Saturday, February 14, 2009

Nightwing #153 Review

Creative Team
Writer: Peter Tomasi
Artist: Don Kramer (main story) & Joe Bennett (Origins and Omens back up)
Inkers: Jay Leisten, Sandu Florea, Rodney Ramos
Colorist: Hi-Fi

Story - Black Dawn; Origins and Omens: Nightwing

After more than a decade worth of issues Nightwing is one of the books to fall in the wake of Batman RIP. And even after Battle for the Cowl is over Nightwing will not be part of the 8 "new" Batman titles that was announced in the Batman panel at NYYC (read here). So for me, as big Nightwing and Dick Grayson fan, this issue was bittersweet.

As someone that has been reading this series since the mini-series that preceded this ongoing series I couldn't ask for a better way to end this series. I think I can speak for many Nightwing fans when I say that this series was probably at its peak when Chuck Dixon started the series and since Dixon's run Nightwing has suffered from being average to just plain horrible, especially Devin Grayson's and Bruce Jones runs on this title. Even though I enjoyed most of Marv Wolfman's run on this title Wolfman's run was cut a few issues to short so the enjoyment of that run lost some steam at the end. So because this series has been average for so long it has made this run by Tomasi even more special. Since Tomasi started his run on this title he has treated us with what may be the definitive version of Nightwing and the Dick Grayson character as a whole. But as always DC sticks it to Nightwing that as soon as we have a great run going this title is canceled as I said before.

Still even though this was a bittersweet issue for this was still a fantastic way to end an ongoing series. This issue was probably the best final issue of an ongoing series.

I have noticed around on other comic blogs and websites that one of the things some people have not liked about Tomasi's run is that he has had guest stars, outside the Batfamily, appear in almost every issue. I have actually really liked this aspect of Tomasi's run. For a long time most writers of Nightwing have always tended to ignore the fact that other than Superman the one character with the most connections in the DC Universe is Nightwing. It is one of the things that has annoyed me about the portrayal of Dick Grayson and thought him interacting with the JSA, Wally, Roy, and other DCU characters was a great touch. And even having the short interaction between Dick and Wally that reminds the reader that for as much as these two characters may not interact much, which is shocking to me, that they are best friend.

It was a good thing that Tomasi addressed the fact that now with Bruce gone it is important for Tim that both Dick and Alfred are around. Without Dick or Alfred around Tim would probably end up turning into another Bruce maybe even darker. The poor kid has had his dad, his two best friend, old girlfriends, various teamates, and now his adopted father all die in the span of a few years that it would make anyone go over the edge. So for Tim not to go over the deep end, especially with his current state of denial over Bruce's "death," that Dick act like the big brother Tim needs right now.

I have to give also give Tomasi a lot of credit for remembering that Crime Alley is not actually alley but a nickname to the street Bruce's parents were murdered at Park Way. It is a good call back to Batman: Year One. Though this will probably a one-shot deal since all the other Batman writers will continue to be an alley called Crime Alley instead of a street Park Way. Still it was cool thing to see that Tomasi recognize this fact even though it will revert to the way it was.

Also the last scene were we see Dick, as Nightwing, go back to Park Way to renew the oath he took back when he first became Robin with the same candle he Bruce used for the original oath was a powerful scene. Don Kramer just knocked it out of the park with that scene with his art. It makes the reader remember that Dick started his career in the same manner that Bruce did with the death of his parents at a very young age. It helps to restate the fact that Dick is the successor to the mantle of the Batman even though he and Bruce have many difference between them it is only right that Dick take over his father's place as Gotham's protector.

Overall I have not liked the Origins and Omens backup story since I think it is just a cheap plug to promote Blackest Night, when that big event does not need any promotion to begin with. Though I'll say the story of Dick giving Barbara her birthday present was a nice sweet moment between both characters and will probably excite many Dick/Barbara shippers. Also the last page had a lot of ominous things for Dick's future in Battle for the Cowl and after which should be interesting which ones are just preview of something that may happen and which one of them will actually happen.

Issue Rating
Story: 10/10 - Tomasi couldn't have capped off his run on this title in any other fashion. His take on the Nightwing and Dick Grayson character will be hard to match for other writers since he gave us the definitive version of the character.
Art: 9.6/10 - Don Kramer provided some excellent art and he did a great job conveying the various emotions of Dick, Tim, and Alfred. The only problem with the art is that we had an inker by committee in this issue though it did not have any major inconsistencies there were a couple panels were it was noticeable.
Overall: 9.8/10 - Nightwing #153 was a great read and a great way to end the series. It also does a good job setting up the Batfamily for BFTC and has me actually excited to see what happens in the event. Kudos Tomasi and Kramer for ending this series the way it should.