Writer: Tim Seely / Artist: Javier Fernandez / DC Comics
After the quick turn of events and plot from last issue where Raptor took Bruce Wayne (knowing he was Batman and Nightwing’s mentor) captive to force Nightwing’s hand. We are finally shown Raptor’s connection to Nightwing’s mother, Mary Lloyd. All in all, Raptor’s backstory is fascinating, even if his motivations are less so. Raptor having a bone to pick with the privileged and 1% like The Waynes is an about face from the mercenary that was consumed with his branding previously. And I guess it’s possible all of that was for show, but then it leaves us with the notion that we really don’t know who the Raptor is after spending a long time with him. None of this is a dealbreaker however, as this book features probably the best fight sequences of this series thus far. Nightwing, as a construct has almost always been about the first mentee of Bruce Wayne and what that meant for how he would be similar to or differ from Bruce Wayne. Seely offers a worthy interpretation of their relationship and what separates Nightwing from Batman, while drawing Batman and Raptor back together, fulfilling the promise that book opened with.
With the heavy focus on action, this may have been Fernandez’s best issue thus far. There’s a weight to each blow and counter between the two fighters, but also a look of malice that washes over Nightwing that only are we not used to seeing, but is wholly appropriate for this issue. Nightwing has ascended, but not without some cost by way of tutelage under the Raptor and the art really makes that stand out.
The Rise of the Raptor arc seems done for now, which means that Nightwing is probably off to a new adventure next issue. Which is ok, the character’s immediate future seems to be in good hands with Seely.