Writer: Peter Tomasi
Artist: Don Kramer
Inker: Jay Leisten
Story - Eminence Front
With Batman's "death" finally revealed (Spoiler Alert!!) all the Batbooks can officially say that Bruce is dead instead of him disappearing. So unlike the Two-Face story were Tomasi had to be a bit restrained of not spoiling what happens to Bruce's fate over in Final Crisis he can finally have Dick deal with the death of his father.
The beginning scene of Dick in the batcave, before the League of Assassins attack him, was a great opening scene with Dick staring at all the different versions of the Batsuit Bruce has(had). Tomasi and Kramer both did a great job with the writing and art (respectively) in that scene. They both did a great job capturing the deep sadness that Dick has with Bruce dead. The flashback scene to the candle ceremony was a great way to show how far back both Bruce and Dick go. And it was great seeing all the different versions of the Batsuit and it was cool seeing how the batsuit has changed over time, and if I am not mistakken one of the batsuits looked like the suit Bruce wore in Kingdom Come which is a nice Easteregg.
I will be interested to see what Alfred "final business" he was conducting for Brcue to be. It probably has to do with who will inherit Wayne Enterprises which will most likely be Dick since he is the only that can handle taking over Bruce's business. In any case this sub-plot will probably be dealt with in the next issue (final issue) of Nightwing.
The face off between Dick and Ra's Al Ghul was great to read. Don Kramer did a great job in all the action scenes in this issue. Kramer did a great job with the sword fight between Dick and Ra's and was one of the best sword fights I have seen in comics in a while. Tomasi definetely made the right decision to allow Kramer's art carry the story in some panels and pages were there was little or no dialogue.
While the sword fight was awesome, especially since Kramer drew the hell out of the fight, the discussion Dick and Ra's had could have easily been placed with both men standing in the cave around the Lazarus Pit or with both men sitting at a table. Tomasi's dialogue was that strong. Both Dick and Ra's discussion about Bruce's fate was a reasonable stance each one would have.
There is no doubt that Ra's is on the same level as Joker when it comes to Bruce's Rogue Gallery and it is understandable that Ra's would be pissed that he wasn't the one to kill Bruce. In many ways Ra's is right that Gotham should celebrate the death of Batman instead of having his death covered up by Nightwing, Robin, Oracle, and the rest of the Batfamily. And many long time Batman fans, like myself, will probably think the ways which is why Bruce's death in Final Crisis felt so cheap since he appeared for all of 3 pages and then died. For an icon in the level of Bruce's caliber he deserved much more than that, even if this "death" will only be for a couple years before Bruce eventually comes back.
At the same time Dick's assessment about the real reason Ra's is pissed is because Ra's knew no matter what plan Ra's could come up with he could never kill Bruce. And that fact is killing Ra's on the inside. It is probably how many of Batman's Rogue Gallery feel since they have tried for years to kill Batman only to have someone that is not a Batman villain be the one to kill him.
It was just awesome to see that Dick was able to go toe to toe with Ra's Al Ghul and is the first time that I have seen both men fight one on one. Tomasi has done a great job showing that Nightwing is able to go toe to toe with all of of Batman's Rogues and win. First there was Talia then Two Face and now Ra's. As a long time Nightwing fan it is great to see that Nightwing is finally given the respect he deserve by showing that he can take on anyone of the Batman's villains without the help of Batman himself.
Also throughout the fight I started noticing that Dick was acting a lot more serious in his fight with the League of Assassins and Ra's than he usually does. Usually Dick would joke around with the villains he fights to get them to make a mistake, similar to Spider-Man. But with each arc Tomasi has made Dick fighting style be more like Bruce in that he is looking for his enemies weakness a lot more than trying to make his enemies make mistakes. The same thing has been going on in Robin for Tim. Both have been taking all their fights more serious than before especially with Bruce gone. This probably will be addressed more in "Battle for the Cowl" were we will see both Dick and Tim along with the rest of the Batfamily take protecting Gotham a lot more serious due to Bruce's "death." This may create friction between everyone in the Batfamily since they will all have their own idea in how they should protect Gotham without Batman.
Story: 9.6/10 - Tomasi continues to do a great job on this title and the dialogue between Dick and Ra's was perfect in how each one views the death of Bruce.
Art: 9.2/10 - Kramer kicked ass with his artwork on this issue. He continues to draw excellent fight scenes and the sword fight was just awesome.
Overall: 9.4/10 - This title continues to be an excellent comic under Tomasi and Kramer and it sucks that there is only one issue left in this series.
Sunday, January 18, 2009