Saturday, March 12, 2016

Review / Commentary # 7 - Nightwing # 7: “”Turning Points”

  • Writer: Kyle Higgins
  • Penciller: Eddy Barrows & Geraldo Borges
  • Inkers: Paulo Siqueira & Eber Ferriera
  • Colorist: Rod Reis
  • Letterer: Carlos M. Mangual
  • Editor: Bobbie Chase
  • Assistant Editor: Katie Kubert

Detailed Impression:
The cover to Nightwing # 7 starts things off really well. In a scene that never actually appears inside the book, we see Nightwing in deep perspective. There's obvious strain in his face while he struggles against the ropes restraining his suspended body with Saiko holding the other end. The drawing is dynamic. The look on Nightwing's face goes a long way to sell the tension of the moment. I do have one question. How many leverage points are involved here? Saiko doesn't seem to be exercising any effort at all to hold him up.
Open up the book and Higgins immediately gives us a flashback to the moment the Flying Graysons' died falling from their sabotaged trapeze. Barrows emphasizes the damage to the trapeze rope in a multi-panel drawing. Barrows actually illustrates the whole scene beautifully in a manner similar to that used on the covers of issues # 2-6 with colors applied directly over the pencils. The technique is also utilized in another flashback. It works very nicely to soften the visuals, particularly on the page revealing Saiko's tragic origin. The look of these pages evokes a dreamy quality that works well for flashbacks.
Higgins finally gives up the answers to some of the questions raised through this first arc:
  1. What the big secret behind Haly's Circus?
  • The circus has always been a cover for a Court of Owls breeding ground for prospective Talons.
  1. What was the book and why was Dick's name in it?
  • A list of proposed Talons chosen once a decade to be handed over to the Court. Dick was meant to be the current Talon.
  1. Why was Saiko so bent on killing Dick Grayson of all people?
  • Raymond held Dick responsible for his torture at the hands of the Court. Dick evaded them when his parents died and Raymond was taken in his place but wasn't up to their standards. They left him to die birds pecked at his eyes.
There were two art teams employing three different art styles in the issue. Barrows' inkless pencils looked great in the flashbacks. Some of his inked work looked a little heavy-handed by contrast, but not bad at all. Geraldo Borges gets a second chance to work on the series. He wraps things up fairly well, but the character models look substantially different from Barrows' work. The net effect to the visual storytelling could have been extremely detrimental, but was rescued by the characters' clothing/costumes and the colors.
Borges did an especially good job drawing the epilogue sequence. His contribution may have felt more organic to the overall issue if this had been his only work in the book. Interestingly, this scene reflected and contained excerpts from the exact same conversation between Nightwing and Batman from Batman # 7. In his “Fatman on Batman” interview, Kyle Higgins gives some behind the scenes info about the epilogue. Scott Snyder's version of this conversation plays out over the course of eight pages. Higgins and company didn't have enough page space to accommodate a complete rehash of the Batman sequence. Higgins' clever solution was to just have Dick monologue internally that he tuned out most of what Bruce was saying. Another neat thing about these pages is that Borges draws the whole sequence from slightly different angles than Greg Capullo had done.
Higgins hints at another mystery and future storyline before closing out the issue. He ends his first arc with Nightwing riding off into the night questioning his world view much as his mentor often does. However, Higgins continues the characterization throughline he set up for Dick by having him come to an actual conclusion, thereby showing Dick as the more emotionally mature of the two characters.

Overall Impression:
Issue # 7 is a very good finale to a first issue that was excellent overall. The final battle between Nightwing and Saiko felt like there were real stakes involved. Sure, it's Nightwing's book so we know he'll win in the end. But the real and potential collateral damage was extensive, especially for the innocent circus-goers and members.
You sympathize with Dick's sense of betrayal by people he thought he knew throughout the issue. The lack of any true resolution as to Raya's motivation to want Dick dead is uncomfortable despite its realism. As we saw previously, there was some obvious manipulation by Raymond/Saiko. However, that alone didn't feel like enough to push her to such lengths. Unfortunately, sometimes you just don't get an answer to your questions. Sometimes there is no reason at all behind the things people do. I assume these types of situations would be even more frustrating to a trained detective like Nightwing than it is for a reader.
I dug the art. All the pages were good. Some were great. A few showed flashes of brilliance. I especially appreciated the dreamy look of the flashback pages.

Once again, this was an issue I enjoyed a lot. However, I do have a huge problem with one aspect of the issue and it has everything to do with the epilogue scene I so enjoyed. The unfortunate side effect of Scott Snyder's massively successful run as the writer on Batman is that DC editorial has essentially allowed him to ride roughshod over just about all the rest of the Bat line of books. It worked well enough with limited intrusion in this issue and the “Night of Owls” issues coming next. But his success led the editorial staff to allow him too much sway over the overall direction of the line causing other writers to have to delay or completely drop some of their own stories in other Bat books

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