***WARNING: This review contains major spoilers***
Early evening: Ric and his new girlfriend, bartender Bea, walk and talk in one of Bludhaven’s snow-ridden parks. Bathed in pale, streetlamp light, Ric ruminates about the recent incident with the Nightwings and Scarecrow as they talk about love (sort of) and tonight’s town hall meeting being held at the shelter Bea volunteers at. Ric sees Bea as a true superhero for all the heart she has.
It turns out that the town hall meeting is just for show, Councilman Pollard has no intention of stopping a sports arena being built in the King Park area, which will affect the shelter and all of the neighborhoods it services (including 40% of Bludhaven’s displaced families). Ric further admires his new love while a shadowy figure in the crowd looks on, grinning menacingly. Later, as the councilman is driven away from the meeting, his car is gunned down by an automatic-wielding Duela Dent.
Meanwhile, Bea leaves Ric to go to work, where Barbara Gordon awaits her. Essentially, Babs is checking in on Ric and vetting his new buddy. Bea assures her that he’s doing alright and that he needs space to find himself, and Babs reassures Bea that she and Ric were just good friends and co-workers that did “intense work”.
Detective Edwards (and I assume, the other Nightwings) is enjoying the freedom of her new vigilante persona, perhaps a little too much. Later, Detective Sapienza returns the keys to Ric’s burnt-out cab, intimating that he knows Ric helped him and the other Nightwings earlier. Sapienza asks if Ric would be willing to help the team out in the future, and Ric agrees.
Duela has abducted Councilman Pollard and essentially tells him that the homeless of Gotham took her in, saved her, and now she’s returning the favor. She dumps a bucketful of acid on his face and sends him (dazed and confused) into an upper-class restaurant. Once inside he shrieks, tosses aside his cloak to reveal that he’s armed with a suicide-vest!
Art: Moore’s work is really quite beautiful, as are Bonvillain’s colors. It’s really quite as simple as that. I know there are bigger names out there, but if I was writing a book, I’d do more than prick my ears if Travis Moore was interested, that’s for sure. I’m quite glad for it as well, since I feel the art quality previous issue was on par with a low for the run.
Writing: Though I’m a fan of the Nightwings, I’m really glad that Ric had been brought back down to earth. Just as far into the action as the last issue bent, this issue recoiled back into what has really made his recent arc special, which is Ric Grayson and his quest to see if happiness is enough for him in this new life. Lobdell knows this and is really taking reverent care with this run. Though I must say, this issue feels different, more focused and intimate than some of the most recent books in this arc. Bludhaven feels realistic and tangible, as do all of the character interactions and conversations; I don’t think I can down-play Kaplan’s part in this well-crafted issue.
The writing and art direction come together in a beautiful, transitional issue that makes me wish March 20th was tomorrow!
Nightwing #57: Heroes Without a Home
Writing - 9/109/10
Storyline - 8/108/10
Art - 9/109/10
Color - 9/109/10
Cover Art - 7/107/10
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