“Nightwing Must Die,” Part 01
Writer: Tim Seeley
Artist: Javier Fernandez
Minor spoilers ahead
Nightwing is back with a brand new arc and I just can’t stop singing praises for this series. “Nightwing Must Die” kicks off here in issue 16 after the shadowy appearance of who I believed to be Deathwing at the end of issue 14 and the abduction of Shawn last issue. Well, the ending of this issue confirms that my suspicions were correct and Deathwing is back! Honestly, I have been excited at the prospect of Seeley handling this character for a long time, and to finally get the full reveal this issue felt perfectly timed and well executed.
Lately, I have been noticing a trend amongst the Rebirth titles: they are getting really real. Last issue of Nightwing in particular hit a little too close to home for me, but at the same time, it was the right tone for what the series needs moving forward; as Dick’s relationship with Shawn progresses and grows, so should the series, and I admire the fact that this is the mindset that Seeley seems to have going into this new arc. Much like last issue, this one wasn’t scared to bring up the bigger issues, like Shawn getting pregnant and the fall out of that. I have to admit: I did not see that one coming. But right from the word go, I knew that Shawn and Dick would date and it would go badly – last issue cemented that for us quite strongly. But this new arc appears to have a deeper meaning than to just use Shawn as bait or a leveraging chip on the part of Deathwing.
Speaking more on Deathwing – most notably, his appearance. He seems to be sporting the suit that Dick wore in the New 52 Nightwing series, and this is interesting for a number of reasons. First of all, does this new foe have any prior connections to Dick? Well, yes and no, going off of the characters history. I won’t delve too deep into it now – mostly because I have never actually read a comic featuring Deathwing before; I have only heard the legends – but Comic Vine has a wonderful article that helped me get up to speed. Whether or not Seeley is following the original origin or crafting his own, I am beyond excited to see where he goes with this latest plot development.
On the art side of things, we have the brilliant Javier Fernandez returning and bringing his wonderful style to the table yet again. I also can’t go on without mentioning the variant for this issue: crafted by Ivan Reis, Oclair Albert and Sula Moon, this is a callback to the first issue of Batman and Robin (2009) which also featured Dick as Batman and Damian as Robin, making their interaction and eventual team-up in this issue even more exciting and nostalgic. The original artist of this cover was Frank Quitely, and he is in fact given credit on this variant in the form of “After Quitely” down in the bottom right. For anyone who may not have seen the original work, you can check it out below.
Seeley and his team have a long term and invested fan in me. The more I read this series, the more I grow excited for what is to come, and tying this arc to “Blüdhaven,” I can’t hide how happy I am. The feeling I get reading Seeley’s work is what made me fall in love with comics in the first place; familiarity, yet something entirely new and wonderful, and I don’t want that feeling to ever go away.
Images courtesy of DC Entertainment