Written by: Sam Humphries
Art by: Klaus Janson (Flashback) & Jamal Campbell (Present)
Color by: Alex Sinclair (Flashback) & Jamal Campbell (Present)
This is the third issue of Sam Humphries’ new run on Nightwing. In this issue, we get bits and pieces about who Judge is and how his path crossed Dick’s back in the day when he was Batman’s sidekick.
Another new character is introduced in this issue. Her name is Lucy Weatherton, casino boss and ex-vigilante Baby Ruthless. We find out that Dick’s met her right when Judge showed up in the past, she ended up providing intel and assisted the Dynamic Duo in trying to apprehend Judge. In these flashbacks we find out that Judge was heavily against the casino’s being built on the waterfronts and how they could ruin families. He tried to ram the construction site with a stolen ship but was thwarted by Batman and Robin. The reason Dick is regretful about his run-in with Judge is that during the ensuing battle, he knocks over the edge of the ship and into the water, never to be seen until Dick’s college years Dick knew he could have done better and Batman was uncharacteristally supportive in the flashback. I know, I nearly fell off the couch reading that moment.
Lucy tells Dick that she stopped being a vigilante for good after King Sturgeon took over Judge’s gang and Dick is taken aback because he didn’t know that Sturgeon was still alive. The issue ends with Guppy holding a knife over his father about to strike a fatal blow. It seems Judge has gotten to him as well and Dick may lose another lead that might get him closer to capturing Judge this time.
Humphries seems to be playing a game of almost got ‘im here with Dick and I don’t like it. The story is okay but not outstanding, I found it to be a little flat in pacing. It was nice to get decent flashbacks though, so we could finally learn some real things about Judge and his motivations. The other problem with this issue is that there is quite a bit of action scenes, so we don’t get that much actual advancing of the plot and will have to wait another issue to (hopefully) get more. This feels like trade stretching already from Humphries.
The art responsibilities were split into two teams this issue to make a clear distinction between the two time periods. Jamal Campbell, who did the present day art and Alex Sinclair, who did the flashbacks. Where’s Bernard Chang you ask? I have no idea and I hope he is back soon, I love his art.
Both artists did very good work though and I leaned toward Campbell’s pencils and colors much more, I loved the glossy washed out look he gave the present day scenes which carries over something from the gorgeous neons Chang was producing that I have mentioned in my previous Nightwing reviews. As I prefer modern art to the 80’s and 90’s look, I was never going to lean toward Janson’s art but I must say that he did a great job in capturing the era’s look, so credit where credit’s due to him for that feat.
Not a disappointing issue, but one that could have provided much more answers than it did. At least we can now start to frame an opinion on if Judge is an antihero or a straight up villain. Right now, I’m leaning towards villain.