Let me start by saying, I am enjoying Nightwing. Overall the book is a bit of a mixed bag, but the bottom line is I am going to keep reading it, and I believe writer Kyle Higgins knows what he wants to do with Dick Grayson. If you have not been reading the series Higgins has re-introduced us to Grayson by bringing Haley’s Circus roaring back into his life. What Higgins really excels at here is reminding us how important Haley’s Circus and its people are to Dick. Whether it’s Raya, the love interest returned, and yet another redhead or Zane the former friend turned assassin broker, Higgins is giving us a story rife with personal history. 
The latest issue sees our hero traveling to Chicago to find Zane and investigate his possible connection to the assassin Saiko.  While we do not see much of Saiko in this issue, what we are coming to find is that he may be someone closer to Grayson than any of us realize, and it is certainly compelling. However, like I said before, it is a bit of a mixed bag. Higgins opens the book with a great flashback introducing us to Grayson’s friends and demonstrating the murdered Mr. Haley’s importance to him. But the entire time I was reading it I was distracted by the fact that the memory occurred only five years before. I am struggling to reconcile the idea that in five years Dick watches his parents die, gets adopted by Bruce Wayne, becomes Robin, becomes Nightwing, then Batman, and is now once again Nightwing. This is more DC’s fault than the creative team’s, but the reality is, reminding us it has only been five years only takes away from what Higgins is doing here.

Next we have his interaction with Zane. Again it has its pros in that Zane is introduced as someone who matters to Dick and someone who still cares for Haley’s Circus. Higgins even gives Zane a villainous background, powers, and a former handle, Feedback. But then comes the cons, Feedback uses his powers to subdue Nightwing by making him relive the death of his parents, and other hard moments. As much as this might have sounded great on paper, I think it took away from what could have been a much more powerful exchange between Zane and Dick themselves. This is someone that Dick grew up with, and has now become a villain, an assassin broker, possibly because Dick left the circus. I think exploring deeper into that would have proven more effective in relation to the rest of what Higgins is trying to do. It just the perpetual feeling that there is a really book that is plagued by small miscues and distracters.

The art by Barrows and Pansica is proving to be very good. They especially excel at putting Nightwing in his acrobatic glory against a landscape. The book has a very dark feel in both inks and colors and fits the tone of what the otherwise light hearted Grayson is dealing with. If I had any criticism it is that randomly there will be a face where the proportions are just really off. I think they stand out even more because there are so few of them and they are so comparatively bad in relation to all the other pages. In general the faces and expressions in this book are spot on. The detail that Barrows and Pansica put into some of these heavy moments, like Haley’s funeral or Dick being forced to relive his tragedies, really resonate. You can tell that they, like Higgins, want us to know how important this case and these moments mean to Grayson. Like the writing, the few miscues on the faces just prove to be distracters to what is otherwise fantastic work.
Overall, it is like I said I like this book and will keep reading it. I love the character of Nightwing and cannot wait to see where Higgins and the rest of the team take him. I think that using Haley’s Circus as the focus following the reboot is not only fitting, but powerful, I only hope that these small miscues do not continue and bring down an otherwise very good book.

By Jason Padua

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