Wow, I am WAY behind on these reviews!
OK, so I have to catch everyone up over the next three entries on SIX books, so be prepared for a busy day of blogging.
Also, for whatever group of people was following AVX on here, I will not be continuing it. Nothing against Marvel, but I have a limited comic budget that does not allow for crazy stories that don't do much plot-wise unless you buy every freaking entry in the crossover (which, by the way, would probably cost me more than $60 a month).
So yeah, long story short, let's do Nightwing and Red Hood on this one.
Dick Grayson's part in this crossover ends here, but in many ways, he has been more of an integral part of this crossover than Batman.
This story shows it. In this issue, we get the second part of William Cobb's background and find out why the name "Grayson" was used.
I'll admit the backstory was something that I had never considered. I know many won't like the retcon because it adds a weird element to the Bruce and Dick stories of the Silver and Bronze ages, but as a lifelong Dick Grayson fan, I loved this.
Not only did it add a Gotham element to Dick's backstory, it makes the character even greater to follow, as he was a destined hero who rose above an assassin career that most thought was his true destiny. In many ways, it almost feels like the great background of Raven, except it didn't require Dick to be evil first. (Renegade DOESN'T COUNT.)
As for the battle itself, it was good, though Dick claiming he led Cobb into the tunnels didn't have the badass feel I think they were going for. It seemed more like an "Oh, I meant to do that" kind of moment.
The next arc to Nightwing's story should really give a feel for what the character truly is going to be in this New 52 world, so I'm looking forward to it.
Since we talked the original Robin, let's talk the second Robin. (By the way, how cool will it be next month when all the male Robins meet up? But I digress.)
Jason Todd, Starfire and Arsenal make the trip to save Mr. Freeze from one of the Talons. One question here, though, is if sub-zero temperatures weaken the Talons' regeneration ability, how had Freeze not beaten this guy yet?
If you can think up a reasonable explanation for that, this is a pretty fun read. Kori and Roy learn a great deal about Freeze's motivations in life (though I don't think the whole backstory was given to Kori), though I will admit that the dialogue was really trying to force us to have sympathy for Freeze.
I don't feel it worked. Those who know the backstory already had sympathy, so this felt forced. New readers have no earthly idea what this "love" motivation is, so this little diatribe after the fight probably should have been omitted for the Batman Annual next week to explain.
Speaking of which, one thing I loved in this book was how it tied into other books in the crossover. Besides the annual, the last scene of this book doubled as the epilogue to the Batgirl story, and that was pretty cool. Heck, Batgirl may have been better drawn by Team Hoodie.
However, both these books made me think the Owls have some psychologically messed up Talons. The training must have needed adjusting quite often, because between the super-depressing Batgirl Talon, and this semi-suicidal Talon, I have to question how strong a society this group really is. It seems like their practices lead to quite a few problems.
(Though, to be fair, taking children and training them to be crime-fighters so early in life may be a problem. Jason's bloodlust for vengeance is a good example.)
Overall, this book is awesome and definitely worth the price. The depth added to it makes it an integral part of the event.