Monday, 27 April 2015

Nightwing Vol. 5: Setting Son (The New 52) Review


Nightwing vol. 5: Setting Son (The New 52)
Dan Didio just squealed like a schoolgirl.

Writers: Kyle Higgins, Tim Seely and Tom King.

Artists: Will Conrad, Cliff Richards and Russell Dauterman.

Collects: Nightwing 25-30 and Nightwing Annual #1

Background Information:

Okay, to understand this, we need to explain some things about Forever Evil. So, yeah; SPOILERS.

Nightwing was supposedly killed in Forever Evil… or was he?

Prior to that, you also need to know that he’s in Chicago now, as a result of hunting down his parents’ murderer. Like Bludhaven before, Chicago quickly became his home afterwards, which is awkward, since the town hates superheroes with a passion.

Review:

Series cancellations are the pits, especially when you’ve spent countless issues setting up the next story. You suddenly have to pull all of those strings together and it pretty much never works to anyone’s complete satisfaction.

With that in mind, Nightwing ends relatively gracefully. Sure, there were a fistful of plot ends that I wish were resolved before what really feels like a premature end to a great series, but you have to commend Higgins on making the best of a bad situation. Higgins’ run on Nightwing ends with plenty of warm fuzzies, and makes me miss the writer (he’s not solicited for any books post-convergence).

Is he talking to Kyle Higgins?
Setting Son is a collection of pretty short stories, featuring an array of villains. In the Zero Year tie-in, young Dick Greyson, tries to navigate a blacked-out Gotham. It’s a fun diversion, and definitely one of the better tie-ins to the story that I’ve read thus far, but it feels insanely unnecessary. In the Annual, Dick and Barbara Gordon (Batgirl) reconsider their relationship while taking down Firefly. There’s two issues devoted to Marionette, a villain introduced in the last trade; and Higgins finishes his run with a story about Victor Zasz.

These are generally good stories, but their let down by the fact that this whole trade feels like Kyle Higgins waiting around for his own execution. Short stories stop his run from ending with a bang. And that’s a shame. I’d like to see more of the Marionette, and Higgins definitely leaves room for her return. There’s also no resolution to the story of Detective Morgan, who the last volume sets up to be Dick’s next big enemy. There was so much here that I wanted to see more of, but can’t because Nightwing’s picture makes Dan Didio cry.

That doesn’t make it awful. Higgins’ nowhere stories are actually quite forgivable. What isn’t forgivable is the pathetic issue 30 written by Seely and King. It features a fight between Batman and Dick for no conceivable reason other than “grrr!” I hear Grayson is a great series, but Nightwing #30 does nothing to spark interest in it.

Can we make this an elseworlds story? PLEASE?!?
I miss Brett Booth’s work in the last volume. It worked perfectly with the new era in Nightwing’s story. Will Conrad, who takes the majority of Setting Son’s art is admirable enough, but I was looking forward to a more consisted team on the title. Russell Dauterman gives by far the best art in the volume. His Nightwing #29 left me wondering why the title didn’t always look like this. It’s highly distinctive, and strangely colourful for a title that crosses over into Batman.

It’s hard for me to recommend or condemn Setting Son. I would have liked it more were it not for that final issue; but as is, it gets a three out of five Dan Didio tears.

***

+ Good, short story arcs.

+ A graceful end.

- Nothing really gets resolved.

- That awful issue #30…

Alternate Option: Nightwing: Bludhaven

See the blog for more info.