Death of the Family Review: Nightwing #15 by Kyle Higgins & Eddy Barrows (Batman)

Review:  Nightwing #15

“Cleaning House”

Published by DC Comics

Written by Kyle Higgins

Art by Eddy Barrows

Coloured by Rod Reis

The Plot

Jimmy (from Haly’s Circus) is with some friends, but decides to go grab himself a drink.  Suddenly he is attacked by the Joker who muses about the two of them looking alike.  Nightwing and Batgirl are on patrol and are both angry with Batman for not telling them that the Joker knows who they are.  Nightwing wants to get Haly’s Circus out of town before heading over to Blackgate Prison where the Joker broke Raya out.  However, Nightwing receives a call telling him that Jimmy is dead, which prompts him (as Dick Grayson) to get everyone out of town as quickly as possible.  Meanwhile Raya awakens to find that the Joker has a plan for her to be a part of his joke.  Meanwhile Nightwing is investigating the Blackgate only to come up empty-handed so he goes to get some evidence from Jimmy’s body.  While doing so, Sonia calls him up to ease his mind about recent events.  As Dick, he meets up with her and he begins to get uncomfortable, but is saved by the results of the analysis taken from Jimmy’s body.  He uses this clue to find a location, but is attacked by an enemy that he just cannot fight.  The Joker leaves them alone and then Nightwing’s aggressor decides upon an alternate course of action. However, Nightwing finds another clue, which alerts him as to who the Joker’s next target is.

The Breakdown

I continue to enjoy the involvement of Haly’s Circus because it always played such a large role in his life.  I enjoyed the twist with his and the Joker’s confrontation because it was unlike the other ones up to this point.  Usually a bat-family member sees him and they fight.  Not in this issue as the Joker has something else planned for Nightwing.  I was also looking forward to this confrontation because of all the bat-family members I feel that Nightwing may provide the biggest threat against the Joker.  This comic has not been my favorite by any means nor is it the first book that I read when I purchase it.  However, it has been consistent overall and I have enjoyed it.  I liked the conversation between Nightwing and Batgirl as she had to rein him in and get him to focus on the task at hand.  Speaking of which, that two-page spread with them on the rooftops was very well done by Barrows.  The confrontation at the end of the book was good because Nightwing didn’t fall prey to his own anger or rage that the Joker is generally so good at producing in his opponents.  He continually sought to handle the situation differently.  Also, it is a natural reaction for Dick to feel some responsibility for what went down with Jimmy.  However, I was glad to see that this was not drawn out for too long as he was able to take Sonia’s words to heart.  I honestly expected him to dwell on it and then have it distract him too much when he confronted the Joker.  I’m glad that I was wrong.  There are some parts in the book that are pretty fast-paced and Barrows did a good job of telling a coherent story.  I enjoy any Nightwing story more when the artist remembers to incorporate his acrobatic style into his movements and his fighting.  The more I looked at the art in this book, the more I was liking it.  I enjoyed seeing the Joker pulling an old familiar gag at the beginning of the book and I’m looking forward to the next issue.

BUT…

Okay, after hearing them all repeat it enough times I am now thinking that the Joker may be bluffing.  It Batman’s allies all didn’t go out of their way to repeat the Joker knowing their identities and Batman not telling them about it I wouldn’t be doubting it so much after reading this issue.  The continuity glitch bothered me this issue when there was a flashback of Dick seeing his parents getting killed while he was a kid.  His appearance from the flashback and his appearance from the present just looks longer than half a decade.

Buy It, Borrow It, Shelf Read It, or Ignore It?

Buy It.  I was getting a little tired of the Joker’s appearances, but this issue was somewhat more minimal and he still had a large impact upon the story.  This actually helped to renew my interest in the crossover story overall.  This book doesn’t knock my socks off each and every month, but it is a good, consistent read.  I’ve always liked the Dick Grayson character and I’m glad that he’s one of the characters that are still congruent with his pre-reboot version.  I hope to see more between Batgirl and Nightwing as I’ve always enjoyed that dynamic between the two.  This was a good issue and it was a good appearance by the Joker.

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