Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Death of the Family Part 14: Nightwing #16 and Red Hood and the Outlaws #16

I had just an amazing set of reads this week! Granted, one is a total red herring, but at least I was interested in what was happening.

Nightwing #16

First off, this book was an absolutely fast read, but not because it was dull; it was just one I didn't want to sit around on. This thing is just packed with action and thanks to Kyle Higgins' writing, Nightwing's DOTF crossover actually has some big stakes in it.

Nightwing is off to try and rescue Haly's Circus on Amusement Mile from being destroyed, only to find out that Joker has just gone off his nut with how elaborately he's changed things.

Not going to lie here: This book gets dark. Really. Really. Dark. If you thought Higgins was going to leave this world largely out of his Joker-Nightwing story, allowing for some horrible ranting of Joker and Nightwing bondage to drive the plot, holy crap were you wrong.

Dick loses A LOT in this issue and takes a real emotional and physical beating in Joker's attempt to break him. The Joker dialogue here feels significantly more natural and it actually makes some of the crossovers feel even worse in retrospect.

Probably the most interesting discussion point will be why Joker mentioned that Nightwing shouldn't have even continued on in Gotham. Could this be a teaser for the return of Bludhaven? Will Dick try to pick the pieces of his Gotham life back up after all this ends? There has been a lot here to consider starting next month.

Of all the stories, more than any of the others this is the Bat-family member who I want to hear more about after DOTF concludes with the release of Batman #17. Kudos to Higgins for making any new purchasers interested in his title. And I really hope new purchasers of Nightwing's book are compelled to stick around after these last couple of issues.

Red Hood and the Outlaws #16

By contrast, I think Scott Lobdell is trying to convince his RHATO audience to switch to Teen Titans. To quote a reviewer at, this is "the best issue of Teen Titans I've... read."

Seriously, after tanking that title for so long, I don't think I've been more interested in the Teen Titans than I was here. Maybe it was because Roy Harper's dialogues with each member were just a lot of fun to read, but these characters came across much better than they do in their own book.

Also, Roy's flashback with Killer Croc may be a sign of things to come when James Tynion IV takes over writing, as he wants to focus on Roy, but I was just really interested here.

I know there are Arsenal purists who don't like New 52 Roy, but I think he's one of the biggest beneficiaries of the reboot. I was bored by the character for so long, I can't believe how much I enjoy seeing his work with these Titans and with Starfire.

The only complaint I really have is: What does any of this have to do with DOTF?

I mean, yeah, the Titans and Outlaws are teaming up to try and save homeless people affected by Joker's now-mind controlling gas. And while it's not very dramatic (especially since Joker left them all the stuff they'd need to stop it in a grand distraction so they can't stop what he's really doing), it's certainly a fun read.

But Jason Todd (and Tim Drake) are only present on one page in which they're both unconscious, Joker is only seen in one page to set up what he's doing next week (in TT #16), and there are two pointless pages with Hugo Strange and Deathstroke, who aren't even going to be in the comic for a few more months by the sound of it.

I would have much rather seen the progress on Isabel than Strange, and Deathstroke's cameo, while interesting, also could have been saved for later. I think Lobdell struggles with crossovers for some reason.

Overall, it's a fun read, but if you're expecting DOTF action, there is nothing here to see. I'd mostly advise this book's purchase as positive feedback for Lobdell to write Teen Titans like THIS in the future. Or to even make Roy the leader. That would be some great stuff.

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