Review by Ian Keogh
Chuck Dixon and Scott McDaniel weren’t the creative team who first supplied Nightwing in solo stories, but they were the creative team on his first ongoing series, and were the creative team nailed in place for five volumes, with Dixon continuing even further.
The creative direction is established in the opening pages as Dick Grayson moves away from Gotham and Batman to settle in Blüdhaven, described as being just down the coast from Gotham, and less convincingly, as an even greater cesspit. There’s a simplicity to Dixon’s form of action thriller, every chapter produced as if to a template that introduces Nightwing along with an investigation, a bit of tracking and then the action pages. If there’s been a cliffhanger ending to the previous chapter that’s resolved relatively rapidly before heading back into the formula again. It’s not ineffective, just repetitive.
A few colour comments are sifted in along the way, such as Dick having no traceable records, and the running joke of Dick never actually seeing his landlady, but the only intrusion that comes to anything concerns Blüdhaven police detective Dexter Soames. He’s mixed up in assorted criminal activities, but because Soames is a legitimate police officer Nightwing can’t use the same methods he’d use on others, while Soames is a trenchcoated bundle of enigmatic smugness.
McDaniel’s art is a mixed blessing. There’s effort made to provide excitement via the layouts, the designs and the detail, but the over-stylised figures and the confusing storytelling render the look very much of its 1990s era. McDaniel’s consistent, though. Anyone attracted to the art from the start will be satisfied throughout, with the reverse also applicable.
Due to Dixon’s relentless application of formula, it takes seven chapters to reveal the identity of the new crimelord afflicting Blüdhaven, and the repetitiveness is wearing thin by then, although credit is due for not selecting someone obvious. The best chapter is where there’s the variation of Robin dropping by, including a chat about how both he and Nightwing feel about Batman. Otherwise this is standard superhero crime without a lot to recommend it.