Review: Nightwing #112

“Iko” – Part Two, and “The Son of Gray” – Part Two
Writers: Tom Taylor and Michael W. Conrad
Artists: Sami Basri, Vicente Cifuentes, and Francesco Francavilla
Color Artists: Adriano Lucas and Francesco Francavilla
Letterer: Wes Abbott
Review by Steve J. Ray

Nightwing #112 concludes the two great stories that started last month. At the risk of sounding repetitive, (but what choice do I have, when every single issue of this series is just so darned good?) this comic was fantastic.

Last time we met Iko Wahid, a child left orphaned on the streets of Gotham City. Of course, heroes like Nightwing and his sidekick, Batman, would feel a personal connection to Wahid and, while he cares about the boy, the Dark Knight was never that great with the whole “console and comfort” side of things… enter Dick Grayson.

This two-part tale shows the differences between Nightwing and his mentor, while also strengthening their bond as crimefighting partners as well as as father and son. This is something Tom Taylor’s been brilliant at since he took over this series. The issue begins with a flashback to Dick’s early days in the Batcave, which is magnificent; in terms of pacing, dialogue, and art. We also get a really great scene with Batman and Beast Boy that could change how you see the (really not so) Dark Knight. It’s pure class.

An ongoing plot thread continues being pulled on, too. Why is Nightwing suddenly afraid of heights, and how can Batman help him? This is an ongoing issue that I’m dying to get to the bottom of, just as much as Dick, Babs, and Bruce are!

Sami Basri’s a wonderful storyteller, and with Tom and Bruno leaving this book after issue #118, he would be my first choice to take over as the regular artist. Who would I like to be the new writer? Keep reading, dear friends.

Basri’s pencils, Vicente Cifuentes’ inks, and Adriano Lucas’ colors are perfect. Light during humorous or deep character moments, and kinetic when the action’s in full effect. As always, Wes Abbott’s letters help the flow of both the narrative and visuals, as well as burst off the page with awesome onomatopoeia (AKA stupendous sound effects).

One thing that comics do brilliantly is to show us that some of the most vile human beings aren’t colorful clowns, or armor-clad, bazooka-brandishing assassins; they’re just normal, greedy, evil, everyday human beings. This brilliantly crafted two-parter gives us one of the very worst.

Michael W. Conrad and Francisco Francavilla also complete their dark, harrowing “Son Of Gray” two-parter this month. Damn, it’s good. I hate it when people call these stories “back-ups” because the tales in Nightwing have frequently been as good as anything else on the shelves.

While the story does conclude in a satisfying manner, it’s also left open-ended. We’re left wanting more, even needing more, which leads me to answer a question that I also left open, earlier in this review…

Frequently (see Chip Zdarsky’s excellent Batman: The Knight as one example) writers tell a story featuring a character’s past to leave breadcrumbs for future adventures. I truly pray that this is also the case here, as I think that Michael W. Conrad’s one of the few talents who could successfully continue this series after Tom Taylor moves on. I’ll keep my fingers crossed.

I also want to see Francesco’s work in a regular title again. I love his art.

Conclusion

Nightwing #112 is a perfect comic. If you know anyone who wants to know more about Dick Grayson, his relationship with the Dark Knight, and his status as a hero in the DC Universe, then hand that person this comic and last month’s. They’ll be glad you did.

Images Courtesy of DC Entertainment


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