The Nightwing train has had six outstanding issues free from the worries of the Bat Family of books, which means the next stop is another crossover spearheaded from Scott Snyder’s “Zero Year” arc over in Batman. One might question the rationale of putting out an issue starring Dick Grayson before his parents take a dirt nap, but “rational” and “DC editorial decisions” rarely go hand in hand. Tasked with writing duties is the always-eloquent Kyle Higgins joined by the artistic duet of Will Conrad and Cliff Richards.
Kyle Higgins is able to craft a fairly compelling narrative about Dick Grayson before all the “cool stuff” happens in his life. Dick’s skill in the circus ring and personal relationships are fleshed out in a manner that has rarely been touched upon in the character’s 70-plus year history. Young Dick is presented in a manner that makes the audience believe that Batman would see his potential and take him as a partner in crime-fighting. The story—which features Dick and a few other kids trying to survive in the blackout in Gotham City—showcases the foundation which will allow Dick to become one of the most respected heroes and leaders of the DCU. A threat also presents itself in the form of a character that will make longtime ‘Wingnuts smile.
The art by Conrad and Richards is by no means bad. In fact, it’s actually quite good. Though their styles are similar, Richards’ rougher linework makes Conrad’s cleaner style pop off the page and stand out. However, the differences in their art ultimately detracts from the overall reading experience.
As has been the case with most “Zero Year” tie-ins, this issue remains on the periphery of Scott Snyder’s Batman epic. Though the story is solid, one can’t help but feel this is unnecessary. After a wrapping up Nightwing’s first arc set in Chicago, this certainly appears to be a step backwards for the series.
Nightwing #25 is a solid, stand-alone issue that brings the title into another Batman-centric crossover. While entertaining, the issue stalls the forward momentum that this series had gained over the previous few installments. Luckily, the title returns to the Windy City next month as the legend of Dick Grayson continues.