REVIEW: NIGHTWING – VOLUME 4 – SECOND CITY / AUTHOR: KYLE HIGGINS / ARTIST: BRETT BOOTH, NORM RAPMUND / PUBLISHER: DC / RELEASE DATE: JULY 22ND
DC’s current output is currently heavily dependent on the popularity of Batman and related spin-offs. Second City continues the adventures of former Robin and next-in-line to the mantle of Batman, Nightwing, aka Dick Grayson.
The plot is pretty straightforward: Nightwing is in pursuit of Tony Zucco, the man who killed both his parents. Of course, it’s a little more complicated than that. Zucco has seemingly faked his own death to escape justice and is now living in Chicago, a city that is not as friendly to masked vigilantes as Gotham is. To make matters even worse, a costumed anarchist known as The Prankster is running around town stirring up trouble and breaking things.
The characterisation of Nightwing is very good here, Dick Grayson has never been the most steadfast of characters and making terrible life choices is one of his motifs. After all, this is the man who decided to run off with a man dressed as a giant bat and fight crime. His personal faults are amusingly frustrating and it’s hard to shake the feeling that his first name has more than one meaning.
As plotlines go this ticks all the boxes: action-packed without going for gross-out violence, plenty of high stakes jeopardy and the usual amount of monologuing and heroism. It doesn’t try to break new ground or remix a well-loved character; it uses his original appeal to great effect instead. Neither too grim nor too camp, Second City is good, solid, action adventure fun and a firm reminder as to why Batman books are so popular.
The art is functional but unremarkable, which is in keeping with DC’s current house style. Though Booth is clearly very talented, he seems to be holding back for some reason. This doesn’t take anything away from Higgins’ writing however. Second City proves that when DC focuses on simple yet exciting storytelling, it does it very well.