The Seeley/Fernandez/Sotomayor run reaches its penultimate issue.
“Raptor’s Revenge” continues in Nightwing #33, as Tim Seeley and Javier Fernandez deliver the penultimate issue of their run on the title. So, how does it hold up on its own and in the context of the run as a whole? Is it good?
I really loved the start of this run of Nightwing. It largely helped to establish my interest in the character. This final arc, however, has been a disappointment, and this issue is sadly no exception. I’ll start by addressing the writing: it’s passable. The pacing is decent, the events are clear, and there isn’t nearly as much cringe-worthy dialogue as in previous issues. If it sounds like I’m damning Nightwing #33 with faint praise, well…I can’t say that I’m not. Coherence is present in the issue, but nothing of interest is.
This arc is named after Raptor, but we’re one issue away from the conclusion and we still haven’t seen any meaningful interactions between Dick and his coolest nemesis. Pigeon, Blockbuster, and Tiger Shark all vying for page-time certainly doesn’t help matters; it feels almost unforgiveable to have four villains present without any of them being exciting. This lack of excitement extends to Dick and the supporting cast as well. There’s just no sense of stakes or emotional weight to any of the drama here.
The issue’s strongest attribute is its artwork. Javier Fernandez’s work is always at least solid, even when it’s not his best. Characters’ facial expressions are always quite well rendered, and Nightwing’s acrobatics are nicely done. I also give Fernandez props for imbuing the issue with a sense of movement that helps keep the reading experience quick and smooth. If it weren’t for these solid visuals, the issue would likely fall a lot flatter than it already does.
With that said, though…this still isn’t Fernandez’s best work. Characters’ bodies frequently shift levels of detail, usually for the worst. There are points throughout the issue where the visuals look like rushed outlines, especially where Pigeon is concerned. Most of the art here isn’t that bad, but the inconsistency is still disappointing. Colorist Chris Sotomayor is probably the most consistently performing member of the creative team here, as he seems to add more sense of depth and detail than the actual pencils would have otherwise. All of Blüdhaven’s neon lights are also fun as always.
Nightwing #23 isn’t bad by virtue of terrible dialogue, incoherent writing, or visually displeasing art. It’s just forgettable due to inconsistent amounts of detail, questionable plot choices, and a complete and total lack of characters worth rooting for. This issue is about as average as it gets, which is a sad point to reach after the series’ promising start.