Judging by the cover the Court of Owls have a major owl up their sleeve. We check out issue #4 and ask the question, is it good?
Nightwing #4 (DC Comics)
So what’s it about? The official DC summary reads:
“BETTER THAN BATMAN” part 4! At last, Nightwing and Raptor enact their endgame to shut down the Parliament of Owls permanently! But the Parliament has one last card up its sleeves: The Moloch, a giant owl monster whose mission is simple: eviscerate Nightwing and Raptor.
Why does this book matter?
The first three issues of this series felt like a fast paced spy drama that globe trots and everything. Writer Tim Seeley has added levity when necessary and made Nightwing feel quite unique from the rest of the Batman supporting characters. Plus, he’s taking on one of the biggest groups of villains Batman has got. What more could you want?
Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?
Was a backflip really necessary Nightwing?
This issue takes place in a secret Owl gathering place called the Parliament Grove and Seeley does a good job establishing its grossly disturbing ways. It also offers Nightwing and Raptor enough reason to stop with the pleasantries with the Owl overlords and get with the superheroing. The maze theme of the series continues too and there’s one hell of a monster fight. Believe me when I say the cover is a taste of what’s to come. The biggest success of this issue however is the Raptor character with some clever entwining of his backstory and Nightwing’s that’ll make you want more.
Artist Javier Fernandez continues to do great work especially with costumes and gear as Raptor looks fantastic; his gauntlet in particular is nicely detailed and looks cool. The big monster looks cool too and there’s plenty of differing shots of the beast jumping around and giving Nightwing hell. In one fun page we get a scene of Nightwing throwing a billy club; we watch it bounce around the beast, ricochet twice in separate panels, then jab it in the eye, which enhances the action and makes the action feel multistep and more kinetic. There’s also a nice use of red silhouette to convey the bloody damage being taken.
These dudes are serious creepers.
The colors by Chris Sotomayor are fantastic too. The use of yellows and oranges enhance the atmosphere and give key scenes added drama to increase the feel of their importance. Plus, Nightwing’s blue looks fantastic, especially when it pops out when the rest of him is in silhouette.
It can’t be perfect can it?
This issue lacks the character work that made previous issues excellent. It’s mostly due to the plot, which boils down to the heroes fighting a monster for much of the page length. What this boils down to then is a perfectly adequate wrap up of the story, but not the extra zing it deserves.
Is It Good?
Nightwing continues to feel like a good espionage type thriller. The biggest boon of this series so far has been the development of the new character Raptor who you’ll be dying to see more of.