By Dustin Cabeal
After recording this week’s episode, I thought about this issue more, and I realized that there was one big thing I left out of my podcast and it’s the main reason this issue isn’t as strong as the previous two. It’s actually right there on the cover, the Bat-Family. Batwoman and Red Robin are injected into this issue and that’s actually the problem.
Before their inclusion, this book felt removed from the Batverse. It felt like Nightwing versus the DC Universe, but with the addition and integration of these two characters (and two more at the end), it’s just a story revolving around the characters in Nightwing’s universe. Meaning we’re limited to the Titans and Bat-Family. It’s not bad, but they do seem awkwardly included in this issue. Batwoman is Dick’s boss and the one that set him up for being taken down last issue. While Red Robin (aka the best Robin until DC fucked it up), is a family man/computer hacker.
There are some good elements. The first is seeing Dick back in action and how wonderful the illustrations are for his movement. He has a great exchange with the dude that killed Allfred, which is followed by a great fight with another superhero. I will admit that this moment felt a lot like Batman versus Superman in Frank Miller’s Dark Knight, but it was just different enough to work. For a moment it felt like Nightwing versus the DCU again, but that was deflated by the cliffhanger, which has become the norm for the mini-series.
It’s not that this series hasn’t been predictable, it’s just been so damn good that it didn’t matter. This time around though, it was just predictable. New elements are being introduced, and we’re crossing a bridge from the opening to the closing, and so there’s not a lot of surprises to be had. It’s just getting the job done and doing so quite well. In the end, though, it doesn’t live up to the standards set by the first two issues, which is a shame.
The artwork continues to be magnificent. It makes this story consistent and visually entertaining. Dick’s movement is realistic and beautiful to look at; there’s a real sense of his form and movement while jumping around. It’s not like Spider-Man in which you just let it slide that he can stand like this or that. With Nightwing, it’s all about form, which is perfect. It says as much about his character and upbringing as anything out of his mouth. There’s also just a lot of subtle elements to the artwork that elevate the story. The same cannot be said about the cover, which just looks like an entirely different book. Don’t judge it by the cover… I know that’s a saying, but really don’t.
There’s no reason to bail on this series if you enjoyed the first two issues, but lower your standards for this third issue. It’s still important as it adds to the universe and moves the story along, but it’s hard to find it as spectacular as the first two. It’s an average issue, and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that. If you’re reading the series, then keep at it.
Nightwing: The New Order #3 (of 6)