Review: Nightwing #51

Writer: Scott Lobdell & Fabian Nicieza
Artist: Travis Moore & Garry Brown
Colors: Nick Filardi & Hi-Fi
Letters: Deron Bennett
Review by Steve J. Ray

Summary

“KNIGHT TERRORS”: PART TWO.
We left Nightwing #50 with Dick (or should that be Ric?) Grayson starting to rebuild his life. After a bullet to the head wiped out 15 years of memories our hero has decided to go it alone in Bludhaven. His entire career as a crime-fighter has been deleted from his mind, but all the skill training, and physical memory are still there.

Positives

I know that this turn of events have divided fandom straight down the middle. I realise, and kind of understand, that many are upset as to how this great character, one of DC’s true legends, has been treated. For me, though, me the potential for new, fresh storytelling is extremely exciting.
Batman fans will obviously know, or have possibly even read the now legendary Knightfall / Knightquest / Knights End, arcs. You may remember that this is the story where Bane broke Bruce Wayne’s back? Bruce kept all his mental faculties, intelligence and strategy, but had to re-train his body and learn to fight again from scratch.
What’s happened to Nightwing is almost the complete opposite. After two incredible issues of Batman, that revisited the Dick Grayson/Bruce Wayne dynamic and relationship, KGBeast returned to Gotham and shot Nightwing in the head. All of his memories, his training his past, and his very identity were taken away from him, but he still has all his physical abilities. Think Bourne Identity, but with all the magic and flair that only comics can deliver. In this issue he gets backed into a corner, and physical memory takes over. He finds that he’s a total bad-ass… and he has no idea how, or why!
I love it when a comic-book can still surprise me, especially after over 40 years of reading them. Writers Scott Lobdell and Fabian Nicieza have taken a story that I was already invested in and and added in an element that I didn’t see coming. I don’t like giving away spoilers, but long-term Nightwing fans may remember Tad Ryerstad? Thankfully he’s not back, but if you remember who he is, then you may have an idea as to what may be on the horizon.

Negatives

This is a minor niggle, but a niggle nonetheless. Anyone who’s regularly been reading my reviews over the years will know that one of my bug bears is switching art teams mid-issue. Travis Moore is rapidly showing himself to be one of the most exciting artists in comics. His Nightwing has already become one of my all-time favorite versions of the character. Garry Brown is an extremely capable artist, but his style is so different to Moore’s that when the style switches it really is visually quite jarring.
Nightwing 50# balanced this in a clever way, by having Travis draw the events that are happening in the now, and Chris Mooneyham handling the flashback tale. This issue is all now, but Ric Grayson is a completely different looking dude from one page to the next.
Hi-Fi and regular Nightwing Hue Master Nick Filardi provide beautiful color art, and letterer Deron Bennett always provides quality work.

Verdict

I hope that the series settles down, and reverts to having one artist per issue, but as long as the stories continue to be of this standard, and the characters as well written and imagined, then I’m in for the long-haul. I’m going to miss Benjamin Percy’s voice on this series, but Lobdell and Nicieza are off to a promising start.
That final page has definitely piqued my interest!
Images Courtesy Of DC Entertainment
(This review was originally published on the DC Comics News website on October 18th 2018)

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