NPlot: Scott Lobdell
Script: Fabian Nicieza
Art: Chris Mooneyham & Garry Brown
Blüdhaven’s nightmare has begun! In Nightwing #55,Scarecrow is ready to step out and watch as the Blüd rips itself apart. Ric has to channel his inner Nightwing to protect his new home, and the Nightwings get to face their first super villain.
Nightwing #55 is a really good set up issue. The action in this issue gets dialed up quickly and aggressively. I’ll be honest, there were a few times where I had to roll my eyes and just move a long, but aside from that, I really enjoyed this issue.
I’ve had my ups and downs with this arc, but I am a big fan of how Scarecrow has been depicted throughout it. Being at part six of this arc, part of me has felt like, “LET’SGET TO IT ALREADY!!!”, when it came to Scarecrow and his plan, but I’m actually very happy they didn’t just get to it. Scarecrow is a master of fear, he should be patient. In fact, the patience makes him even creepier. Growing up, Sinestro was who I thought of when it came to “Who is the King of Fear”. Scarecrow was a much more cartoony fear villain; almost a bit of a joke (to be fair, I watchedA LOT of Batman: The Animated Series) (to be fair again… I STILL watch a lot of Batman:The Animated Series). I love seeing a truly creepy Scarecrow/ Dr. Crane.The artwork added to the “Nightmare Fuel” factor of Scarecrow. The crudeness of Mooneyham & Brown’s artwork works really well for the character of Scarecrow (especially with Detective Svoboda), but it really amps up how truly terrifying Jonathan Crane truly is. Hi-fi’s colors add a layer of tension (especially with Detective Svoboda) that just puts it over the top. The panels where you can see nothing of Crane but the light off his glasses may haunt my dreams just a bit. I love getting into Scarecrow stories that remind me why he is such a great character.
There really isn’t a whole lot of time for Ric to bum us out in this issue. Stuff starts going wrong pretty quickly. The banter between Bea and Ric did make me cringe a bit. It feels forced. It doesn’t read “hey these two are totally into each other and, because it’s still Grayson, things are going to get real off-panel steamy in a few issues”, it reads more like, “I’m going to ask my friend to ask you if you like me, and then I’ll be awkward around you for a year regardless of your answer”. To be fair, the “banter” between the Nightwings was not any better. Ric does get some of his Nightwing reflexes to kick in when the Fear Germ starts kicking in, and it is really fun to watch. Seeing Grayson flip around and fight crazed baddies gave me a comfort I have missed since Ric showed up. Here is what I’ve noticed; Ric is way more likeable to me when his Nightwing kicks in. That may be me and my nerd saying, “That’s not my Grayson”, and I accept that. Babs and Alfred are thinking the same thing. That being said, I am ready for Ric to stop being Ric. I feel the, “LET’S GET TO IT ALREADY” creeping in, but I will keep faith that when Ric does get his memory back, it will be worth the wait.
We do get to see the Nightwings out of costume for a bit, but again, the banter is not great. Even still, when they suit up, I get really excited (maybe I just like the suit…hmm). With Scarecrow’s Fear Germ running through Blüdhaven, it gives the Nightwings a shot at their first super villain. The problem is, this is a very aggressive villain to start out with. First time vigilante wants to start off slow. Take on a KiteMan, or Condiment King, or Egghead. Nope, straight to Scarecrow. We are left with the Nightwings staring down Scarecrow, and Scarecrow looks pleased.Basically, these four are in way over their head, and it’s fair to assume Ric and his Nightwing reflexes are going to need to save them.
This issue is setting up a rather large climax in the arc where Ric may need to leave his dream, of finding his own life, behind. Scarecrow is really well done in this issue and I am really excited to see this play out. Part of me is saying, “Calm yourself Anthony. Don’t let yourself get overly excited waiting for #56. You’ve been hurt before”, but the other part of me is saying, “SCARECROOOOOOOW!!!!! MORE FEAR!!!!”. I’ll let you know where I am in my review of Nightwing #56.