NIGHTWING #21 REVIEW: Cost of Living

by Jeremy
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Cost of Living

I’ve been loving what Higgins (former writer of Gates of Gotham and current writer of Nightwingand Booth (former artist on Wildstorm series Backlash and current penciler for Detective Comics and cover artist for Earth 2, Superman Unchained and Justice League of America’s Vibe) have been delivering on Nightwing. This is only the third issue in Chicago, and it already feel like Dick has come further as a character than he did in the first nineteen issues of this series. On his ongoing quest to find his parents’ killers, Dick ran into trouble with  Prankster last issue, and the issue ended with Nightwing in an apparent deathtrap forced to choose between his life and his secret identity. Let’s get to it.

Does Nightwing turn the tables on the Prankster and have the last laugh or is the only joke in this book the fact that we all pain three bucks to read it?

In this issue, Nightwing partners with Prankster and we learn more about Chicago crime.

Strange Bedfellows

It is possible I might be falling in love with Kyle Higgins because as this arc continues to get better and better, I find that I have warm fuzzies in my heart when I think of him.

Everything in this issue is awesome! I mean, really, it’s just that good. I’m finding it hard to pick things apart because there is almost nothing bad and I don’t want to spoil anything that is good, but you came here to read a review, so let’s kick it.

In the first few pages, we learn more about why there are no superheroes in Chicago, and it goes in a direction I did not expect. I figured the story would be something along the lines of the corrupt mayor trying to get rid of those rascally heroes who always ruin his plans, but instead, we find that there is a villain who has, it appears, murdered all the heroes one by one. We get a view of the murder of one of these heroes, and I have to say that the fall of this one poor guy, Slipshift, was done amazingly well because I felt much more for his death than I did for the death of Catwoman. In but a few pages, I felt like a sort of knew this guy, and to see so much promise and heroism cut down casually was, well, brutal, yet it fit perfectly for what this story intended.

What about Nightwing? Well, if you’ve been wanting to see some high quality Dick action, then you’ve come to the right place. This issues delivers a great version of Grayson on both a fighting and personal level. If you read this and don’t find yourself thinking something along the lines of, “That’s right! You don’t mess with Nightwing!” then you must just not be a Nightwing fan because this should really hit the spot for any Dick lovers. Though personality is probably more important than fighting prowess, I have to say the fight actually sticks out to me more in this issue because Grayson has often performed so poorly in his own DCNU series. The ultimate example of this is his fight with Paragon where Dick nearly had his clock cleaned and his body bisected by a complete noob. This comic goes a long way in redeeming the prior poor treatment of Grayson’s abilities.

Putting aside the fight for a moment, this issue continued to develop Prankster into a respectable opponent. Prankster is clearly the physical inferior, but he still seems like a very credible threat because of his indirect means of attacking Nightwing. If Higgins can think of some more ways such as the hacking of Nightwing’s HUD to give Prankster an edge, then this is a villain I hope to see time and time again.

Bat Droppings

1. The way Slipshift died was a little awkward. I have no problem with him dying while phased into the wall; that is actually fitting and poetic, but rather, he did not seem to crumple to the ground after dying. Truth be told, I’m still not sure if he was supposed to have died there or if he crawled on to slip and shift another day. Perhaps we’ll find out later.

Spoilers until Conclusion

2. Tony Zucco is turning out to be a much more fascinating character than I ever would have guessed. I have no clue as to where Higgins is going with this. You do not go from sociopath to family man. It simple does not happen.

3. I was sure I knew the identity of the Prankster. I was so sure that I guessed multiple people multiple times. Turns out Higgins threw us off in the most old fashioned of ways…by making Prankster a character we had not previously seen. It might feel cheap to some, but Higgins never said it was a preexisting character, so all’s fair. Also, I still wonder if Prankster might have a connection to one of Dick’s roommates.

Conclusion 10/10

I freakin’ loved this issue. I try not to give 10’s out very often, but if I’m not going to give it after the third absolutley excellent issue of series in a row, then when am I going to give it? This is an extremely good arc.

Jeremy is a a collaborator for DKN, but he also has his own Batman site called You can check him out there as well. See his other Batman book reviews down below of your favorite Batman universe characters.


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