Comic Book Review: Nightwing #120: One Year Later

The Revolution liked the first issue of the “One Year Later” storyline in Nightwing. I wasn’t thrilled that he was being moved back to NYC. But, I thought the storyline with Jason Todd had lots of possibilities. Plus, I thought that Nightwing was harboring some interesting secrets from the missing year. Well, unfortunately, this title has turned out to be as interesting as a busted low-rider full of fat chicas. On to the review.

Creative Team
Writer: Bruce Jones
Penciler: Paco Diaz
Inkers: Bit & Nathan Massengill

Art Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10.
Story Rating: 5 Night Girls out of 10.
Overall Rating: 6 Night Girls out of 10.

Synopsis: The issue starts with both Dick Grayson and Jason Todd in the Nightwing outfits patrolling the city. We see two flunkies for the Pierce Brothers driving a trailer truck. Their truck is hi-jacked by some other rival criminals. The one flunky for the Pierce brothers turns on the other one and kills him. Suddenly, Jason Todd is on the scene and he blows away one of the criminals. Jason starts kicks ass when Dick Grayson shows up and prevents Jason from killing any more of the criminals. Jason and Dick then brawl with each other.

We then cut to the Pierce brothers watching the fight between Jason and Dick on TV. In the room with them is the flunky that turned traitor on the Pierce brothers. A creepy little old man is also with them. The old man tells the Pierce brothers which Nightwing is the real one. He tells them that the imposter is brash and reckless and that those are not good qualities to have as a super hero. The old man says that the real Nightwing is deliberately holding back suggesting that the two Nightwings know each other. The old man says that to get rid of the real Nightwing, they should capture the imposter Nightwing. The Pierce Brothers pay the old man and thank him.

We then sift to Clancy getting off work. Dick Grayson then shows up to talk to her. They talk about Jason and that he may have a hero complex when it comes to Dick. Clancy then says that Dick is happier when he is not being Nightwing and maybe with Jason on the scene, Dick has subconsciously considered retiring.

We then cut to a paperboy on the street corner yelling “Two Nightwings terrorize Manhattan!” (That was cheesy!) We see Cheyenne designing to push ahead with their Nightwing costume designs. Her assistant is worried that Nightwing might sue for copyright infringement. Cheyenne responds that there is no way Nightwing has patents. (Oh god, please tell me this comic has not been reduced to this type of storyline.)

We then see Dick in the dressing room telling Cheyenne that he doesn’t want to wear the Nightwing outfit. That is a cheap publicity stunt. But, Dick capitulates and next thing we see is Dick on the runway at the fashion show in Cheyenne’s barely re-designed Nightwing outfit. In the crowd is Jason Todd who stands up clapping and yelling “Bravo!” to Dick. Dick then flies off the runway and punches Jason and we officially have a braaaaaawwl!. Dick tells Jason to stay away from Cheyenne. Jason tells Dick that if he lets him go then they will end this his way soon. That if Dick captured Jason then Jason’s “friends” will kill all of Dick’s friends. (Huh? So Jason now has flunkies that do his bidding? What?)

We then cut to Cheyenne’s assistant calling Cheyenne and telling her than Dick has quit. Cheyenne is in Dick’s neighborhood trying to reach him to get him to change his mind. Nobody answers the door at Dick’s apartment, so Cheyenne uses her energy powers to blast the lock off the door. As she walks into the apartment, she sees Dick in his Nightwing costume jumping out of his window. Suddenly, Dick’s phone rings and it is Jason leaving a message that there is a jewelry heist in progress and for Dick to hurry up and get there.

We cut to Jason hanging up the phone. Jason is about to put his mask on when the small creepy man who was meeting with the Pierce brothers appears. Meanwhile, Dick appears at the Jewelry store and confronts the jewel thieves. Cheyenne then shows up and blasts on of the thieves who has his gun pulled on Nightwing. Dick knows that Cheyenne knows he is Nightwing. And now, Dick knows that Cheyenne has super powers.

We then cut back to Jason Todd and the creepy old man. The old man transforms into some big hideous monster and attacks Jason. End of issue.

The Good: Well, I don’t know what to say positive about the writing on this issue. So, let’s just move onto the art. I like the art in this issue. My hermano, Paco Diaz, throws down some nice pencils. The inking is also well done. Diaz draws a good Nightwing. Plus, Diaz draws great facial expressions. It allows the reader to get more involved in the story. I also like the layout of the art. It is very creative and well done. There is plenty of variety and it makes the comic nice to look at.

The Bad: The writing is just doing nothing for me. This One Year Later storyline has completely fizzled for me. I find almost none of the plotlines interesting.

I don’t think that the Pierce brothers are interesting villains at all. They have a generic feel to them. And if a comic book doesn’t have good strong villains then it will usually fail.

I’m not thrilled with Dick Grayson being back in New York. Plus, I have never been a real big fan of Clancy. Having Dick back in NYC makes it feel like this title is regressing back to where it was at the beginning rather than evolving and moving forward.

The entire fashion storyline is just horrible. Like I want to read about whether Nightwing would sue over some type of copyright or patent infringements relating to his costume. C’mon. And I’m not really finding Cheyenne to be very interesting. It isn’t a problem with the character, so much as a problem with the writing. Jones has not done anything to really flesh her out or give her much of a person or a reason for the reader to care about her.

This title just seems to be meandering about with absolutely no coherent direction or purpose. This issue had very little flow. The transitions between scenes was abrupt and choppy.

The entire Dick Grayson v. Jason Todd storyline is going nowhere. It has become completely bogged down. At first, I had a huge interest in this storyline, but now I don’t really care. The main reason for that is that Jones has done a terrible job with Jason Todd. Judd Winick did a great job with the Jason Todd as Red Hood character. He was much deeper, more complex and tragically tormented. I really liked that character. It was up there with the Winter Soldier over in Captain America. But, Jones has reduced Jason to a one dimensional psychopath that isn’t even remotely interesting. What a huge waste of potential. The Jason Todd as Red Hood character was great and had plenty of potential. The DC Universe could have had their own Winter Soldier to turn loose on the DC Universe. Instead, DC is totally wasting the Jason Todd character. Jones has really ruined Jason Todd. It is a total shame.

I don’t know how much longer I can stay with this title. I don’t see any hope of it getting any better in the near future. That art is fine. What needs to be changed is the writer. Nightwing is a character with a long and storied history and of great pedigree. It is a shame to see him languishing on such a poor title. DC needs to get a talented writer who has a love for this character to take over this title and to get it back on track. Dick Grayson deserves that.