My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Chuck Dixon continues what could be the best Nightwing comics run ever with this second collection, Rough Justice. For me, this is Richard Grayson. Only Batman the Animated Series came as close to defining the character with Nightwing’s handful of appearances in The New Batman Adventures. Dixon continues to bring a youthful exuberance to Dick (heh…had to get that out of the way) that reminded me of a young Spider-Man at times. That type of upbeat attitude is a nice change of pace from the grim and uncompromising characters that I’m typically drawn to. That’s not to say there isn’t some darkness to city of Bludhaven in this book, just a little less in the way that Nightwing views himself and his mission there.
Chuck picks up right where he left off in Vol.1 with this collection. I don’t necessarily think that this book has the best writing going (it doesn’t), but it could be Dixon’s best. In addition to continuing to flesh-out his new cast of characters, he has a few familiar faces from Gotham drop by to kick-it with Nightwing. I’m not gonna name drop the first guy to stop in because it might spoil some of the fun of the first couple of issues. Next up, Batman. Yep, the caped crusader finally makes the trek south to check up on how Dick is making out down in Bludhaven and he sticks around for a significant portion of the book. Much like the back and forth between Nightwing and Robin in the last collection, I think Dixon did a good job with the banter between these guys. Felt right. Nightwing’s still out to prove himself to his mentor and sees Bludhaven as the place to do it. This book is set not long after Knightfall and prior to Dick’s own turn at being Batman in Morrison’s run. This seems to be where Bruce began to really recognize his former ward’s self-sufficiency and is starting to see him as his own man. At least from Dick’s point of view.
Deathstroke and Man-bat also swing by while in town. While this story seemed sorta filler-ish, I thought it was fun and liked having Slade make an appearance. He’s a favorite of mine. Dixon also squeezes in a couple of tender moments with Oracle. I’m the kind of hopeless romantic that always wanted to see Barbara end up with Dick…Grayson, I mean. Plus, we get to catch up with Blockbuster, Clancy (the super), and Inspector Soames from the first trade. The Nightwing Annual #1 is also included in this one. Not much to say about this one other than “ehh”. Devin Grayson wrote the story and it didn’t really do anything for me and it probably should have been just left out altogether. Didn’t fit with the rest of the trade.
Scott McDaniel and Karl Story continued to “WOW” me with their tremendous artwork. In addition to his version of Nightwing, I especially loved McDaniel’s take on Deathstroke. Scott caught alotta shit for changing up his costume at the time this was originally published. I actually liked it sans the orange. Both his Man-bat and Batman impressed as well. His cartoony style combined with Story’s thick inks is not gonna be everybody’s cuppa, but I love it. Probably could be described as being somewhat similar to Humberto Ramos’ stuff, in the way you’re either gonna like it or you won’t. And much to my dismay, Greg Land’s artwork manages to worm its way into this trade as well right at the very end. Sorta left a bad taste in my mouth. His stuff just doesn’t do it for me at all.
This Nightwing collection is an easy recommend to anyone that liked volume 1, digs the character, or enjoys Batman overall. Great series that is finally back in print for everyone that missed Dixon and McDaniel’s terrific run the first time around.
Get this review and more at: