Writer: Chuck Dixon
Artist: Derec Donovan, Guy Major (colors)
Publisher: DC Comics
Chuck Dixon is my All-Time favorite Nightwing writer, and as good as Marv Wolfman is, I still miss Chucky-days on the Ďwingster. I for one am always ready for any story penned by Dixon, one of the most underrated and underappreciated writers (anywhere). In addition, Connor Hawke is easily my favorite archer. I'm not a particular fan of any of the bow-ní-arrow types, and I blame Judd Winnick and Scott McDaniel for making me buy the Green Arrow title. I blame them for writing and visualizing stories that make me actually look forward (month after month) to Ollie Queen and his rants. As for the other archers, the current Speedy (Mia Deardon) is my second favorite archer, and with Ollie in third position, there isnít any space left for any interest in other archers. The lowest most rung is occupied by Marvelís whatshisname Ollie ripoff Hawkface..., uh..., Hawkeye. My knowledge and interest in that character is so non-existent that Roy Harper seems like a star compared to him.
Anyways, even with my disdain of any of the twangy characters pulling me down, Chuck and Conner managed to find the mark (of interest), at least for this issue. The first of a six-issue mini, this issue is mainly a setup one. Along with establishing Connor and his supporting cast, it also introduces many of the players that will be seen in the upcoming months. Even though in the Green Arrow title Connor is still on the island where he took Ollie and Mia to, here he is shown to be elsewhere, most probably one of the retreats run/established by the monks he grew up with. If not for Ollieís costume (in the dream sequence), the timeline of this story would be in doubt.
Also showing up is Connor's close friend Eddie, the same Eddie who had appeared alongside him in his Green Arrow days. As always, Eddie is "street" to Connorís "naivetť." As such, even though he still comes across as a bit annoying (sometimes), the interaction between Eddie and Connor is as entertaining as before.
However, it is not until a third and new face, one Mr. Edison Hoon, shows up do things get really moving along. Starting with a flashback tale (involving Chinese mythology), Hoon extends to Connor an invitation to an archery contest that his employer is organizing. The same invitation is made to many other archers all over the world, and that is what the second half of the issue deals with.
The artwork (Derec Donovon, Guy Major) is an interesting mix of freshness and mature depth, one that flows along smoothly varying between the two as and when needed. Each character has his/her specific mannerisms and ambience, be it Connorís alternating moods or the suspect madness of the Bamboo Monkey or the showmanship of Tony Crowfoot.
Conclusion: Though not a blockbuster, for an opener this issue is more than acceptable. Maybe hardcore twine fans would find it more captivating, but even a passing fan such as yours truly was able to enjoy it enough to be back for the next issue.
You can find more reviews by Bruce Logan at www.xcave.net
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