Nightwing #152 Review
Nightwing #152 review by Hugo Bravo
Written by Peter Tomasi
Art by Don Kramer
After "The Resurrection of Ra's Al Ghul", I never thought I would want to read another comic book featuring the Demon's Head. As talented as Grant Morrison is, the whole story felt like unnecessary filler before the death of Batman, which every fan knew was what Morrison truly wanted to work on. However, Tomasi is a completely different story. I can't stress enough what an asset this former editor is to DC as a writer. Just like he provides a broader perspective of the Green Lantern world in the GL Corps book, his Dick Grayson is probably the best written in the Bat family apart from the boss's own. The Nightwing book has been in post-Batman R.I.P. time for months now, and with Batman's final fate finally revealed, we know that Dick Grayson has had the most contact with his boss' rogue galleries since R.I.P.
The latest one-shot Nightwing issue opens with Dick reminiscing over Batman's costumes through the years, and a glob of wax left on the floor from when he took his first oath as Robin. His mourning is interrupted by a surprise ambush from the League of Assassins, who have been sent by the newly resurrected Ra's Al Ghul to summon Nightwing for confirmation that the "detective" has died.
It's not surprising that once again, Tomasi shows perfect understanding of Dick Grayson. He captures key characteristics of Nightwing, the grieving son, wisecracking superhero, and most importantly, possible heir to the name of Batman. It's no secret that very soon a new hero will take over the mantle of the Bat, with Batman now dead, not in Batman R.I.P. as we all expected, but instead in a final battle with Darkseid in Final Crisis. Tomasi makes a very convincing argument that Dick Grayson may be the new Batman. He did it for a short while after Azrael gave it up, and it may happen again very soon.
A confrontation between Nightwing and the Demon's Head is easily the highlight of the book and possibly of Tomasi's entire run so far. The fact that the two are clashing swords in the middle of a desert is the least of the details. Their exchange would be just as fascinating over a card game or a dinner. This is a verbal duel above anything, and Tomasi's dialogue is absolutely perfect. Like he did with Two-Face a few issues ago, Tomasi not only captures the depth of Ra's Al Ghul as a character, he gives him a whole new level of smugness and confidence that you would not expect in a man who has been beaten time and time again by the Batman.
Don Kramer's pencils are on point as they have been since he came on board. Fight scenes (of which are crucial to the story) look excellent, but his Alfred Pennyworth could use a bit of fine tuning. He also adds nice little touches for longtime fans, such as a cameo by the old Batmobile from the 1960s Batman TV show.
Nightwing #152 helps provide an answer to two questions in the Batman mythos; Is Ra's Al Ghul the Dark Knight's greatest adversary, and is Dick Grayson ready to take his teacher's mantle? The answer to both those questions is yes, as long as a talented writer like Peter Tomasi is in charge.