdown!”, but I’m fine with this set up. If set up were always this good, I’d have no problem with it.
Score: 8.9, Great
This is probably the weakest issue of Nightwing since he’s moved to Chicago. That begin said, the entire creative team is in top for, and they make set up look good. Kyle Higgins shows his range, going from fun to depressing and back again. There’s depth in this issue, but it isn’t necessarily revolving around Nightwing. In fact, it takes place in the more political side of the book, and it’s all very cool to see.