Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Death of the Family Part 9: Nightwing #15 and Red Hood & The Outlaws #15

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It's been almost a calendar year since my first comic review on this blog, and once again, Nightwing and Red Hood are leading the charge! My one-year anniversary will involve a defense of The Grinch, so keep an eye out this week. Anyway, let's get to the reviews!

Nightwing #15

I definitely got a lot of enjoyment in this issue, but for some reason I couldn't get into it all the way and I'm not really sure why.

The art in the issue looked good, and there were plenty of moments where I was really interested, but something didn't come together and I cant figure out why.

Joker's first killing in the book was definitely a surprise, and I like how it came during the cold opening. It got me off my guard from the start and I was definitely hooked. But then I wasn't really into the whole Batgirl-Nightwing dialogue that took up a two-page spread. I'm glad that was short.

I will say that there is a dialogue between Dick and Sonja that is just a great read and is the highlight of the book - well, next to the Joker unleashing utter terror on the reader by going all Return of the Joker on Raya, whom he helped escape from prison in the last issue.

Honestly, though, what I think was the disappointment was the thought bubbles during the evacuation of the circus and Dick's search for the toxin in his friend's corpse. Something about it didn't flow all that well, even though both told important parts of the story.

Overall, it's a well-told story and is a great Joker story in its own right. Unlike most of the crossovers, Joker is hitting the character with something other than just a sadistic attack and a supplementary monologue. Dick really has a supporting cast at stake in this one and that makes this book stand out.

I'd say definitely get a look at this one. It's not as good as Batgirl or even Batman & Robin but it's definitely in their class.

Red Hood and the Outlaws #15

This was not as good as I hoped that it would be. Joker supposedly set Jason up to be Robin just so he could kill him (which is still kind of an annoying development) and actually did succeed in killing him.

So why does this first showdown since Under the Hood feel so weak?

I think much of it has to do with the showdown between Joker and Jason being the exact same thing as Joker and Catwoman, only this time Jason fought back a little harder.

The scene where Joker lays out their history together was a lot of fun, but it could have been done with more subtlety - Jason finds all kinds of old mementos as he stumbles across crime scenes between leaving Isabel's and finding Joker - but it felt hurried when the book should have taken its time to develop.

Unfortunately, space was being taken up thanks to Kori and Roy having a few scenes. I may enjoy these two, but they could have had their own story after this crossover. Jason should have gotten these two issues to himself for the most part.

Instead, Scott Lobdell has decided to cross Tim Drake and Jason's Joker clashes together and throw Kori, Roy and the Teen Titans into some horrible side story that is starting to feel like a rescue mission the Recess kids would come up with.

(And no, they don't come up with a plan, but I feel like I can tell where this is heading.)

Also there's a panel where I can't tell if the body on the ground is Tim or a replica of Jason's corpse. If anyone knows what the deal was, please let me know. Yeah, with Kenneth Rocafort on a break this month, the art really suffered as well.

I really wasn't a fan of this issue. It's a shame because I'm really into the idea of this showdown and am invested in what might happen.

Definitely look at it if you want to see where Jason's next character development is going, but with Isabel's awesomeness missing in this and too much focus on the other two characters (first time I've complained about characters getting too equal of time), this is not one of Lobdell's better efforts.

I think H'el on Earth is cutting into his creative time and that's really not helping when such a pivotal story needs to be told.

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