Freefall (Nightwing #36 Comic Review)

A shadow has fallen over Bludhaven, a figure from Dick’s past has come back haunt him, amid mounting pressure from city hall Nightwing wonders if he’s really doing the right thing. Behind it all stands one man, The Judge!

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Title: Nightwing #36 “Left for Dead!”
Writer: Sam Humphries
Artist: Bernard Chang
Publisher: DC Comics

What You Need to Know:

People are dying in Bludhaven, somehow Mayor Madrigal has twisted public opinion in his favor, casting the blame on Nightwing. Meanwhile, the Judge has been carving a bloody swath over Gotham’s Dirty Cousin, (a nickname I made up just now for the ‘haven) and the former boy wonder feels he is the one to blame. (for reasons that haven’t been explained to us yet, dunno) Somehow the Judge is controlling people using gold poker chips, most notably forcing Detective Svboda (Nightwing’s reluctant police contact) to mindlessly shoot the superhero and throw him off a building, will Nightwing survive?! Of course! But we find out how on page 2, and it’s a real shocker!

What You’ll Find Out:

We open on the Mayor’s office, he is watching a video of him decrying Bludhaven’s vigilante, he talks to someone on the phone in a subservient manner. When he hangs up a dark figure wearing golden glasses comes in, the Judge wants to make a deal.

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We cut to Nightwing, still in freefall from Svboda’s gunshot, obviously, no one trained by the Batman is gonna go out like that. He catches himself, landing on a casino awning. His vitals are crashing and he starts to black out, he activates his suits built in defibrillator and we cut to black.

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Meanwhile, at the docks Guppy is meeting with some criminals he helped with a minor caper. They’re discussing the take from the job, Guppy wants an even share but the other guys treat him like crap, this was heartbreaking. (Sam Humphries don’t you DARE Ballad of Kite Man shark boy! I can’t go through all that again! sidebar: HELL YEAH)

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My actual expression after reading this page

We jump back to Nightwing (his name is on the cover after all, although I kinda want to see more Guppy) He is storming St Jude’s Cathedral, for some reason he bursts through a stained glass window. Inside he finds 20 or so dead monks, killed by one of their own, in his hands is a golden poker chip…

Just what in the name of what is going on?1 You should buy the issue for yourself and find out, the ending is a serious game changer! Pick up a copy at your local comic book store today!

What Just Happened?

Plot:

Holy craaap this book got kinda awesome last couple issues, sorry Tim Seely this creative team is KILLING IT! (no disrespect intended, of course, I freaking loved your run too) I am loving the Judge as a villain, he’s got all the things that make a good baddie, charismatic, neat glasses/ beard combo, some form of mind control (?) also I bet he talks in a southern accent or something, I kind of picture him like the early portrayal of the Mandarin in Iron Man 3 before that movie turned to total crap. (like, 6 minutes in, as soon as Killian is introduced I get visibly angry and can’t calm down until the house party protocol kicks in)

I do like the way they’re playing The Judge up as a bad guy from Dick’s past, which is interesting because usually I despise that storytelling tactic (one of these days I’m gonna make a list of all the books set “right after Batman Year One” I can name 5 off the top of my head) in this instance I feel like it’s working, although partially because they haven’t pulled it with Nightwing nearly as many times as with some other DC heroes, likely because we’ve followed him closely since he was 8 I assume.

I seriously love the Guppy stuff, it really is starting to feel like what Tom King did with Kite Man. Stuff like this is why I miss b-side stories, it was a great opportunity to write a couple page story for a lesser known character. (for instance the stellar Killer Croc b story from Detective 810-812, incredible insight into the character) storytelling like this doesn’t come along often anymore.

I do have a couple minor nitpicks but nothing damning seems like Nightwing is turning into Batman a bit. Also, the scene where Nightwing jumped through the window I read the page several times and seriously could not find a concrete reason he blew through the window like a maniac. Just a thought, although maybe the Judge is getting to him more than he thinks.

Art:

Man, this book is a ten times better fit for Bernard Chang than Batman Beyond, I like a lot of the BB art, but Chang’s style clashes at times in that series I feel. The Judge and Guppy look great and Nightwing in the air looks amazing. I really like the way Chang portrays wide sweeping shots like Nightwing falling and the last page of the issue.

Rating: 8/10


Final Thought:


I am loving this book lately, the previous creative team was great but this first arc from the new creative team is shaping up to be a memorable one. Fingers crossed this momentum keeps up, this is how you hook and build an audience. I have a great feeling about this run.


 

If anyone ever wants to contact me, look me up in my group for the love of comic books , I also have several comic pages dedicated to my various true loves, BatmanSpider-manMarvelOldie Goldies and Hats! (Long story on that last one haha) or on Twitter @johnbatusijack

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