Nightwing #52 // Review
The latest issue of Nightwing finds Dick Grayson--still calling himself Ric Grayson--dealing with the loss of his memory after taking a bullet to the head. However, while the past few issues of Nightwing have shown promise, in Nightwing #52, cracks in the storyline, plotted by Scott Lobdell and scripted by Fabian Nicieza, are starting to become more noticeable, and, while the art by Chris Mooneyham is decent, it does seem dated.
Dick is upset by how easily he took down a would-be mugger as the issue begins. While he doesn’t remember his life as Nightwing, it is clear that his instincts and quick reflexes are still all there. Meanwhile, feeling that Bludhaven is still in need of a protector, Detective Sapienza has decided to recruit a new group of Nightwings, using a set of old Nightwing costumes and gear that he located in Dick’s former hideout. While all of this is going on, Scarecrow is on the loose somewhere in Bludhaven and starting to cause havoc.
Now in its third issue, the “Knight Terrors” storyline’s plot holes are becoming more glaring. For instance, Dick Grayson doesn’t remember his time as Nightwing, but he does remember being a member of the Flying Graysons. When Dick takes a wrong step and begins falling off of a roof, the skills he learned as an acrobat save his life. But, a few panels later, when he tries a simpler jump, he ends up falling to the street below. Readers are then left to wonder why someone who should remember his acrobatic training can’t judge his jumps.
The pacing by Lobdell and Nicieza also leaves much to be desired. This issue has multiple plot points working at the same time, and yet nothing really seems to happen. Dick Grayson spends most of the issue brooding and squatting in the house of an old lady. The new group of Nightwings are introduced, and then essentially the whole plot point is dropped a page later. Even an attack by the Scarecrow doesn’t get more than a couple of pages before being dropped.
All of this together makes it pretty clear that Lobdell and Nicieza have bitten off more than they can chew here. Had they spent time exploring even one of the plot points in depth, readers would probably come away with the sense of some progress in the story. Instead, they’re left waiting for another issue for anything to happen.
The artwork in the issue is competent. Mooneyham has continued to paint a world that feels dark and brooding. The characters all show a good sense of motion, which allows the few scenes where the characters are doing something to flow. The character design, though, seems a little off. The look of the book, for some reason, is reminiscent of comics from the late 90s or early 2000s, rather than something more recent. Normally, this would likely not be an issue, but with so little going on in the issue, it’s hard to miss.
Nightwing #52 seems like a missed opportunity in the “Knight Terrors” storyline. This is unfortunate, because there seemed to be so much promise here. Instead, Lobdell and Nicieza get caught trying to work with too many plots at the same time. Hopefully, they will begin to tighten things up in the next few issues.