Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Review / Commentary # 14 - Nightwing # 14: “Die for Me”

  • Writer: Tom DeFalco
  • Penciller: Andres Guinaldo
  • Inker: Mark Irwin
  • Colorist: Rod Reis & Pete Pantazis
  • Letterer: Dave Sharpe
  • Editor: Brian Cunningham
  • Assistant Editor: Katie Kubert

Detailed Impression:
The cover to Nightwing # 14 is by the usual duo of Eddy Barrows and Rod Reis, but includes inks by series regular Eber Ferreira. It shows Nightwing and Lady Shiva in a nasty looking fight. While successful overall, the image could have benefited from the softer look that Reis' colors give to Barrows' inkless pencils as the fight takes place at night in the rain. Conversely, this cover's sharpness makes me wonder if the cover to issue 13 would have been better served by Ferreira's touch.
DeFalco and Guinaldo wrap up their two issue mini-arc in this one. Guinaldo impresses again with his work on the issue. Just like the last issue, he mixes up the layouts enough to pace out the story well and keep the pages from looking too static.
Speaking of the story, DeFalco keeps us firmly entrenched in Nightwing's recent history. He addresses the ribs Dick broke in his fight with the Republic of Tomorrow, his conflicted feelings about the daughter of his parents' killer, and the recent goings-on with Haly's Circus. DeFalco also shows him doing real detective work, narrowing down Shiva's potential targets and deducing her next intended victim. He also reminds us that Shiva is no slouch when it comes to her powers of observation. She realizes Nightwing is not fighting at 100% due to his injuries and tells him that it would not do her any good to kill him in his condition. She wants him to die at his best.
This brings me to my one real problem with this issue. Shiva's attitude and speech patterns make her appear much older than Nightwing. I pulled out her first appearance from Nightwing # 0 just to be sure, but again the speech would indicate an older individual. The whole thing makes Penguin's comments that Nightwing and Lady Shiva might be around the same age ring patently false. However, the revelation that Penguin was the one pulling Shiva's strings just to give him time to do some money laundry was actually pretty interesting.

Overall Impression:

Another solid outing from these pinch hitters. Guinaldo and Irwin do a great job illustrating a pretty good story from DeFalco. I especially dug seeing a daylight fight between Nightwing and Lady Shiva even though it totally contradicts the setting depicted on the cover. DeFalco nails the characters in this one. He also sets up the next story arc nicely by having Scott Snyder's super creepy version of Joker pop in on the last page.