NIGHTWING #22 by Tim Seeley, Miguel Mendonca, and Chris Sotomayor
Seeley sets up this new story for Nightwing which carries on the theme from the 'Welcome to Blűdhaven' arc - Dick having an identity outside of Nightwing. One of the villains included in this arc is longtime Nightwing foe, Blockbuster. He seems to have a different backstory than what fans are used to, but change is inevitable with Rebirth. As for the illustrator, it has changed to Miguel Mendonca, who is turning out to be a perfect replacement for Javier Fernandez.
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Return of Blockbuster

Nightwing finally has some time for himself after all the insanity that has occurred since he came to Blüdhaven. This means he’ll have to actually accomplish what he set out to do when he first moved to that city — reconnect with Dick Grayson. Yet, in NIGHTWING #22 our titular hero is going to be getting another blast from his past. At the same time, alien weapons have made their way into the city. Finding Dick Grayson may get put on hold, or perhaps this reappearance of an old enemy might help Dick remember who he once was.

READ: Catch up on Nightwing last adventure with our review of NIGHTWING #20!

A gang war has broken out in Blüdhaven between Simon Project Kings and Tail’s End Noughts. When Nightwing gets wrapped up in their fight, he discovers that one side has access to alien weapons. Now Nightwing must investigate further to protect the civilians of the city. His girlfriend Shawn, however, doesn’t want him to get caught up in another crisis and forget about his personal life. Meanwhile, Blockbuster has returned to work as security in a casino. His boss talks to him about something big he’s planning which requires getting Nightwing out of the picture.

Image courtesy of DC Entertainment.

Behind Every Great Hero Is A Great Woman

When Dick Grayson first arrived in Blüdhaven, he went there for a fresh start and chance to find himself. Unfortunately, between the murders, the Run-Offs, and kidnapping of Robin, Dick hasn’t had a chance to be alone — although, Seeley does make note that Dick has been deliberately putting it off. On his own, Dick might never find an identity outside of being Nightwing. Yet, in NIGHTWING #22, Dick has more motivation to find his identity because of his girlfriend Shawn. Writer Tim Seeley is handling her character exceptionally well. She’s fantastic emotional support for Dick, and hopefully, with her help, he will reconnect with Dick Grayson.

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As for the return of Blockbuster, Seeley is utilizing a different take on this villain. Blockbuster was a Kingpin-type character during the Chuck Dixon NIGHTWING run. Not to mention his monstrous muscular form was permanent. In NIGHTWING #22, he has two forms — his muscular form and a much smaller, slender form. It’s clear that Desmond needs to keep his muscular form in check. Similar to Bruce Banner & the Hulk, Desmond can’t allow himself to get too upset or else the monster within comes out. This new take is intriguing, and according to the issue, Nightwing has faced Blockbuster before. Hopefully, Seeley will provide the backstory between Nightwing and Blockbuster in the rest of the ‘Blockbuster’ arc.

New Artist in NIGHTWING #22, Artwork Still Amazing

The artist for NIGHTWING has changed from Javier Fernandez to Miguel Mendonca. I will miss Fernandez’s art style, he provided stellar facial expressions for the characters. At the same time, Mendonca has proven to be an exceptional artist in NIGHTWING #22. The intensity on Desmond’s face when he becomes enraged is truly intimidating. The shading by colorist Chris Sotomayor adds ferocity to faces of the characters in certain scenes. For example, when Tiger Shark fed someone who was counting cards to his sharks — the use of lighting really made the scene come to life.

Image courtesy of DC Entertainment.

In conclusion, NIGHTWING #22 sets up what could be an exciting arc that might finally have Nightwing discover his identity outside of being a hero. The pacing of the comic is good, and Seeley balances exposition with action extraordinarily well. The artwork by the new artist is proving to be a fantastic replacement for the former artist. In addition, I certainly had a sense of nostalgia when I saw Blockbuster and Nightwing going to toe to toe again. Fans of Nightwing should definitely pick this issue up this week for those nostalgia feels.

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