Nightwing’s fatal encounter with The Joker wasn’t quite as final as last issue left readers to believe.
Batgirl arrives in Bludhaven after getting an emergency signal from Bea. Naturally with Joker involved, Barbara Gordon is leery and second guesses leaving a vulnerable, amnesiac Dick Grayson virtually alone.
Barbara becomes more concerned after Bea relays Ric’s encounter with Joker, but can’t dwell on it long as Punchline arrives to take her out. It’s impressive how in lockstep the Batman family books are in the build to Joker War. This doesn’t feel like a storyline conceived on a lark and the writers, including Nightwing writer Dan Jurgens, are all on the same page.
Jurgens continues to stretch out Sapienza’s fate for maximum drama though I’m decidedly on the side of him not dying so he can remain a featured supporting cast member.
Ronan Cliquet’s art still feels too peppy and cartoonish for this arc. Cliquet is a solid storyteller, but his style is best suited for lighter fare like a Young Justice or Shazam, not necessarily an arc featuring DC’s biggest psychopath. Similarly, Nick Filardi’s colors offer more a cheery than gloomy tone.
This issue ends with a wild cliffhanger that certainly sets Nightwing up perfectly for its entry into Joker War.
Rating: 8 out of 10