This week’s Nightwing #41 marks the end of the seven-part “The Untouchable” arc, as well as the end of the current creative team’s run on the title. I was optimistic about this creative team’s time on the title when their first issue was released, but I’ve found some of their issues since then to be disappointingly average in quality. Do Sam Humphries (writer), Bernand Chang (artist), Jamal Campbell (artist/colorist), Marcelo Maiolo (colorist), and Carlos M. Mangual (letterer) end their run on a high note? Does “The Untouchable” reach a satisfying conclusion?
This issue isn’t bad, but it is frustrating. It’s hard to describe what I feel is missing, because all of the most essential story beats are present. With that said, they all feel either rushed or otherwise lacking in substance. Dick’s been beating himself up mentally over his failure to apprehend the Judge previously, and while a conversation with Guppy alludes to this, it doesn’t get delved into very deeply. The ending narration, defined by a wary optimism, seems as if it’s meant to address this topic, but it feels too tacked on to be satisfying.
I’m also disappointed with this issue as a finale to Dick’s showdown with the Judge. Their final tussle doesn’t feel particularly more climactic than any of their previous fights. Instead, it feels like the Judge only gets defeated because the story outline calls for it here. This issue also touches base briefly with the other recurring characters from this run. While I applaud the creative team for trying to cover all their bases, none of these scenes further the characters’ arcs in meaningful ways. With that said, Dick is still running his gym at the end of the issue, so I hope that plot point carries over into the next creative team’s run. It’s cool to see Dick have a civilian life, and the gym business feels appropriate for the character.
Artistically, this issue is solid. Both of the art teams deliver good work, and I’m glad to have seen their takes on the character again, even if I wish they weren’t crammed together on a single issue. Chang’s take on Nightwing is particularly fun, and I like the energy he brings to the issue’s fight scenes. As always, Maiolo does a fantastic job on colors. I’m going to miss looking at his neon Blüdhaven skylines. Campbell also does a good job rendering Nightwing with a classic feel, and his bright coloration is a lot of fun to look at. There’s a particularly cool shot of Nightwing swinging through the city that makes me wish we had gotten more time with Campbell on the title. Mangual also continues to deliver clean, solid work with the issue’s lettering.
Overall, Nightwing #41 isn’t bad, but it’s not a satisfying end for “The Untouchable,” either. The story wraps up neatly enough and all relevant supporting characters appear, but none of the scenes ever feel all that exciting. This issue’s visuals are by far its greatest attribute, but even they suffer from having two different aesthetics smashed together in a single issue. Nonetheless, this isn’t a bad read, it’s just a forgettable one.