Written by: Sam Humphries
Art by: Bernard Chang
Colored by: Marcelo Maiolo
Nightwing #36 is the second issue of the new run written by Sam Humphries and penciled by Bernard Chang. Last issue we were introduced to a couple of new characters, The Judge and Guppy, who is King Sturgeon’s son. The issue ended with Detective Svoboda shooting Nightwing point blank which causes him to fall off a tall building. Gasp!
Suffice to say Dick survives the fall and crash lands on something relatively soft and hobbles off to mend his wounds. We pick up the story later with Dick looking into the Judge and how he is able to trick people into doing things they wouldn’t normally do. The body count is up to 30 people. Dick finds some clues at a monastery then begins an ass kicking tour of Bludhaven hitting up people for information, while channeling his inner Bruce.
The Judge turns up at Mayor Madrigal’s office and starts mind-bending. Surprise, surprise the Mayor is corrupt and looking for a way out of this mess he’s neck deep in. Meanwhile, Dick prevents the Mayor’s assistant from taking a header off a building and she gives him a casino chip which leads him to the dead body of the Mayor (A callback to last issue when most of the action took place in a casino). Dick races to the mayor’s office but he’s too late, he’s taken his own life and the Judge wants Nightwing to know who is responsible.
I wasn’t a big fan of Seeley’s run on Nightwing but I think the big obstacle for me was that I did not like the antagonists in those arcs. What I would like to see from Humphries is a supporting cast that I care about so I can get invested a little more in this series. Humphries’ writing is good and is teasing a lot about Dick’s past dealings with Judge and I’m intrigued enough to keep reading this arc.
Chang’s cover art of Nightwing bleeding out on the pavement definitely encourages you to pick up this book and flip through it. It’s a great cover, but I still like previous issue’s cover more. The art in this issue is great in close up shots but I did not like the lack of detail in the longer shots. What I did love was Maiolo’s shading and use of warm neon colors to give you that Vegas meets New Orleans feel to Bludhaven, I could feel the seedy underbelly of the city through the pages.
I’m willing to give Nightwing and Humphries a chance to turn this series around and you should too, at least until this arc concludes because the Judge has the potential to be a great nemesis. Not a standout issue in any respects but there is definite potential moving forward.