Saturday, 17 October 2015

Nightwing Vol. 2: Rough Justice (Pre-52) Review

Are the 90s... when everything- and I
mean everything bulged.
Nightwing Volume 2: Rough Justice

Writers: Chuck Dixon and Devin Grayson

Artists: Scott McDaniel, Karl Story, Greg Land and Bob McLoed.

Collects: Nightwing 9-18, Nightwing Annual #1

Background Information:

When bodies washed up in Gotham's harbour, Nightwing moved down to Bludhaven to find out how those bodies got there. He found out that the whole thing was connected to a man known as the Blockbuster. He also developed a shaky alliance with corrupt detective Dudley Soames.

So, he lives in Bludhaven now. It's a thing.


Nighwing's second volume, Rough Justice, is the comic equivalent of eating pizza for every meal; you can only take so much of it before it gets bad for you. Rough Justice stops just before that happens, but damn if it doesn't cut it fine.

So now that Nightwing knows who's responsible for all the problems in Bludhaven. Of course, now that Blockbuster knows that Nightwing's there, the battle between them is heating up. In the midst of all this, who should show up but Batman to remind us that Nightwing is a
Batman character and since Batman is a Batman character who happens to also be Batman, this book has to have an appearance by Batman.

Okay, so there's an actual context given to Batman's appearance and his insistence that he be Batman. Turns out Bruce is there to check on Nightwing and that makes Dick think that he doesn't trust him to do anything right. A large amount of the this volume ends up being given to Dick simultaneously saying "I hope you approve" and "Go the hell away!" It's a good look into the character and helps the whole series feel that little bit more "coming-of-age-y".

Writer Chuck Dixon should be congratulated also for the way he continually makes sure that Nightwing is different in every way to Batman. There's hints early on in the volume that Nightwing will be geting a sidekick that gets totally dashed the very next panel, he gets himself a car that is nothing like a Batmobile and his lair is his apartment. It's these differences that really help to set Dick apart from the rest of the Bat-Family.

The book ends with Dick chasing down the Man-Bat before Deathstroke can capture him for a filmmaker. I had expected the appearance of Deathstroke to be a big deal; a high-stakes fight between a hero and best-known adversary.

Contrary to the look on his face, he's actually a pretty jovial
It wasn't. And it wasn't for a number of reasons- not the least of which being Deathstroke's ridiculous 90s costume. Firstly, the story around Man-Bat gave me no reason to care for what happens to anyone- the stakes aren't high in the least and Deathstroke's talents seem wasted on what is really more appropriate for an issue of Batman '66. Then there's the ending; it's WAY too abrupt and fails to cash in on what should have been the emotional core of the story. It's a disappointing pair of filler issues, but that's not the worst part of this volume.

That awards goes to the Annual issue. It's written by Devin Greyson and is about Dick faking a wedding to catch a killer. It's boring as hell, ugly to look at, and completely pointless in the grand scheme of things. I shudder to think of what future volumes are under Devin Greyson's pen, because the current evidence suggests that things will be truly atrocious.

Rough Justice is a book for Nightwing fans... and just about nobody else. It gets a three out of five Batmen being Batmen because Nightwing is a Batman character.


+ Effective as "coming-of-age" story.
+ Continues to differentiate Nightwing from Batman.
- Deathstroke/Man-Bat story falls flat.
- That Annual...

Alternate Option: Nightwing: Bludhaven

The better of the two Pre-52 Nightwing books.