SPOILER WARNING: This is still before Forever Evil… *sigh*
Kyle Higgins has been dealt quite a hand, with the unenviable task of writing Dick Grayson’s final days before his very public unmasking in Forever Evil #1. As the former Boy Wonder’s grim future looms closer, he must deal with the pressing matters at hand, namely the Mad Hatter, Mali the Mimic, and…his roommates! As many can attest, the latter of those can be enough of a handful without the addition of Jervis and Mali. Once again, bringing this issue to life is the artistic tag-team of Will Conrad and Cliff Richards.
Knowing what the future holds in store for a character can cause the present to feel irrelevant. That said, Kyle Higgins does an admirable job of making this story seem important. It’s nice to see some progress between Dick and his two roommates, Michael and Joey, while Nightwing’s adversary, Mali, remains a mystery. The two scenes with Joey are particularly well written; each character brings passion to the table as they argue over standards of apartment cleanliness. This is strong work from Higgins.
Then there’s the matter of Mad Hatter and Mali. With Hatter referring to Mali as his “Alice,” the diminutive Gothamite appeared poised to be this arc’s main baddie. The subsequent shift in dynamics—making Hatter a pawn to Mali’s own machinations—further adds to the mystery of the character. There is a moment when she and Nightwing are discussing her connection to Hatter and her personality changes multiple times. Unpredictability is making her one of the rising characters in Nightwing’s supporting cast.
Will Conrad’s art is once again a highlight of this title. The action sequences that open the issue are beautifully choreographed. If he can start delivering full issues on a regular basis, he could become one of DC’s top artists.
Once more, Will Conrad requires the help of Cliff Richards to finish this issue. It’s a shame because Conrad’s work on this title has been, and continues to be, sublime. The same cannot be said for Richards’ art. He adds a lot of unnecessary lines to characters’ faces, which happen to be elongated under his pen.
With Nightwing’s identity exposed in the pages of Forever Evil #1, the issue’s cliffhanger, in which his secret identity may be compromised, rings hollow. Taking a step back, it appears that DC’s big event has undermined Higgins’ plans for Dick Grayson. No matter what threats are thrown his way, readers know that he will survive unscathed until the series catches up with the “master plan.”
Nightwing #27 is a solid issue for DC’s resident acrobat. Higgins and the art team do their best to entertain, though the specter of Forever Evil and its ramifications for the titular character loom large overhead. In fact, the rating would be higher if not for the Crime Syndicate mucking around in the main event. While this may be unfair, it’s an unfortunate side effect that happens in the world of comics. To that end, the here-and-now of Dick Grayson’s saga remains a quality read, and should be picked up for anyone that likes Nightwing.
Nightwing #27 is available at your local comic book store and digitally at www.Comixology.com.