In part 2 of this story Nightwing finds himself in the Drexler Chemical warehouse surrounded by The Mad Hatter and his most recent group of mind controlled patsies. The Mad Hatter has seemingly tracked down the mysterious Marionette whom he believes to be his “Alice”. Meanwhile outside the warehouse Officer Maxwell Morgan and Dick’s roommate Michael are monitoring the building in an attempt to catch the “Kanium” thief. After a brief shootout, Nightwing manages to save Maxwell and Michael, and the trio along with Marionette escape to the rooftop.
After leaving the warehouse, Marionette in her own seductive way tells Nightwing about her psychotic condition and convinces him that it’s time for it to stop. Relying on his ability to assess facial recognition (or maybe his soft spot for trusting women) Nightwing agrees to help her put an end to her trouble by tracking down the Mad Hatter. Ultimately, Nightwing lets his guard down and allows Marionette to land a kick to his face. She takes off running only to steal more Kanium from Mad Hatter before disappearing. Nightwing realizes her true plan was to kill the Mad Hatter; however, upon reaching Mad Hatter he is hung from his coat and tells Nightwing that he has been tricked by Marionette.
Marionette steals the issue, as she is an intriguing character that offers a certain mystique. She is cunning and seductive and truly lives up to the covers text. She is able to control both Nightwing and Mad Hatter into frequently believing her as she uses them as pawns to manage her own agenda. While her true agenda is not yet clear, her mysterious personality helps move the issue along.
Of less importance, Higgins does another good job of building the character of Dick Grayson as you see him interact with “friends” outside of the bat family. Clearly the process of acclimating to a (somewhat) normal life is difficult. After so many years of seeing Dick exclusively interacting with heroes and villains it’s nice to see him building a relationship with people who know him only as Dick Grayson.
The unfortunate reality is that Nightwing is in a holding pattern as the events of Forever Evil play out. The book is taking place sometime before the major crossover storyline and continues to move at a slow meaningless pace. Higgins has done a terrific job over the last two plus years making Dick Grayson, both hero and human, a likeable character. The problem now is that while the individual issue is fun and fast paced, the story arc appears inconsequential given what is likely to occur in Forever Evil over the coming months.