Since taking over Benjamin Percy has taken Nightwing into the modern era by tackling something that people fear and ignore at the same time: the dark web. Nightwing is a lot of things, great detective, leader and fighter, that make him be considered as second only to Batman but Dick Grayson isn’t as tech proficient as Barbara Gordon and Tim Drake. Seeing Nightwing be put in a situation that has taken him out of his comfort zone has been refreshing. It has also given more character to Bludhaven as we finally are moving past it just being a dark casino town. Now let’s see how Dick Grayson handles someone hacking into his mind with Nightwing #46.
Writer: Benjamin Percy
Artists: Chris Mooneyham and Lalit Kumar Sharma
Inker: Klaus Janson and Scott Hanna
Colorist: Nick Filardi
Story Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10
Art Rating: 5 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 6.5 Night Girls out of 10
Synopsis: Dick Grayson throws up the spider-like device called Phantasm was using to cause him to see digital holograms and was analyzing his body. Dick moves quickly past the Wyrm’s digital phantom to destroy the device in his apartment that has created a digital hologram.
He then jumps out the window to get away from what is going on. Before Dick hits the ground Batgirl shows up and catches him.
Dick sees Wyrm sending a digital tidal wave to try to control both him and Batgirl. Dick opens a manhole where he and Batgirl can escape from Wyrm’s signal for all his devices.
While going to Dick’s underground base Batgirl mentions that after she looked into the Mirage company she found out things that even made her think about destroying her phone. Batgirl then talks about how Mirage was an online psychoanalytics company and their sole investor was from the dark web, who now is funding Bludhaven’s redevelopment.
Dick and Batgirl go inside his new base of operations. Dick then mentions he has one of the Wyrm’s devices but when he looks it is not in his hand anymore. Batgirl realizes something and knocks Dick out with shock punch.
At Judge Richard Matterhorn, the judge watches as news reports of compromising videos being released about him. As Vicki Vale mentions that the interim mayor is going to have a game-changing press conference Judge Matterhorn kills himself. A Wyrm then suddenly comes out of the TV.
Nightwing wakes up in his costume and wearing a special inhibitor visor that will let him see the real world as it really is which Batgirl created since she can’t get the device out of his head.
Nightwing asks Batgirl to run a specific search on the Phantasm. As Batgirl does that Nightwing gets a call from Detective Svoboba and learns about Judge Matterhorn’s death. Batgirl finishes her investigation and finds the targets all went to the same 9th grade high school and locks in on Willem Cloke as the next target.
Outside the former Warehouse District in Bludhaven Willem is giving a speech about the Phantasm device that Mirage has created. As Willem talks about all the improvements the Phantasm can make to daily lives Barbara Gordon joins the crowd where most journalists are located.
Meanwhile Nightwing goes into the Mirage’s headquarters to figure out exactly is going on. Nightwing is then spotted by a group called the Terminals who quickly surround him.
At the same time the Russian Sisterhood attack the press conference, taking Willem and the interim mayor hostage. End of issue.
The Good: Benjamin Percy has quickly established his run on Nightwing as a title you’ll want to keep coming back to pick up month after month. Nightwing #46 is further proof of that. With a threat that could be even bigger if Nightwing doesn’t stop it and fun interactions with Batgirl, Percy tapped into the potential of Dick Grayson’s solo adventures in Bludhaven.
As with the previous issues, Percy continues to do a good job portraying Nightwing with old school tendencies. That is something that Nightwing #46 highlights once again as Batgirl calls him out on. While this is usually an eye rolling plot point Percy has made it a fun character trait for Nightwing. Because rather than present Nightwing as stuck in the past, these old school tendencies are portrayed as a way to ground him as a hero even in such dark situations. This in a way pushes the idea that Nightwing is a character that bridges the previous generation with the current generation of heroes.
This character trait made the challenge presented by Mirage’s Phantasm Wyrm an even bigger threat. Because unlike past threats Nightwing has been taken out of his comfort zone of just using his detective and fighting skills to take down the villain of the story. This time around he has to constantly figure out how to actually be a step ahead of the game.
Making the Mirage company’s threat even bigger is the fact that Percy is integrating them to be possible big players within Bludhaven’s infrastructure. Seeing the presentation that was given that showed what Mirage brings to the city it shows the potential of the great and horrible things that they could do. Unfortunately for Nighwing and the city they are looking to be yet another company looking to take advantage of people for their own nefarious goals.
Nightwing being taken out of his comfort zone made Batgirl’s appearance have greater importance than just being a random guest appearance. Percy does a great job tapping into the natural chemistry Nightwing and Batgirl share. Percy does just enough to show that there is sexual tension between the two but never just hangs on that fact. Instead there is a quick line from Batgirl that gets that across and then we move forward with the rest of the story. Taking that approach made Nightwing and Batgirl’s chemistry come off as being natural and makes the reader want to see them interact in more comics.
The Bad: The story presented in Nightwing #46 was enjoyable. Unfortunately the artwork wasn’t always up to elevating the story further. There were times where certain characters facial features changed from panel to panel. The style was just not as pleasing to see when reading this issue multiple times. The only time the art looked great was when we saw the Wyrms. Those were the only characters that actually fit the style of art we got.
Overall: Nightwing #46 continues a solid trend of comics for this series that is quickly solidifying Benjamin Percy’s run that is just beginning. Percy has developed a story that feels like a personal attack on Nightwing while having larger ramifications if Bludhaven’s hero doesn’t stop Mirage’s Phantasms. That along with some fun interactions with Batgirl makes Nightwing #46 a issue fans don’t want to miss out on.