"Targets" (Part 3)
Writer: Marv Wolfman
Artists: Dan Jurgens (p), Norm Rapmund (i)
Publisher: DC Comics
Uh, excuse me, editors, publishers and even the creative team of this title, I think you people jumped a month and produced Nightwing #128 as #127. Would you mind checking up on it? Why this request? Well, it's just that two-thirds through this issue I was scratching my head trying to make some heads and tails out of what was happening here, and where in blazes did I miss one issue? Seeing as I have not only read but also reviewed both Nightwing #125 and #126, that particular option does not come into play. In fact, out of the last ten issues (i.e. right from after the OYL jump) issues #122 and #123 are the only ones that I did not have my say on. This issue is so of out whack, so tangential in narration and writing than the previous two issues (the first two issues of this "Targets" arc) that I actually thought of checking if that rumored Nightwing Annual came out, the one that is/was supposed to deal with the whole "engagement" bit at the end of Nightwing #117.
Starting with the cover, throughout the whole issue (right until the last page) Nightwing tries to break out from the live burial that he is given courtesy of the iPod Man. (Sounds like a Microsoft advertisement, doesnít it? ďDonít listen to Appleís I-Pod, lest you all become psycho killer.Ē) Uh, okay, so I donít have a future in the Ad Industry but I do have enough sense in understanding a "told backwards" story, but not an "ass backwards" one (as this issue illustrated). Everything here is in flashback, be it Nightwingís visit to the Raptorís widow, to his getting his butt kicked, to his channeling Batman or at least the very first lesson that the Caped Crusader taught him), to Dick Graysonís latest attempt and surprise failure at getting some hot Latino nookie. Thatís what you get for dropping your clothes before the first date. While on the plus side, we donít have the "moping over Barbara" Dick, we do, however, have the "hallucinating over Starfire, Barbara, Huntress, Clancy, Tarantula and that blonde chick he married" Dick (WHEW!). Thankfully, this time around, all this can be attributed to his mind playing tricks on him (due to the enclosed space and stale air) and not just the character being written as a wimpy nincompoop, as he has been done for, well, for almost FIVE years and that too oddly enough only in this title. Anywhere else, it was Tightwing (and not the Diarrhea-Wing that Devin Grayson and Bruce Jones wrote him as).
As for the identity of Mr. iPod and how he knows Dickís civilian identity, there are quite a few suspects. It could be the depressed-suicidal-genius JJ (though that would really surprise me), it could be that guy Jesse from the last issue (from the Gym scene), heck, it could even be Ryanís off and on boyfriend Jorge or even just any for-hire killer/assassin (though that would be too run-of-the-mill). Whoever it is, not only does he beat Dick left, right and center, he also makes off with or at least facilitates the stealing of the dead body of Jace Lorens, the Raptor. Unless they have something novel in mind (like siphoning off his blood or whatever is in it), it looks like the people who hired the iKiller (i.e. Mr. iPod) are just about to pull yet another old trick from the comic tome and stage a "comeback" for Lorens.
The art, like the writing, is all over the place. It swings wildly, going from detailed depictions of Dick digging his way out to barely passable scenes like those that Dick has with Lorensís widow and son. There is a very old feel that I get from this artwork and not old in the "mature" but old in the "belongs twenty years in the past" way.
In relation to the cover art, I am sure that I read "ETHAN" on the cover, so why is Christian Alamy (cover artist for issue #126) credited as the cover artist and not Ethan Van Sciver (whose signature is just as recognizable as his art style, if not more)? Come on people, I can make peace with the shoddy job that was done with pasting a "3" over last monthís "2" (the "2" is still visible underneath), but with both an Associate (Michael Siglain) and a full (Peter Tomasi) editor, is it too much to ask for to get things in order and, more importantly, correct?
Conclusion: Even though things get a bit together towards the end of this issue, there are still too many loose/forgettable ends here. Heck, even in a TPB read this particular "chapter" would distinguish itself as the odd man out.
You can find more reviews by Bruce Logan at www.xcave.net
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