NIGHTWING #14
Author: Ryan Hoss
December 1, 2012

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SYNOPSIS: The epic martial arts throwdown of the year: Nightwing vs. Lady Shiva! Nightwing may be outmatched this time, but he’s not going down without a fight!

Last month’s issue of NIGHTWING was the start of a short fill-in arc that introduced us to a brand new version of the Lady Shiva. The setup was simple enough: the legendary master assassin is coming to Gotham to hunt down unknown targets, and Nightwing has to find and stop her before the does so. This short arc concludes in this issue, and a few new tidbits are revealed that add another layer of mystery to Shiva.

As Nightwing gets closer and closer to finding Shiva, his renovation of the Gotham Amusement Mile is nearing its completion. Dick Grayson means for Haly’s Circus to be one of the main attractions, but safety remains a concern not only because of what happened a few issues back with Saiko and Raya, but also because the Joker is on the loose. Much like last month’s issue, the narrative here is just biding time until Team Higgins comes back, but it’s enough to keep me wondering what the Clown Prince of Crime has in store for the original Robin.

Meanwhile, Lady Shiva ends up tracking down Nightwing rather than the other way around. Much of the attitude and M.O. of the pre-New 52 Shiva is intact here -- although Shiva is a skilled and ruthless opponent, she really just likes to test her mettle with members of the Bat-family. Although Nightwing manages to prevent Shiva from attacking Sonia Zucco (who’s also been working her way into Dick’s life), the assassin easily escapes to fight another day.

There were a few things that detracted from my enjoyment of this issue, and my complaints remain the same as last month. It was obvious that we’re just filling in the blanks of a larger story, with lots of references to other issues. And your eyes might roll a bit when you discover the all-too-convenient reveal of who’s behind Lady Shiva’s return to Gotham.

While I’ve enjoyed this short fill-in arc, I am definitely ready for Team Higgins to pick things back up starting next month. We got a taste of what The Joker could have in store for Dick Grayson, and it’s not good at all. Dark days are ahead for Nightwing, but seeing how he’ll overcome these obstacles will be what keeps me reading. - Ryan Hoss

GRADE: C+

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