Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Comic Book Reviews: Nightwing #17 and Red Hood & The Outlaws #17

Following a "Death of the Family" event in which only two titles actually succeeded in storytelling, the biggest success (Nightwing) and the biggest disappointment (Red Hood and the Outlaws) have their follow-ups.

I'm glad to say that both turned out really nicely.

Nightwing #17

This crossover may have been one of the best things for the Nightwing title, as it really sets the Dick Grayson character back into a position where he has nothing.

You find out the actual body count from the previous two issues (in which all of Haly's Circus was taken to Hell and back) and start to get the feeling that it may have been more merciful to Dick if there hadn't been survivors. Dick looks like a man who has truly been left with nothing after this, and it's really true.

The whole story is organized as a collection of scenes in the week following the Joker's attacks, each of which hits Dick even harder than the last. The scenes with Alfred and Lucius Fox are done well and I really liked the hint of jealousy Barbara had about Sonia Branch at a funeral.

The scene that everything built to, though, was the conversation with Damian Wayne, who gets his first chance in the Nightwing book to show how important his first Batman has been to him. The support given to Dick by so many in the Bat-family was just nice to see and it's clear here why Nightwing is considered the lynch-pin of the entire DCU.

The only really weak point this issue is the art, which felt a tad over-muscular and made even Alfred look like some type of amateur bodybuilder. This is probably the first comic in years where the women were portrayed more tastefully and realistically than the men.

Still, can't fault Kyle Higgins' writing, and that's really what will sell you today. Definitely worth a buy, as these next couple of issues will set up Nightwing's new world in the issues to come.

Red Hood and the Outlaws #17

At this point, isn't the whole "A Death in the Family" cover where Batman holds Jason Todd's corpse a bit overdone? It's a great cover, and I loved the call-back to Jason's first death reflected in a pool of blood, but geez, I think this is going to become a storytelling trope.

The first few pages aren't much better, either, which isn't surprising because Scott Lobdell now had to tie his ridiculous tie-in back into Red Hood's ACTUAL story.

Thankfully, the rest of this book hit hard and hit long. Alfred's conversation with Jason was incredibly uplifting and the exchange between Jason and Damian was just fun. But not as fun as Damian's conversation with Arsenal, who finally gets ribbed about his goofy-as-all-hell trucker hat.

For me, my favorite portion of this book was the brief exchange between Jason and Starfire, followed by Jason's conversation with Nightwing. A conversation between Dick and Kori has been one of THE things I've waited for since the reboot, and although they didn't share that moment here, Lobdell played off that such a moment is of huge emotional importance for both, and I loved how both couldn't stand to meet after such an emotional few days. It makes me really excited for when that moment actually comes.

One moment that actually does happen is Bruce and Jason's conversation, which was short, to the point, and exactly what it should have been.

Oh, and if you've been waiting for a real payoff to Joker's "creation" of the second Robin, I think it finally comes to light in a big way here. Without spoiling it, I feel fairly certain that Lobdell's final issue on RHATO next month will be one for the books.

I still have a few comics from last week to post today, and expect some JLA stuff as well. Hope everyone enjoys!

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