Nightwing #21 takes a break from the title’s usual storyline and creative team to deliver a single-issue team-up with the Flash. Is it good?
Writer: Michael McMillian
Artist: Christian Duce
Publisher: DC Comics
Going into this issue, I was a bit worried. I wondered if the brief creative team change would feel like a let-down given how consistently great the regular creative team is. Thankfully, I was pleasantly surprised. This new team holds their own, and rather than crafting something worthy of the label “filler”, they’ve delivered an issue that fits within the larger framework of the Seeley/Fernandez run while also serving as a breath of fresh air.
The plot of the issue is pretty simple: Nightwing and Flash (Wally West) spend some much needed buddy-buddy time together, and then team up to take down a villain of the week. With that said, writer Michael McMillian nails the execution. It’s nice to see Dick Grayson just be fun, and catch up with one of his best friends. It’s also nice to see a supporting character in this book who isn’t Shawn or a member of the Bat-family for a change. The overall tone of the issue is very joyful and relaxed, and it’s a welcome break from the heavy emotional material of the previous arc. Wally and Dick’s relationship is the best part of the issue, and it feels good to see them happy. Some of their dialogue might border on being predictable at times, but the overall experience is more than enjoyable enough to make up for that. A short scene at the end connects the villain of the week to the next antagonist to come, helping to further cement this issue as being plot-relevant.
The art team also does a good job here. The book’s usual colorist, Chris Sotomayor, colors the issue, which helps to make the change in penciller feel less jarring. As always, Sotomayor’s colors are both vibrant and varied. Artist Christian Duce also delivers commendable work in this issue. His interpretation of Nightwing is a bit different from what we’ve seen lately, and that’s not a bad thing at all. Duce really sells the friendly energy that Dick and Wally have together, and his backgrounds are wonderfully detailed. I’m a sucker for well-drawn architecture, which Duce’s work provides in spades.
All in all, this is a fun issue. What could have been a forgettable filler story is instead a fun romp starring two likable best friends. The art is very nice, and the shift to a more lighthearted tone is a breath of fresh air from the series’ usual more serious approach. If you like simple but well-done comics where the heroes have fun while taking down the bad guy, check this issue out.