So far Benjamin Percy first story arc for his run on Nightwing has been solid. Percy has taken a bit of a different direction for Bludhaven as he is turning the city from being a casino town to the central hub of new technology. This new technology that is taking over Bludhaven has given Nightwing a new type of challenge that he can’t simply solve by fighting or good old fashion detective work. Thankfully Nightwing has Batgirl to watch his back against this new high tech foe. Now can Nightwing overcome a villain he can’t necessarily knock out? Let’s find out with Nightwing #47.
Writer: Benjamin Percy
Artist: Chris Mooneyham
Inker: Klaus Janson
Story Rating: 6 Night Girls out of 10
Art Rating: 5 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 5.5 Night Girls out of 10
Synopsis: Nightwing uses the special visor Batgirl created for him to see through the Terminals’ robots hologram disguises. They all end up attacking him.
At the Bludhaven 2.0 press conference the Russian Sisterhood take everyone hostage. Willem Cloke is target by the group. Before they shoot him Willem turns the controllers the Russian Sisterhood to cause different horrifying holograms.
Barbara Gordon contact Nightwing about how bad things are getting at the press conference.
At the same time Nightwing struggles to fight off all the special abilities of the Terminals.
Barbara changes into her Batgirl costume and starts taking out the Russian Sisterhood’s members. The groups leader tries to shoot Willem but she is taken out by a Terminal robot that falls on top of her.
Nightwing shows up and quickly confirms that Batgirl is not a hologram. Nightwing asks where Willem is since he is the one that started this conflict with Wyrm.
Elsewhere, Willem makes it into the underground subway where he meets Wyrm. Willem says Nightwing is coming for them. Wyrm thinks that is perfect as Nightwing, thanks to his strong connections, is the target they need to entangle the superhero community in their dark web.
Back at the press conference area Batgirl uses a electro-magnetic pulse grenade to take out the remaining Terminal robots.
Nightwing and Batgirl head underground to find Willem. Unable to find him Nightwing asks Willem he can’t hide what he’s done. Nightwing then asks Willem to tell him why he killed three guys he went to school with.
Willem throws his phone and it explodes. This gives Willem a chance to run away but he ends up falling onto the train tracks. Nightwing is able to grab Willem, and with Batgirl’s help, is able to save him before a train hits Willem.
Willem admits to Nightwing that Wyrm wants to hack into Nightwing’s mind. Willem then shows the pair his history that includes the time when the three guys he killed, as kids, throwing him into an oncoming train that tore him apart. This led Willem to want revenge and Wyrm used that to take advantage of him.
Beform Nightwing can learn who Wyrm is Batgirl’s phone has a green energy that comes out of it. Willem realizes it is Wyrm but is unable to escape as Wyrm absorbs him through Batgirl’s phone.
Nightwing and Batgirl stand in shock at what they’ve just seen. End of issue.
The Good: As with the rest of the issues of Benjamin Percy’s first story arc Nightwing #47 was a solid issue that kept the story moving forward. Percy’s understanding of who Nightwing is shines well as we got to see our hero remain cool even when the odds were against him. That said, a big thing that held “The Bleeding Edge” arc back was the lack of time that was spent developing the new characters introduced during this story arc.
With everything going on in the DC Universe at the moment it was interesting to see Percy place the spotlight on Nightwing’s position in the DCU. Coming up as Robin and leading his generation of heroes Dick Grayson is one of the most connect hero in the DCU. Tapping into this rich history, as we’ve seen Dick Grayson be lead the Teen Titans, carried the Batman mantle and join and lead the Justice League over time, makes Nightwing feel important. Percy highlighting this shows how well he understands the respect Nightwing has within the DCU.
Revealing that it is Nightwing’s status as the DCU’s most connected hero is exactly what Wyrm is targeting elevated the new villain’s plot. It put Wyrm in a position to be an even more dangerous villain as he isn’t just trying to be the biggest bad guy around. Instead he is looking to take down every DCU hero from within in the most efficient way possible. The fact that Nightwing and Batgirl aren’t able to capture Wyrm helps further build up how dangerous he is as he is bound to show back up in the future.
And while Nightwing and Batgirl were able to stop Wyrm’s plot it was interesting to see how the Bludhaven 2.0 direction remains. Going with this direction of Bludhaven becoming the testing ground for how technology will be further integrated into a city’s infrastructure gives Bludhaven a way to stand out. This direction opens up more possibilities to go a different route with the threats Percy has Nightwing go up against than we’ve seen before.
Helping further elevate the enjoyment of Nightwing #47 was the dynamic between Batgirl and Nightwing. Percy did a good job not just making Batgirl a sidekick for this story as is usually the case with a guest spot. Instead Percy showed Batgirl was as important, if not more so, as Nightwing since she was able to use her knowledge to take down Wyrm’s robots. This in addition to the banter between the two made anytime Nightwing and Batgirl appeared on screen together to have a sense of fun.
Chris Mooneyham art style won’t be for everyone but fit in well with the direction Percy took his story in Nightwing #47. There was a sense of dark and dirtiness to Bludhaven that added to how city officials are looking to revitalize the city. This also helped to keep the story grounded even when there was digital based villain like Wyrm as the villain.
The Bad: As well done as the idea of Wyrm’s plot to gain control of Nightwing was that was something that should’ve been clear earlier. Because in previous issues we already saw that Wyrm had control of Dick Grayson. If this plot was made clear earlier on then it would’ve given more time to develop Wyrm’s plot to come across as having higher stakes going into Nightwing #47. Instead it just came off as a last minute change to the story to elevate Wyrm.
It did not help that we Willem Cloke’s character was highly underdeveloped over the course of “The Bleeding Edge” story arc. We barely had a chance to learn who Willem before he was placed into the spotlight as a pawn in Wyrm’s plot. There was just no surprise to this part of the story since Willem never got the chance to become part of Nightwing’s supporting cast. Without that connection it made Willem look like a throw away character rather than someone the reader grew to care about.
Similarly, there was a major lack of development in the Russian Sisterhood’s part of this story. These characters just ended up being no more than nameless thugs that took up page count. Even their role as taking the press conference hostage was quickly overshadowed by Wyrm’s robots that Nightwing and Batgirl ended up battling. It would’ve been more effective if it turned out to be that the Russian Sisterhood were revealed to be part of Wyrm’s robot army. At least then they would’ve been connected to the main plot rather than just being random characters thrown in to eat up the page count.
While the artwork by Mooneyham fit with the grounded tone of this series there were some inconsistencies with different character faces. There were times that Mooneyham showed a character’s face from different angles that made them looked stretched out. These inconsistencies kept the artwork from stealing the show.
Overall: Nightwing #47 won’t blow anyone away. There are a lot of good ideas presented in this issue. That along with Benjamin Percy’s writing of Nightwing and Batgirl’s dynamic helped elevate story that was presented. Unfortunately the lack of development for the new characters introduced in this story arc made it tough get fully invested in the end result of what happened.