Writer: Tim Seely / Artist: Javier Fernandez / DC Comics
Despite my earlier trepidation about the first Nightwing Rebirth issue, the series has gotten better with each issue, revealing more about the mysterious Raptor (or Anti-Batman) and Nightwing who is drifting further from Batman’s morality scale. Dick is still on his double agent mission with his handler in the field, but this time joined by Batgirl who doesn’t appreciate being stood up in Japan while Nightwing was off doing the Robin Hood thing.
The addition of Batgirl is very needed as this easily could have turned into a overtly broad-shouldered and testosterone filled bro adventure. We’ve seen enough of that in the bat-family books. And while that may very well be the end result with Batgirl just swinging in for an issue, it still changed the character dynamic and helped push Nightwing back toward the light during this story. The mission is to infiltrate a trap house (no, not THAT kind of trap house, a house with mazes and whatnot) to retrieve some intel that hugely important to the Owls. What the issue does well, in addition to having Batgirl’s influence is to further deepen the complexity of Raptor. His end goal is not quite revealed and there’s always time for a double cross, but his methodology is layered and unexpected in how they may or may not align with Nightwing’s goals. This a very balanced issue, spending time with their characters and nurturing the nuance of their personalities while still moving the story forward as well.
The art is similar to last issue, but with a welcome addition of Batgirl to change up the character models we see most often. The different traps inside the home are appropriately visualized while seeming frantic and sudden in most panels. Overall a solid effort and befitting the story.
Nightwing continues to incrimentally get better, with a fellow Bat-Family member coming through to throw a curveball to the narrative. There seems to be a confrontation approaching with the Owls with Nightwing having to decide who he can ultimately trust when the fighting starts.