By Tim Seeley, Javier Fernandez, Chris Sotomayor, Carlos M Mangual
Nightwing is back on top, where he belongs…
After last the last issue, I was a bit worried Seely was losing steam with this new arc. Happily, that issue seemed more of a rest before another sprint of high-flying action and cape fun.
Nightwing and Raptor spend the majority of this in a maze. Figuratively and literally, they’re faced with a multitude of paths to follow and danger surrounds them. Seely really ups the ante with this issue as Nightwing and Raptor are forced to act against the Parliament of Owls now that they can reveal all of their secrets and hobble their organization. The whole time the head Owl in charge chases them through the maze as they try to escape back to “the real world” Accidental or otherwise, the Greek myth homage is well-taken. Heck, Nightwing even mentions Theseus who is believed to have killed the Minotaur. Even after they escape, the actual “victory” is left in doubt as Raptor is shown getting a reward for his actions while Dick is left angry with Bruce for failing to acknowledge what he went through to complete his mission. It’s all in character and continuity, and done without getting too sappy or too goofy. It’s that nice middle where Nightwing dances so well.
With all the action and drama, Fernandez has plenty to visualize for us on art along with Sotomayor and it is a treat. It actually does look like the Greek myth of the Maze of the Minotaur, with Raptor and Nightwing entering this underground place and running from a crazy monster. The movements of the heroes are very fluid, their faces packed with emotion as they run for their lives, encompassed by this awesome architecture that rich douchebags paid for. Fernandez’s art here reminds me a bit of Greg Capullo’s early Batman art, where Batman was running through the maze under Gotham from a Talon. Either way, Fernandez, like Seely, pulls out all the stops.
I commend Seely’s plotting on this arc, even if there’s a bit more to go. Each issue feels self-contained but part of a larger narrative in a very natural and unobtrusive way. Technically five issues in (counting the #0 issue, everyone always forgets those), and the story hasn’t felt drawn-out at all. Let me put that another way, five issues in and I’m still not sick of this series yet. Yes, I wanted more from the previous issue but this series remains one of the best that DC’s publishing right now. It’s as fresh and exciting as it was scant weeks ago and many other DC books couldn’t make that claim. It’s series like these that make me glad they come twice a month. Now as long as that crossover doesn’t derail things…
Rating: Poor, Fair, Good, Great, Excellent