REVIEW: Nightwing #22

Written by KYLE HIGGINS/Art by WILL CONRAD/Colors by ANDREW DALHOUSE/Letters by CARLOS M. MANGUAL/Cover by BRETT BOOTH/Published by DC COMICS

Attention all bad guys in the Windy City: Watch out, Nightwing is in town! A while back Dick Grayson caught wind his parents’ murderer, Tony Zucco, was hiding in Chicago. This issue, Nightwing decides to search for Zucco, seeking justice for his parents, all the while tackling more problems that come his way. Chicago may seem like the typical American city, but as Nightwing begins to find out, the city has dangerous secrets regarding its vigilantes.

Nightwing begins making inroads on his quest for Zucco by sneaking into the mayor’s office. While questioning the mayor, the only man who may know where Zucco is, Nightwing learns of the city’s history with “masks.” The mayor’s comment on the city’s past with vigilantes signifies Nightwing will have his hands full in the coming issues. One has to wonder if this means the mayor is connected to the murder of the vigilante from the last issue of Nightwing, and if he is, that’s only going to cause more problems for Nightwing. As if Dick doesn’t have enough on his plate, the mayor and his shady past could prove to have consequences for Nightwing and Chicago.

Higgins is great on Nightwing. The decision of Nightwing leaving Gotham isn’t new, but the fact he brings him to Chicago, a city not usually depicted in comics is a fresh idea. He also decides to give a reason for why Chicago doesn’t have as many vigilantes as it once may have, which should prove interesting. Higgins brings in the recurring Nightwing theme of, “the past always comes back to haunt you,” as most of the major characters in this issue have something from their past gunning for them.

Higgins’ version of Zucco is a seemingly changed man, who now has a family he cares for. He’s trying to stay away from his past, and hide under his cover identity. As soon as he catches wind that Nightwing is in Chicago, he gets spooked. This could mean that the New 52 version of Tony Zucco has had run-ins with Nightwing in the past, or maybe he recognizes the Gotham hero. Either way, he’s freaked out about it. Things are getting interesting for Nightwing as he’s getting closer finding Zucco, and it will be fascinating how it affects his behavior and methodology. Hopefully, Higgins will bring back Sonia Branch later on in this ongoing story arc, while also dealing with the mysterious brutal murders of the ‘masks.’

Brett Booth’s cover is not only beautiful to look at, but it’s a metaphor for what happens in the issue. And even though Booth doesn’t pencil the interiors this issue, Will Conrad takes the baton and keeps the pencils looking good. Panels are detailed and he can definitely draw an action book, which is good as that’s what’s needed on a Nightwing title. The pencils are great, but some of the artwork can look strange. The coloring style of Andrew Dalhouse seems to change from panel to panel. Some panels have a “CGI” style while other panels look more like traditional comic book art. This can be jarring when it keeps changing back and forth, sometimes panel to panel.

New readers can enjoy this issue as it doesn’t require a deep knowledge of Nightwing’s history, besides who Tony Zucco is. For fans of the series it’s another great, well-written issue they can enjoy, while teasing what’s in store for Nightwing next month. One thing’s for sure, it looks like Nightwing may have to stay in Chicago longer than he had planned.

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