Issue #21 of Nightwing is a more of a slow burn.
This issue makes progress in the overall storyline, but there are no big climaxes. Instead this issue gives new developments in the overall story.
While this is a build up issue, it is a good build up issue. With multiple plot lines running at one time, and letting the story form naturally, writer Kyle Higgins is taking the reader on a journey that takes patience, but looks like it is leading to a rewarding payoff.
The two major story lines from this issue are that there is a serial killer loose in Chicago who is killing all of the masked heroes. The second storyline is that Nightwing is attempting to find his parents’ killer, Tony Zucco, who he believes has started a new life in Chicago under a new identity.
The majority of the action comes in the first half of the issue, and the majority of the meat of the story comes in the second half of the issue. The action occurs first when the reader is introduced to one Chicago’s super-heros in action on a city bus. Then, that same hero having to deal with the serial killer of the Chicago super heroes.
The action resumes with Nightwing enlisting the help of the Prankster, a tech savvy and sly super villain. The big action sequence comes when Nightwing has to break the Prankster out of a building surrounded by police officers.
Nightwing enlists the help of Prankster because of his computer hacking skills. The best way to track down Tony Zucco is through hacking into city records, and looking for abnormalities that may suggest the new identity of Zucco.
The story also briefly follows Michael, who works as cameraman for the local news. Michael is sharing his apartment with Dick Grayson. Michael is offered an opportunity to advance his career by a detective who seeks his help with the Prankster. Which is a problem considering the assistance Nightwing gives to the Prankster earlier in the issue.
In my opinion the most relevant part of the issue is the appearance of Tony Zucco living his new life. At least at first glance it looks as if he is reformed, as he seems to be a good husband and father for the brief time the reader gets to see him.
Overall, I enjoyed the issue. It was not an issue where a ton of action occurred, but it is apparent Higgins is setting the stage for later issues. The apparently reformed Zucco adds some nice depth to the story, and leaves the reader wondering what Nightwing will do if he is able to track Zucco down. With Dick Grayson’s inclination to see the best in people, it will be interesting to see what happens if he is able to find Zucco, who killed his parents.
Enlisting the help of a hacker like the Prankster was also a nice touch. It nice to see a contemporary and effective skill like hacking being used in a DC comic, even if the morals of hacking are debatable and circumstantial.
The hunt for Tony Zucco and his reformation are very engaging, and almost made me forget about the serial killing of the super heroes of Chicago. It will be intriguing to see how those two story lines will come together. The only theory I have right now is that Zucco is the killer, but hopefully the story will be resolved in a better way than that.
As for the art, it was fantastic. Brett Booth did a great job. Everybody looked great, and the storytelling was clear.
In conclusion, the action was slim in this month’s issue of Nightwing, but it looks like it is only because the story needs the proper time to unfold. I think it is a good move for Higgins to take his time and not force the story forward at an unnatural pace. I’m definitely looking forward to seeing how this story unfolds.