Just over a year ago, Nightwing was introduced to the assassin Raptor. At first he thought Raptor was his enemy, but in short order Raptor showed he could be trusted and later even become a partner and mentor to Nightwing. Shortly after, however, it was revealed that Raptor indeed could not be trusted and had to be taken down. Since then, Nightwing has found himself in a somewhat good place in life, but it’s almost like villains can sense these things — Raptor is back, and out for revenge in Nightwing #30!
This issue focuses on story and dialogue more than action. A large portion is narrated by Nightwing which is very enjoyable and really lends the issue a noir crime thriller feel. Not every super hero needs to speak out loud to themselves in every panel, so the narrative really helped and made it feel more like a real story and less like some filler comic with a bad monologue.
Unfortunately, I felt like the majority of the time this issue was just Nightwing moping around. It was quite depressing to see. The art by Miguel Mendonca and colors by Chris Sotomayor however are stunning. Every page looks exactly like how a Nightwing book should look, with a lot of moments that pop right off the page with vibrant color without looking like a unicorn threw up on it. This is definitely the issue to show someone who couldn’t tell the difference between Gotham and Bludhaven. It’s as if Gotham and New Orleans had a baby, except with more crime.
Supporting characters were very unnecessary and almost served no purpose other than to show that Nightwing has more female problems than an actual rogues gallery. Every time Nightwing was shown with another female it was less about the actual story and more about how many problems they have with Nightwing or how many problems they’re going to have. I love a strong female character but in this particular story it just shows Nightwing can’t keep it in his pants and might as well just become a soap opera star rather than a super hero.
The villain Blockbuster ends up taking center stage as the main villain rather than the Raptor. It’s nice to see a character like Blockbuster return to comics as an actual antagonist and not just some random goon that bursts through walls only to get knocked out by one Batarang. The story is called “Raptor’s Revenge” but he was in it so little that it would have made a bigger impact if he didn’t show up til the last panel to hit us with the shocking title for the next issue. Seeing his name so early set an expectation that the issue sadly couldn’t meet. Blockbuster instantly becomes an interesting character from the first time he makes an appearance, though, and makes you want to see and know even more of him in future stories.
Nightwing #30 is overall an enjoyable first issue of a new storyline involving a very important character, Raptor. Raptor makes his return to the Nightwing series but doesn’t get much time for an reintroduction. Blockbuster steals the spotlight to where you forget that this is Raptor’s return issue and takes center stage and becomes a relevant and important character once again.