NIGHTWING #46 is an overall solid issue. Nightwing and Batgirl's working dynamic is engaging and made the focus in this comic. Benjamin Percy's writing and Chris Mooneyham's artwork both do a fantastic job at creating the virtual nightmare plaguing the city.
83 %

Nightwing is calling for tech support in NIGHTWING #46. With the help of Batgirl, Dick Grayson must stop a computer virus from taking over the city of Blüdhaven. The two face off against an enemy they can’t punch their way through. Writer Benjamin Percy and artist Chris Mooneyham bring readers a virtual nightmare come to life in NIGHTWING #46.

Warning, potential spoilers are below!

Phantasms Plague Blüdhaven in NIGHTWING #44

Behind the Firewall

We last left our hero fighting against Wyrm, a digital phantom trying to steal Dick Grayson’s secrets. With Chris Mooneyham’s artwork, Wyrm looks nightmarish, like an electrified ghoul. Since this is an enemy he can’t touch, Grayson thinks fast and destroys the Phantasm projection system, which stuns Wyrm in the process. In an effort to escape the monster, he jumps out the window. In the previous issue, Nightwing had called Batgirl to help him investigate the new augmented reality device sweeping through the city, and in NIGHTWING #46 she’s there to catch him before he hits the ground.

They hide in the sewers, where there’s no wifi. That means no Phantasm. Batgirl tells Dick all she’s learned about Mirage, the high-tech company funding the augmented reality machine. Oddly enough, the project was funded by a single investor from the dark web. While in the sewers, Grayson reveals his secret, Batcave-esque hideout. Fully stocked with all of his Nightwing gear. How cool is that?

NIGHTWING #46 page 2. Image courtesy of DC Entertainment.

When another person’s death is connected to the Phantasm, Nightwing and Batgirl figure out how all the victims are related: they all went to school together. Remember Willem Cloke, the cyborg guy who asked Dick Grayson to be his personal trainer from NIGHTWING #44? (Un)surprisingly, he’s the one in charge of the Phantasm project.

Later on in NIGHTWING #46, Batgirl builds Nightwing special goggles that can switch between reality and the virtual illusions.  With the Phantasm creating holographic projections, our heroes will need something to show what’s real and what’s not. This issue ends with Nightwing surrounded by digital minions. Will Nightwing and Batgirl be able to delete this computer virus taking over the city?

 Teaming Up with Batgirl

NIGHTWING #46 page 6. Image courtesy of DC Entertainment.

Including Batgirl in this storyline was a great idea. Brilliant and tech-savvy, she’s the best backup for a job like this. I couldn’t imagine anyone better suited for a story like NIGHTWING #46. She doesn’t feel like a guest star or Nightwing’s sidekick either. With Benjamin Percy’s writing, Batgirl is presented as Nightwing’s equal.

Their partnership is one of the best parts of NIGHTWING #46. It was great to see how Nightwing and Batgirl work together and bounce ideas off one another. They have such an interesting dynamic. Despite being exes, Dick and Barbara have such a strong friendship and working relationship. NIGHTWING #46 showcases that camaraderie so well, especially in the dialogue. Who knows? Maybe their old romance will be rekindled in this story arc.

Plague of Technology

The conflict as a whole of NIGHTWING #46 is a mixed bag for me. Once again, Dick Grayson brings up how “plugged in” people are nowadays. It’s a bit dull to lecture on how dangerous technology can be, and this technophobic view makes Dick Grayson feel flat as a character. His likable personality is being used to teach the reader some lesson about how easy it is for information to be stolen. While true, this problem derails from the actual story at hand. Boring topics can lead to readers tuning out and not connecting with the hero.

Also, Willem Cloke being the mastermind behind the Phantasm wasn’t a shocker. In previous issues, his character came off a bit suspicious. However, the actual antagonist of NIGHTWING #46, the Phantasm itself, is interesting. Chris Mooneyham’s visuals capture the city being infected by this digital virus so well. An enemy the heroes can’t touch makes for a captivating story. The digital illusions gentrifying the city are actually stealing people’s information. What Mirage will do with that personal information is still a mystery. I’m curious to see how this will all unravel. Nightwing and Batgirl have to find a new solution to fight against this menace in Blüdhaven. For a mission like this, they have to use their brains instead of their brawn.

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Final Thoughts on NIGHTWING #46

NIGHTWING #46 is a solid issue. Unfortunately, at times, the storyline can be a bit tiresome. A hackneyed topic and a predictable villain weaken the overall plot. The lecture on the dangers of technology makes Dick Grayson’s character feel lackluster. On the other hand, an antagonist that’s impervious to physical attacks is quite captivating. Also, Nightwing teaming up with Batgirl is just awesome. Benjamin Percy’s writing showcases how well these two work together. Chris Mooneyham’s artwork does a good job at capturing the technological nightmare that’s invading the city. All of the virus monsters — especially Wyrm — look terrifying, with the use of neon green and static lines design. Altogether, NIGHTWING #46 is a good issue. I’m looking forward to seeing how Nightwing and Batgirl stop an enemy they can’t touch. Maybe an anti-virus program?

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