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Review: NIGHTWING #153

Author: Stephanie Carmichael
Thursday, February 19, 2009

FROM DC COMICS: "As Robin, Dick Grayson fought alongside Batman as part of the dynamic duo, the greatest crime-fighting team in history. As Nightwing, he teamed up with his peers to combat injustice in the Titans and the Outsiders. Now, Dick Grayson faces the most important battle of his life. Batman is dead. The Mantle of the Bat must be passed, but it will require all of Dick's training and skills to carry out the last wishes of Bruce Wayne and protect Gotham City. Will it be enough to protect himself from the dangers that await him? Or is this the last the world will see of Nightwing?"

YES! I was wrong!

Usually I don’t celebrate the times when the efficiency of my squishy human brain fails me, but this is a special occasion: it’s the “final” issue of NIGHTWING, of course! Peter. J. Tomasi gave us two strong NIGHTWING comics in a row, which means I was half right and half wrong about my earlier prediction. Two-Face would be so proud.

While NIGHTWING #153 obviously isn’t an essential issue due to the expected halt of plot development, fans who haven’t picked up their copies yet are sure to be pleased. I haven’t exactly been a faithful cheerleader on the sidelines rooting for Tomasi despite any hardships, but I was happy after I finished reading this issue. Tomasi pulled through, and although it wasn’t always the smoothest ride with him leading the way, he ended the title soundly. Gotta give the man his props!

Although the story doesn’t plant any new roots -- in fact, some are removed as Dick Grayson leaves his apartment in New York City for the cold but familiar interior of the Batcave -- it does give us nice character moments in their places. For any comic’s final issue in which the characters’ stories don’t really end, that’s arguably what the readers need the most.

After the return to Gotham, Dick, Tim, and Alfred work to recover the giant penny from the hole where it fell in the Batcave. The scene has pleasant, subtle humor that adds to Dick’s homecoming, but Bruce’s absence clearly looms over them, giving the apparently comfortable moment a sense of falsehood and instability. But Dick and Alfred agree that although they are grieving -- and each in different ways -- Bruce would want them to push on and find the strength to continue fighting for Gotham.

As Nightwing envisions the night Bruce’s parents were killed—the night that sparked his lifelong mission to fight crime and restore justice to the city -- his connection to Bruce and the importance of the struggle he gave his life for are renewed. Gotham might have lost its true protector, but those Batman has inspired will make sure he lives on. “There will always be hope in Gotham City,” Nightwing promises.

Despite Don Kramer’s cheesy placement of Nightwing swinging through the night on the side of a giant Batman side-profile, the artist gives the issue some cool imagery—particularly of him and Bruce as young boys in the face of their parents’ deaths and later, their candlelit vow that forever made them the Dynamic Duo. There might not be a lot that goes on in this issue (not to mention the cute but awkward inclusion of the “Origins & Omens” extra at the end), but the character moments that the combined forces of Tomasi and Kramer provide make for a solid last issue of NIGHTWING.

Cheers to them and to NIGHTWING, and on that note I want to thank all of you wonderful readers who have written me over the past months. For those who haven’t, feel free to DROP ME AN EMAIL anytime letting me know your own thoughts on the comic. And never fear -- this won’t be the last time you hear from me! ;)

Stephanie Carmichael is a college student working towards a degree in English literature.
After starting her blog (What Is Techno Again?), she was noticed and recruited by Becky Young, the founder of the Girls Entertainment Network. When Stephanie isn't reporting comics for GEN, she's writing reviews for IMPULSECREATIONS.NET.
Her love for Batman began with the '90s superhero cartoons (BATMAN: TAS, BATMAN BEYOND) she grew up with, but it wasn't until her love of The Batman was renewed with BATMAN BEGINS that she really started digging into comics.
She reviews
NIGHTWING for BOF as well as providing a monthly recap of the Batman family titles.

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