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Nightwing #150

Posted: Friday, November 14, 2008
By: Dave Baxter

Peter J. Tomasi
Don Kramer, Jay Leisten (i), Rodney Ramos (i), Hi-Fi (c)
DC Comics
Plot: After failing to save Harvey Dentís old flame from Harvey Dent himself (or his villainous other-half-of-his-body alter-ego Two Face), Nightwing squares off with a Bat nemesis reborn, who now holds a mother of a grudge. A super-sized anniversary issue that packs one helluva epic throwdown punch.

Eloquent Commentary: I was a huge fan of Peter Tomasiís The Light Brigade, but Iíll admit his mainstream DC books have been underwhelming. His Black Adam mini was light on the nuance and his Nightwing has been just plumb odd. Not that the stories have been experimental or trailblazing or the like, but the subject matter, pacing, and ultimate plot progressions have struck me as arbitrary, and rather flailing to find steady ground. Which I suppose is fitting for Tomasiís thus-far two arcs titled ďFreefallĒ and ďThe Great Leap."

Here we come to the big finale ďLeap," with the inevitable return of an ex-villain as a true-blue bad guy again. Two Face, under Tomasiís pen, is a solid antagonist, if an overly histrionic and therefore, at times, obnoxious one. He rants, with himself, but admittedly the writer offers up some impressive terrorist-like schemes that Mr. Face unleashes against the city to get at Mr. Batman, Jr. Tomasi also plays well with the history between the two: the near death that Dick suffered, in his early days as Robin, at the hands of Harvey. This big-sized treat reads like an old-school annual, like a great stand alone yarn with a fistful of over-the-top wild pulp action wonderment. Dirigibles play a big part. For anyone whoís seen The Rocketeer, you know how wonderful dirigibles can be in a super-hero smash-and-bash.

That said, ďThe Great LeapĒ has not been a worthwhile story. There was no desperate need to bring Dent back to status quo (as no one had even explored the possibilities of his semi-reformed condition), and while a rematch with Dick as an adult was an intriguing concept, itís only broached in passing, and not the core impetus of the conflict at hand. Issue #150ís a thrilling stand alone, but taken as part of a larger story itís just a good conclusion to a lackluster and capricious arc that still, for all its content, feels like filler.

Art team Don Kramer, Jay Leisten, Rodney Ramos, and good olí Hi-Fi steal the show entirely, with some spectacular aerial acrobatic sequences, lots of fisticuffs, brooding, and casual violence galore. On a visual level, this is good comics.

Final Word: Iíll rate this one higher than any Tomasi scribed issue of Nightwing yet, but this isnít to say it gives me hope for better beyond. This book has been rootless since Infinite Crises (heís with Babs, he isnít; itís Jason Todd, itís not; Dickís a major player in the whole Monitors scenario of post 52 DC, but letís just never bring it up againÖsay what?), and with post RIP right around the corner, God only knows what ridiculous upheavals are in store. If the series could have produced more issues like #150, Iíd have faith, but so far, this oneís just a spike of satisfying on a flatline of a run.

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