[Editor’s Note: This review may contain spoilers]
Writer: Tim Seeley
Artist: Javier Fernandez, Chris Sotomayor, Miguel Mendonca, Diana Egea
In the depths of the old Spyral Headquarters, caught in another villain’s trap, Nightwing learns the true identity of Tiger King’s impersonator – Mr. Minos, The Man with The Labyrinth Face.
The Huntress and the Skullgirls (Janni, Bryce, & Paris) regroup with Lotti Duff, the St. Hadrian’s student who saved the Skullgirls from Mr Minos inside attack on Spyral.
Back in Bludhaven, Shawn ‘Defacer’ Tsang rescues her friend and fellow Run-Offs member Pamela ‘Mouse’ Sweigeld from making a terrible mistake and taking on Roland Desmond AKA Blockbuster in a grief-fueled revenge plot. Shawn’s decision to help one friend slights another, and her former mentor Pigeon grows impatient with the semi-sorta-reformed Defacer.
In this issue, Nightwing spends some more time chained up, except this time he’s got a funky doo-dah on his noggin’ and Mr. Minos doesn’t use safe-words. There is an amazing face-off between Nightwing and Minos filled with witty trash-talk and compelling Supervillain breakdowns. This sequence boasts some beautiful, sinister artwork capturing Minos’ warping facial expressions.
Also beautifully drawn was Huntress and Nightwing’s cerebral thought exchange via the Spyral Neural Interface, which is the kind of sci-fi tomfoolery I adore when it looks right – like it does in this issue.
The dialogue is also brilliant in this issue, especially in the showdown between Nightwing and Minos. Ole’ Dick hits the android with some pretty heavy existential smack-talk to crash is operating system, and Minos returns with some incredibly moving prose about his robotic fears of a meaningless existence and death like the climax of Westworld. Not to keep harping on about sci-fi tropes that I love but I love rogue, emotional, and ultimately doomed robots like Mr. Minos and his tragic lack of identity is wonderfully handled in this issue.
The tragedies extend far beyond St. Hadrian’s School in England however. Shawn Tsang reconsiders some of her recent decisions in light of what happened with Mouse and Blockbuster. What could have been a wonderfully positive turning point for Defacer turned to sheer heartache, as she comes to realize quite unfortunately that her relationship with Dick Grayson might not be so easily salvaged. Shawn has been such a relatable character throughout this series, and her pain is definitely felt in this issue. However, will she be able to turn this sorrow to anger without the help of Pigeon? It’s a wonderful twist in this emotional subplot, and I’m pleased to see it gain some traction in this issue.
I have no real negatives for this issue. I do have a query about whether or not I was supposed to be laughing when Pigeon monologues about monuments, but I do not expect an answer.
The Spyral Finale is one of the strongest issues of the series. The dialogue between Nightwing and Mr. Minos is stellar, as it is generally across the whole issue. The artwork on Mr. Minos is fantastic, and the shifty-faced rob’t might just be my favourite villain to appear in this Nightwing series after how well he was utilized in this issue. Moreover, the Defacer/Run-Offs subplot is only becoming more and more compelling as its members become increasingly vulnerable and relatable.