Before Benjamin Percy begins his run on Nightwing we have another one-shot story with Michael Moreci taking his turn at writing a story. I’m not familiar with Moreci’s past work but seeing as both Arsenal and Robin are featured on the cover of Nightwing #43 is exciting. Given that Arsenal and Nightwing aren’t on great terms right now over on Titans, it’ll be interesting to see how their friendship is tackled. Having Robin along for the ride does give us a wild card for this one-shot story that hopefully Moreci taps into the potential of. Let’s find that out right now with Nightwing #43.
Writer: Michael Moreci
Artist: Minkyu Jung
Colorist: Felipe Sobreiro
Story Rating: 6 Night Girls out of 10
Art Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 6.5 Night Girls out of 10
Synopsis: Dick Grayson is trying to have a “Netflix and chill” night but gets a call from Damian Wayne. Damian asks for Dick’s help in fighting the League of Assassins. At the same time Arsenal sends Dick a couple texts asking for help as well. Dick decides to get his Nightwing gear and go help them both out.
In Gotham City, Nightwing and Robin work together to fight off the League of Assassins. Once the ninjas are taken care off Arsenal shows up too late. Robin wonders why Nightwing invited Arsenal. Arsenal and Robin start arguing about who is more Nightwing’s “Bro.”
Suddenly more League of Assassins ninjas attack. Nightwing, Robin and Arsenal fight their way through all the ninjas. They are then confronted by Cheshire, who is revealed to be the leader of the ninjas.
Arsenal tries to act shocked Cheshire is their but he is called out by Nightwing and Robin for possibly recruiting them to help him out with his ex-girlfriend. Before revealing anything Cheshire and her ninjas disappear.
Robin and Arsenal start arguing again about who let Cheshire escape. Nightwing quickly gets them focused on the situation at hand. Arsenal reveals he learned that the League is creating some sort of super-weapon. Nightwing realizes Cheshire’s attack was a decoy for whatever the League of Assassins real plan is.
At Gotham Labs the League of Assassins activate a weapon that sends a large green energy beam into the sky of Gotham City.
Seeing this from the pier, Arsenal says that the League is trying to make Gotham City’s air unbreathable. Nightwing admits he dropped the ball on this for falling for the League of Assassins decoy plan. He then says that it is time to make things right.
Back at Gotham Labs, Nightwing sneaks his way in and takes out the League of Assassin ninjas he comes across from the shadows. He then leads Robin and Arsenal to the main lab were the energy beam is being released. Nightwing tells Arsenal and Robin to leave the ninjas to him.
Nightwing confronts Cheshire and the League of Assassins alone and starts fighting them all. As he fights them alone Arsenal is able to reach the control panel for the weapon and has Robin back him up as ninjas attack him.
While Cheshire is able to knock Nightwing down she calls him out for letting his friends be in a position to be killed. Nightwing smiles and kicks Cheshire into the weapon. The excess energy ends up paralyzing Cheshire.
Nightwing is then able to take out the energy core for the weapon. He throws it up into the sky and has Arsenal destroy it with a special arrow.
With things done Nightwing admits that things shouldn’t of gotten as far as they did if he was completely focused on what they were doing from the start. Arsenal and Robin say that they wouldn’t of been successful without Nightwing’s help. Arsenal even says he owes Nightwing one. Nightwing decides to take Arsenal up on his favor right away.
The next night in Bludhaven Arsenal and Robin fight off some thugs as Nightwing watches while eating some popcorn. After that is taken care of Nightwing tells Arsenal and Robin about other things they need to do in Bludhaven. End of issue.
The Good: As a standalone story Michael Moreci delivers a fun comic with Nightwing #43. Moreci takes full advantage of his shot at writing Nightwing by showing how much the character puts on himself even on what should’ve been a night off. Having Arsenal and Robin along for the ride made the story even better. Though there was some continuity issues that does questionably come into play for the story’s effectiveness.
Setting up the story of Nightwing #43 with Dick Grayson trying to have a rare night off is a good tone setter. This allowed Moreci to explore what happens when hero isn’t 100% into his superhero responsibilities. Even though we still saw Nightwing be a badass fighter with how easily he, along with Robin, took out the League of Assassins it was clear he wasn’t into it at the beginning of the issue. Moreci got across how Nightwing just wanted to finish the League of Assassins off as quickly as possible without thinking of them having a bigger plot in mind. That led to Nightwing realizing that he can’t just tackle his superhero responsibilities without being 100% invested.
Having Arsenal and Robin along for this mission added to the weight that Nightwing puts on his shoulders. Both Arsenal and Robin did a good job of making Nightwing realize this isn’t all on him since they didn’t know what exactly was going on. Since they both technically called Nightwing for help it was also on them for not knowing what the League of Assassins super-weapon was.
Moreci also did a good job with getting across how Arsenal and Robin’s personalities clash. Seeing the two try to call themselves the best “bro” for Nightwing gave Moreci a lot of opportunity to inject comedy into this issue. The comedy never went overboard as it fit with the personalities of Arsenal and Robin. Having Nightwing and Robin call Arsenal out at possibly recruiting them to help him with an ex-girlfriend was the best bit of comedy in this issue.
Minkyu Jung once again delivered solid artwork for Nightwing #43. He did a good job providing an anime aesthetic to the issue that fits with the fact we got to see Nightwing and company fighting the League of Assassins. Given that this was an action heavy issue Jung kept the issue moving forward and showed how much of a badass fighter Nightwing is.
The Bad: The opening of Nightwing #43 was extremely odd as it made Dick Grayson look like an old man trying to understand technology. Given that Dick is still supposed to be now be no older than his mid-twenties he should not struggle with what “Netflix and chill” is. There are much better ways to show that he is having a hard time relaxing than trying to make him look this way. Something like Dick just getting home from his normal day job or trying to go on a date would’ve been better way to get it across to the reader he is trying to have normal day off from superhero work.
Also, while it was fun to see Nightwing team-up with Arsenal and Robin it was odd to see the Roy acting so happy go-lucky in this issue. Given that there are some major problems right now between Nightwing and Arsenal this doesn’t exactly sync up with recent events. Arsenal’s character in general felt off given how he is currently being portrayed in more of “me against the world” mentality over in Titans. This felt more like the Arsenal of a previous continuity since he had zero chip on his shoulder.
Having Cheshire as the main antagonist did not help things either. Since she is currently being used over in the current Titans arc we know that she has a very bad past with Arsenal that just got worse. Seeing Arsenal try to play it cool in front of her was another thing that just felt off given what we know of their relationship. That problem made Cheshire look even weaker since she and the League of Assassins plot was so public that it didn’t align with the groups shadowy operation. The public way they did things just made them easy targets to be taken out by our heroes.
Overall: Nightwing #43 isn’t a comic book that will blow anyone away but is a fun one-shot story. This isn’t an issue that you need to think about on a deep level. Trying to look deeper into what connections Nightwing #43 has to the greater DC Universe will only ruin your experience. Instead, this is a comic that you just need to just enjoy seeing how the rare mix of Nightwing, Robin and Arsenal tackle a mission together. If you approach it that way you’ll find yourself greatly enjoying Nightwing #43.