Nightwing: On the Razor's Edge review

Monday, August 08, 2005

When DC finally gets around to collecting all of Chuck Dixon's Nightwing run in trade paperbacks (I can't speak for Devin Grayson's run, not having read any of it yet), I hope the world at large will recognize exactly how much care, planning, and forethought it seems went in to this series. Characters and subplots introduced tens of issues ago continue to swirl around, turning in unexpected directions, branching away from one another and coming together unexpectedly. In fact (and to his credit), Dixon mostly fills the cut scenes with the lives of the villains, making them more interesting and real than those in many other comics, while Nightwing takes the main action in stories sometimes consequential, sometimes not. But even in the single-issue adventures, as with the second-to-last chapter of Nightwing: On the Razor's Edge, you get the feeling that Dixon is striving to make the most of every moment, answering a question left open since the beginnings of Nightwing: A Knight in Bludhaven.

The flip-side of all the detail in the Nightwing series, however, is that Nightwing is a story. told. slow. Looking to find out why Dixon brought Amygdala to Bludhaven way back in the second trade? You get closer, but no cigar. Wondering what's going to happen with Soames and Tad sharing the same cell block? It's not in here, bippy. This, like the much-praised Starman, is a story that truly won't read complete until the last book is out. There's some nice closure to a few of the main stories in On the Razor's Edge, but if you're looking for a book that doesn't require a commitment, Nightwing isn't it (Plastic Man is.).

In Nightwing: On the Razor's Edge specificially, there are some decidedly cute moments. If you're a Birds of Prey fan, the Birds factor pretty heavily into the main story, and you can more or less count on the characterization since Dixon wrote both titles at the time. I could have done without Dixon writing Black Canary as the damsel in distress, but it was fun to see Oracle come to Nightwing's rescue (and answer the age-old question, what would happen if some one fingerprinted one of the Bat-Squad). Shrike, the vaunted villain from Robin: Year One, was far less impressive and dangerous than I expected (and, consider, Shrike takes on all of Blockbuster's henchmen and wins, but even with a couple ninjas for backup, he can't beat an exhausted Nightwing? Really?), but again the whole thing is balanced out by the Birds presence, and I'm somewhat interested to see what Shrike is like going up against the new Robin, instead of getting whipped by the old one.

So that's Nightwing down, and now I'm on to Hawkman, followed by JSA: Black Reign. Nightwing seems to be one of those titles on a one-a-year schedule, like Birds of Prey, Batgirl, and Gotham Central--here's hoping we can see another one a little sooner, and maybe get this title collected while the collecting's good.

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2 comments:

  1. Just read this trade and I'm curious as to why issue 51 is missing - (V6 ended with issue 50 and this trade starts with 52).

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  2. Yeah, #51 is a one-off issue telling the origin of Tad. Seeing as how it was written by Chuck Dixon, I would have liked to see it included, too. I get the feeling that it didn't forward the main story, though--Nightwing doesn't appear in the issue--so the chances of it being collected are likely slim.

    Thanks for commenting!

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