The Prankster is on the loose, and Nightwing gets closer to nailing Tony Zucco! Check out our review of Dick Grayson’s latest adventure in the Windy City!
When we last picked up an issue of Nightwing, our titular hero had left the cyber-terrorist Prankster handcuffed on a rooftop. However, the Prankster escaped, and now the citizens of Chicago will be at his mercy. While the narrative remains consistent with Kyle Higgins at the helm, the real wildcard is new artist Will Conrad. Assuming both penciling and inking duties, Conrad is taking over for fan-favorite artist Brett Booth.
Let’s put everyone’s worries to rest: Will Conrad proves himself a worthy successor. His is an art style that combines detailed realism seen in Eddy Barrows’ best issues of Nightwing with the kinetic energy of Booth’s pencils. Whether it’s a quiet character moment or an action-packed scene, the pages in this issue are beautiful. His layouts are pleasant and allow the reader to easily follow the story while still finding a way to be creative. These layouts are not as intricate (or amazing) as what J.H. Williams III might give us, but they are by no means simplistic. Andy Dalhouse continues as the series’ colorist, and his work makes the transition from Booth to Conrad go very smoothly.
Higgins slows things down for the first half of this issue to allow for some development of the story’s minor characters. We learn more about Dick’s roommates, Michael and Joey, and are given further insight into the relationship between Tony Zucco and Mayor Cole. We also get to see Dick exercise his detective skills, which is an aspect of the character which I always enjoy. Fret not action fans, as this issue ends with a bang. I find that the Prankster is characterized much like the Joker in The Dark Knight; he is a force of nature that revels in the mayhem he causes.
As much as I enjoyed Conrad’s art, there were a few panels where the faces looked a bit off. For example, though I was able to figure out what he was going for, the act of talking while chewing food does not translate well in a static image.
Higgins’ narrative is strong in this issue, but the story does not progress much as due to the aforementioned character moments.
A change in artists can’t stop the Nightwing train. Will Conrad delivers a great debut issue, and Kyle Higgins continues his mastery of the former Boy Wonder. Nightwing continues to be one DC title that everyone should be reading.