Thursday, August 8, 2013

Nightwing #21 (HERE BE SPOILERS!)

Dick's move to Chicago has really injected some energy into this series.  Although I'm still skeptical about the decision to resurrect Tony Zucco, Higgins does a good job here of showing that Zucco is, in a way, little more than a MacGuffin.

As Dick's narration implies at the end of this issue, the real point of the decision to bring back Zucco is to show the moral dilemma that Dick faces as he breaks all sorts of rules in his quest for justice.  His moral quandary deepens when he discovers that Zucco has reinvented himself -- possibly legitimately -- as a family man.  Does he go after a guy who possibly turned around his life?  Then again, maybe everything isn't exactly what it seems.  Higgins starts to fill in details of Zucco's missing years, but enough questions remain -- like why the Mayor of Chicago would hire his brother's former cell mate as his driver -- to keep it interesting.  Although I think it might have been possible to pull off a story exploring the same themes without resurrecting Zucco, Higgins does make a good case for the fact that few others besides Zucco could motivate Dick to break the rules that he does.

Moreover, we get some more insight into why Chicago doesn't have any "capes" -- namely, because someone murdered all of them.  To me, the most brilliant part of that revelation is that it turns one of the more essential aspects of comics reading -- the willful suspension of disbelief that costumed heroes could so often escape perilous situations with their lives -- on its head.  I've got to give Higgins some serious props for that.  Overall, it's actually just nice to see this title finally humming along smoothly.

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