Review by Frank Plowright
After the disappointment of Nightwing Must Die, Tim Seeley reverts to a simpler style of storytelling and the result is a more effective and enjoyable graphic novel.
In the fondly remembered earlier incarnation of Nightwing, Dick’s greatest enemy was Blüdhaven crime boss Blockbuster, who’d developed a serum enabling his transformation into giant, but near mindless super strong brute. His brother now has the serum, and is introduced as an enigmatic character first seemingly loyal to existing gang boss Tiger Shark, then working with Nightwing to bring him down. Which is the truth?
Why isn’t artist Minkyu Yung credited on the covers of these Nightwing graphic novels? This is the third consecutive graphic novel to which he’s contributed some very nice art, two chapters of the title story this time, for no cover credit. His is the sample art. He does produce the occasional sloppy figure, but has a solid sense of how to tell a story and he sells the emotional moments far better than the other artists Javier Fernández and Miguel Mendonça. Fernández is capable of a fantastically composed pin-up page, but too much of his other art lacks that imagination. Mendonça sometimes twists his figures, but is otherwise an interesting artist. There’s an elegant simplicity to his civilian scenes coupled with the ambition to tell one of his chapters in spreads. This is essentially a chase sequence of one long race against time, and Mendonça impresses with it.
Since the opening volume Seeley has developed supporting character Shawn Tsang into someone Dick Grayson likes, and who we in turn also like. Her complex past returns in an interesting sub-plot, and so does Dick’s in the second story. In his previous Grayson series he first infiltrated, then worked for secret agency Spyral. It seems they’re not as well intentioned as we’ve been led to believe. Fans of the Grayson series will be pleased to see the expanded Spyral cast once again, and Seeley involves them in an engaging mission if read in isolation. However, both stories in this collection highlight that Seeley is all too willing to repeat aspects of his plots. Readers of the previous Nightwing Must Die could feel it was too soon to use the idea of stolen identities yet again, and the Blockbuster story echoes Raptor’s manipulation in Better Than Batman. Talking of Raptor, Seeley’s run on Nightwing wraps up with Raptor’s Revenge. Blockbuster‘s content can also be found in hardback as Nightwing: Rebirth Deluxe Edition Book 2.