[Editor’s Note: This review may contain spoilers]
Writer: Tim Seeley
Artist: Javier Fernandez, Chris Sotomayor
“I am The Pigeon. Avatar of Ishtar, Goddess of Sacrifice. I arrive in a cloud of Doves to Destroy monuments to all Gods but me.” – Tim Seeley, Nightwing #34 – Death from Above
In this climatic issue, Nightwing and Blockbuster bring the fight to Roland’s casino rooftop to stop Raptor and The Pigeon from poisoning Bludhaven with Blockbuster’s strength serum.
While Raptor and Nightwing punch through some of their emotional issues, the Run-Offs get to work containing the muscle-clad chaos swarming the Bludhaven Boardwalk, and Defacer comes to Nightwing’s aid in his fight against both their old friends and mentors.
This issue marks the end of Tim Seeley’s current Nightwing run. The past year and a half of Nightwing Rebirth has seen the execution of some fantastic stories and the introduction of great new characters like Fernandez and Seeley’s Raptor.
This issue wraps up Raptor’s current storyline as well as Roland Desmond and Tiger Shark (at least for the moment), while changing the dynamic of Dick and Shawn’s relationship moving forward, propping up opportunities for more interaction with the Run-Offs in the future.
Nightwing and Raptor’s final fight reaches some deep and emotional places. Both characters make one last attempt to convince the other of their perspective while they claw each other to bits, which comes across a little old fashioned and camp when you look at the squadrons of poison-laden pigeons flocking in the background.
Both masked men are mourning the loss of the same woman, Dick’s mother Mary. Dealing with that loss in two different (but similar) ways, through very different circumstances has brought the two of them together in a bitter, remorseful grudge match which plays out quite beautifully, and ends with an incredible right hook from a double-dosed Blockbuster.
The Run-Offs play a big part in stemming the flow of psychotic Mockbusters, utilizing the antidote engineered by Orca and spraying down the infected with Defacers paint cans. While the team enjoys some light-hearted moments with some quippy dialogue, Shawn scales Roland’s casino to take down the Pigeon and help Nightwing with his big fight.
Following the rooftop fight, any Dick and Shawn shippers in the audience will be heartbroken that Shawn doubles down on her break-up with Dick, but this time it’s all a little less hostile and she promises to be there for Nightwing as a vigilante ally. Its another bitter moment of closure for Nightwing, and serves to add to a dramatic and emotional issue.
Roland Desmond has played a significant role in the series so far, and unfortunately in this issue his final exchange with Nightwing feels a bit rushed. Doing the Simba/Mufasa routine on the rooftop with Dick, talking about running the whole city together before Nightwing pulls a fast one and cures him of his serum-induced illness (as well as his ability to turn super strong) didn’t feel like a satisfying conclusion for the relationship between the two characters.
Roland isn’t a good person, but he’s hardly evil and he does seem to have genuinely good intentions, he even acts quite selflessly in many situations. To put a pin in all that development and drop him into the scumbag villain pile is a bit of a let-down.
Tim Seeley’s final Nightwing Rebirth issue is an exciting, emotional and overall excellent story that gives a fitting conclusion to Raptor, Shawn Tsang and the Run-Offs. It delivers some heavy moments between Nightwing and the key players that will have a lasting impact on the characters in issues to come, and ends Seeley’s term as Nightwing’s writer on a wonderful note.