Friday, June 2, 2023

Bullet Review: Nightwing #104

Nightwing #104 came out last week. It included the final part of the back-up Jon/Dick story written by C.S. Pacat. This was a story which I was pretty excited about after reading the first part. But the story has kind of fizzled.

Over the last couple of months, I have struggled with the Jon Kent character. His own book wrapped up in an understated way, filled with overly simplified political message stories in which Jon was a more a guest than a lead. In his latest mini-series, Jon has been whisked away to the Injustice world, where again he is a leading man in a world that isn't his. The story that book should've told, Jon dealing with Ultraman, was truncated. 

Now this story started with a great premise, Jon being trained by Dick to fight physically. It took a left turn into a circus mystery which highlighted the differences of the heroes upbringing. It downshifted into a 'very special' tale about parents pushing kids into careers they don't want. And now it concludes with a simple ending to the circus mystery. 

The opening idea about Dick training Jon? Never touched.

Daniel HDR is on art here and there is something off brand about his take on Jon. I wish I could put my finger on it in an intelligent way. But the close-ups of Jon here seem strange. 

I was hoping this story might rekindle my interest in Jon's character. 

On to a few moments including my favorite moment.

The mystery is over before it began in earnest. And you don't need to be one of DC's greatest detectives to solve a crime when security cameras find the disgruntled ex-employee who actually threatened the circus when he was fired.

His super-villain power? Being unfriendly.

I suppose it is a short back-up so can't lay out clues to be solved. 

And we get proof the harasser is the murderous bad guy when the heroes find explosives in his trailer. 

I liked this moment when Jon points out the correlation between circuses and villains.

I like how the panel is all rhomboid-ish. It shows how off-center or warped circuses are. When art, even panel composition and page layout, complement story, it reminds me of what I love about this medium. It's my favorite moment in the story.

The guy has planted bombs in some of the stuffed animal toys. 

Jon finds the bombs. Dick punches the bad guy.

This was my least favorite moment. Wouldn't this have been a great moment to have Jon punch the guy, bring us back to that opening training moment, show that Jon has learned? 

Seriously, one punch is thrown in this part and it is doled out by Dick, who we know is one of the best fighters in the DCU. Do we need to see him take out an unhappy circus wonk? How much better would this have been with Jon laying the smackdown. 

Jon destroys the bombs and gives new toys to all the kids.

But look at Dick's line.

He talks of Jon wanting to 'experince' the circus. A misspelling in a mass-produced book. Aren't there editors? Proofreaders? 

But it all ends in a happy farewell. Jon breaks up a crooked carnival game where it is impossible to win a prize. The barker gives him a ton of stuffed animals which makes Jon giddy. Dick asks him to never change.

Of course, the opening chapter is Dick telling Jon that he needs to change. Jon needs to learn how to fight, to trust his body and his powers. So we contradict the very point that opened the story, the part that grabbed me.

I think Jon working with Nightwing is an interesting combo, a sort of next-gen World's Finest. But this story sort of lost it's way.

Overall grade: C-


Steve said...

I had the same feeling about Jon's look. I know the hair was a big part of it and the body type seems wider.

I'm finally ready to embrace de-aging Jon. I loved how Bendis wrote it but all we get now is a low rent Superman Junior. How do they explain his aging with the Truth reversed anyway? 'Oh, Jon contracted an alien progeria like virus'? I guess they could have told Luthor they'd hate it if he killed another telepath to smooth it over with the public. Heck, that can handle all sorts of things.

Martin Gray said...

I’m with Steve. Just de-age him already.

The look of Jon is weird, and I used to be impressed by Daniel HDR. The lads at iFanboy this week were also very put off by Jon’s look, especially the hair. It’s similarly weird in the Power Girl Not Very Special.

There’s probably one typo per month in DC books. What I also hate are full stops/periods after non-sentences in captions and so on, such as ‘METROPOLIS.’ and, here, ‘THE END’.