Review: Nightwing #21

[Editor’s Note: This review may contain spoilers]

Writer: Michael McMillian

Artist: Christian Duce



Dick and Wally West catch up in this issue for a night of bromance, crime-fighting, and manipulation of space-time. The lads try use the downtime to regroup and move forward from the troubles they’ve had in both of their lives, giving them a good excuse to catch up. All the while a new arms trade has begun to fester in the city, and advanced alien weaponry has wound up in the hands of the newest generation of petty criminals.



This issue is a fun and relaxed installment in the Nightwing story so far. The previous arc delved into some dark subject matter before it ended and now it’s nice to be taken back to a calm, more optimistic starting point for a new story. The brevity is delivered in the form of Wally West, the fastest man in the room, probably, depending on the room and what universe/timeline it exists within. Wally has had a tough ride recently, what with being erased from existence for a little while there and generally feeling pretty lonely after things failed to work out with Linda. So, he has sought out his ole’ buddy Dick and they’re hitting the town for club sodas, pirate movies, and a little bit of vigilante justice just to get their nightly fix.

There’s lots of witty dialogue throughout the little team up, with throwbacks to the characters’ previous incarnations, showing some self-awareness when Dick quips about how many jokes he’s heard about his name. All in all, the two made for a very happy couple of BFFs as they flirted with girls and punched a bad guy called Timebomb (or The Skipper, if you prefer, which I do). Timebomb freezes time within a given space, like a street or a room, and then steals everything and leaves before allowing time to “restart”. His bounty includes a child’s half-eaten hot-dog and some guy’s shoes. Clearly, this is a job for a ninja trained by the Batman and a dude who can rip a hole in time with his legs. But this issue isn’t meant to be a dramatic, momentous occasion and as far as chilled-out, street-level stories go, this is one with lots of snap and charm to keep you entertained.



Timebomb’s dialogue is a little offbeat, hitting out with lines like “ridic” and “come at me bro”. I don’t know if I could take “come at me bro” seriously in any context, especially when the person shouting it is trying to punch a man dressed in a red latex suit. This isn’t so much a complaint about this specific issue but villain-of-the-week stories in general; the bad guy should be the best part of every story, rather than just an obstacle to tackle before the characters can develop any further, and unfortunately Timebomb was pretty forgettable here. The issue sets up potential for some more substantial conflict, and perhaps the threat of Tiger Shark will develop into an antagonist with real gravity, but we’ll have to wait and see.



This issue provides a relaxed, irreverent but still fun and overall enjoyable beginning to a new arc. The chemistry between Wally and Dick is a crowd-pleaser, however it’s the strongest hook this book has to offer without a substantial villain…YET.