Almost there… almost there. Higgins’s Nightwing writing is improving by leaps and bounds. Though the soft cliffhanger is weak and there’s a big irregularity in the timeline (Dick’s parents were alive “five years ago,” meaning Batman’s been through three Robins in four years in the new DC universe?), it’s a decent issue.
Barrows and new co-penciller Eduardo Pansica help a lot. Though it’s still too static in the regular people talking scenes, there are some good pages in this issue. One sequence has Dick tripping out and hallucinating; it looks great.
As far as the plot goes, it’s still old Robin comics recycled, but Higgins earnestly presents it all. Sure, Dick probably won’t take over day-to-day control of a circus and be Nightwing in his off hours, but this issue convincingly presents it as a possibility.
I’m almost onboard, but still wary–Higgins hasn’t exactly proven himself reliable.
Oh, silly rich people, you think you’ll ever kill Slade? He has such a cool name. Slade.
This issue of Deathstroke is better than and worse than the previous ones. Higgins has some story, but really… it doesn’t matter. Deathstroke is out to kill someone for something, probably money. But he runs into a seemingly deathless opponent and yada yada.
The issue moves because of the fight scenes, which are very long and badly done. Bennett’s proportions on Deathstroke make me wonder if this comic’s for the Cable audience. Bennett flirts with the Liefeld school of anatomy on occasional, or he just doesn’t know how to draw someone crouching.
There’s also Deathstroke’s sidekick, his Q. He shows up for some banter. It’s not terrible banter either.
The fight scenes make the book pass quickly and the cliffhanger’s not too terrible.
Either Deathstroke is less loathsome or I’m a tad disinterested.
Nightwing might be a little better. I mean, not a lot, but a little. Barrows, for example, gets positively ambitious when it comes to page layouts. Maybe he’s been reading some eighties Batman, since Higgins is still ripping them off.
Two big developments this issue—first, Dick Grayson now owns Haly’s Circus. Not sure if he owns the pre-Flashpoint Haley’s Circus too, or just the one with the inexplicably changed name. Second, Haly’s Circus has a secret.
Now, I’m pretty sure Dick once owned Haly’s in the eighties and, if he didn’t, he at least solved its big secret. It’s a shame DC didn’t just reprint the old eighties Robin backups covering the same material, as the art and writing were, you know, good.
Another strange element is all the gratuitous sex in the new DC Universe. Dick hooks up with a bimbo. Yippee.
Still, better than last issue.
I’ll get to the horrors of Deathstroke in a minute, but first I wanted to cover one of the issue’s revelations about the new DC Universe. Its cable news network is apparently called DCNN. You know, DC News Network.
This “Easter egg” is the kind of lame detail from a bad superhero startup press in the nineties. Shared universe and all that nonsense.
Okay, on to the issue. I’m not being uncomplimentary enough and it’s boring me.
The cover to this issue makes it look like Deathstoke might fight a Transformer.
He doesn’t. He fights a boring guy in a suit for a page. A page is enough, since it at least doesn’t go on long enough for Higgins to write dialogue.
The comic gets stupider this issue. Higgins can’t plot well either. The issue takes place over about ten minutes. All for three bucks.
Deathstroke‘s terrible; let’s move on.
From the cover of Nightwing, it looks like DC’s employing everyone in the Rob Liefeld school of not understanding human anatomy. Of course, at least Eddy Barrows gets a little better in the comic itself. Not much, but a little.
The problem with the book isn’t Barrows, of course. It’s Kyle Higgins. He read some Batman comics from the seventies and eighties and he’s regurgitating the Dick Grayson Robin backups and DC’s calling it “new.”
Worse than the predictable plotting is the narration. Higgins’s first person narration for Dick Grayson is badly written, more than a little moronic and also fails to make Dick likable. He seems rather inane from his narration; I don’t think he has a single interesting observation.
Nightwing might be my least favorite DC relaunch book so far. Higgins is trying to turn Dick Grayson into Peter Parker at times. It’s uninspired and just plain dumb.
DC Comics, as a major publisher, “proudly presents” Deathstroke? Really?
First off, the writing. Let me get through it. Kyle Higgins isn’t as bad as some of the writers DC has on the New 52. Oh, sure, he’s really lame and can’t write dialogue, but at least he tries. He does try to sound conversational and not declarative. He even succeeds. He writes bad conversational dialogue. He’s leagues better than the guys who can’t write like anything but Frank Miller knockoffs.
But he can’t plot either, maybe because the concept would require some understanding of the human condition to succeed.
And the art? Joe Bennett is a diet Ed McGuinness; he doesn’t sell the forced style. Plus, his references are all Marvel—both J. Jonah Jameson and the Vulture cameo in the book.
Maybe Deathstroke’s all supposed to be a joke.
Even if it is… it’s a bad one.