Nightwing 9-11

Under The Spell Of The Scarecrow!

The stylized 'Nightwing' logo that appear on these issues of Nightwing have my vote for 'Best Nightwing Logo Ever'. Beautiful colors on the cover too and a balanced layout. Batgirl does not appear in this issue but I'm not complaining about her presence on the cover - it just adds to the 'Buy Me' effect. I had to do a double-take on the crying Nightwing though, he looks ten years old here. Still, this cover accomplishes its purpose: It makes me want to open the comic and read it.

This is issue no. 10 and we are in the middle of a story arc here. Issues 9 to 11 chronicle Nightwing's battle with  the Scarecrow, the fear-inducing fiend from Batman's rogues gallery. When you open the book you jump right into the middle of Dick Grayson's Scarecrow-induced hallucination.

Scott McDaniel's art melds perfectly to Chuck Dixon's storyline here. McDaniel rightfully gives each scene an 'Alice in Wonderland' vibe. What impresses me most is how he balances the art so that it feels cartoony without tipping over to the issue being a cartoon. Features and gestures are exaggerated, the scenery is a bit warped, panels are slightly lopsided, small panels get pasted on to page-wide splash covers, all of these add to the effect of the scenes being inside Dick's fevered dream. As a bonus the the women are drawn so fetchingly. Check out Selina (Catwoman), Donna (Wonder Girl) and Poison Ivy.

Nightwing : selina kyle Nightwing : donna troy Nightwing : poisonivy

Apart from the art is Chuck Dixon's dream sequence itself. You've heard of an elevator pitch right? Being able to get your point across to someone during the brief time you're both riding an elevator. Well, this dream/nightmare sequence is an elevator pitch that effectively gives readers a rundown of the Batman mythos and Nightwing's place in it. If this is the first Batman family comic you've picked up, some things in the dream sequence willl run past you, but if you've been reading for a a while, you'll enjoy the symbolism. Example: Dick Grayson lives in the suburbs and Bruce Wayne is his uber-successful neighbor. They're both in the the same line of work but  Dick is wondering why he's not as good as Bruce who 'makes it look so easy'. Or : At work Dick is informed that he will no longer be reporting to Bruce but to a new manager, Jean Paul Valley (hint : Azrael). 

This hallucination is being done to Nightwing by Scarecrow who wants to know what Nightwing fears the most. What comes out is Dick's insecurities. His worries about not being good enough like his mentor Bruce and the others like the new Robin (who shown here as sly and crafty) and Azrael, the inheritor of the Batman's mantle.  So is Dick a schizoid? No. These insecurities are normal and to be expected. You and I would have them if we were Nightwing - in fact we do feel such insecurities, in our own lives and the people that surround us (well at least I do). How many times have you ever felt threatened by a competitor, in business, love, sports or whatever? All this allows us to empathize with Nightwing and fleshes him out as an ever more 'real' person.

It's all good, this issue. The art and story come together wonderfully. It's nice just to thumb through the pages looking at this panel and that panel and looking at the cover and getting the feel of the complete issue. It's a labour of love, just like all exceptional comics, the creators made something worth treasuring.

Posted by  Pete Albano - July 4, 2011

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