NIGHTWING #44 BY BENJAMIN PERCY AND CHRIS MOONEYHAM
Art
Plot
Characterization
Summary
The art is the real standout of NIGHTWING #44. The artwork by Chris Mooneyham and Nick Filardi is eye-popping and brilliant. For this issue, we have a decent start to a new storyline. I'm curious to see what Benjamin Percy will do next with Nightwing.
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Technology Bytes!

When a new augmented reality device hits the streets of Blüdhaven, Nightwing has his suspicions. In NIGHTWING #44, Dick Grayson must uncover the sinister motives behind this gadget. Will the “phantasm” transform the city into a virtual utopia or a digital nightmare? And what does a man’s murder have to do will this device?

After his successful run with the Green Arrow comics, Benjamin Percy brings us a new story arc for Nightwing. With the brilliant artwork by Chris Mooneyham and Nick Filardi, you should put down your phone and pick up this issue!

The Phantasm Arrives in Blüdhaven

NIGHTWING #44 begins with Dick Grayson walking through the streets of Blüdhaven. While on the subway, several passengers receive an unusual text message before their smartphones explode. The next day, he calls Barbara Gordon for her thoughts on this strange occurrence.

With her on his side, I hope to see more of Barbara in this story arc — maybe we’ll even get an appearance from Batgirl. When Grayson goes to his local deli, the owner shows off this gadget that creates idealistic holograms. According to him, everyone in Blüdhaven thinks this new technology will be like a fresh coat of paint on the city. To Grayson, it sounds too good to be true.

NIGHTWING #44 Page 1 - Image Courtesy of DC Entertainment
NIGHTWING #44 page 1. Image courtesy of DC Entertainment.

That night, Nightwing comes across a murder scene. The victim is wearing the same device on his wrist. I love a good mystery. What does this new holographic device have to do with this man’s murder? Are these so-called “phantasms” really making the city a better place? Nightwing will have to put his detective skills to work as he uncovers the sinister plot plaguing Blüdhaven.

Cool Urban Artwork

Blüdhaven comes to life in NIGHTWING #44. I’m really digging the urban vibe in this issue. From the neon signs to the graffiti in the subway, the city has a real heartbeat. The art style has a rough and grungy quality. All of the visuals are eye-catching and perfectly detailed. Even the usage of Dick’s jacket seems to be a callback to his original Nightwing design. Also, illustrating the sound effects was a nice touch.

Some of the panels, like when Nightwing is leaping into action, look like they are ripped out of a movie. The play between light and shadow is absolutely brilliant. In addition, the bat-shaped shadow looming over Barbara gave me goosebumps. Hats off to Christopher Mooneyham and Nick Filardi for amazing artwork.

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Plague of Technology

In NIGHTWING #44, Dick Grayson contemplates the impact of technology on both his civilian life and vigilante life. However, I have mixed feelings about his observations. He gripes about how people nowadays are so transfixed on their phones, they don’t have face-to-face interactions anymore. While this is true, the topic is a bit dull. Grayson is a twenty-something, not a grandfather. Who knew Dick Grayson was such a fan of landlines and phone booths?

However, in terms of crime, he calls technology an “invisible threat.” This is interesting because he realizes that criminals are evolving. A bank robber would rather hack a bank account than grab a ski mask and a gun. Why plant a bomb when almost everyone is carrying a smartphone? As a hero, Nightwing is used to fighting with his fists. Consequently, in situations where technology is used for criminal activities, he’ll have to change his strategy.

NIGHTWING #44 Page 2 - Image Courtesy of DC Entertainment
NIGHTWING #44 page 2. Image courtesy of DC Entertainment.

Old Friend, New Friend

So, after dealing with smartphones exploding in the subway, Dick Grayson makes a call to an old friend — Barbara Gordon. It’s a nice cameo. I enjoyed watching them work together and playfully banter with one another. Problems involving technology are right up her alley. I expect to see more of Barbara throughout this story arc. And is it just me, or do I detect some flirting going on?

Also, we meet a new character in NIGHTWING #44. Willem Cloke, a young man with a mechanical eye and a prosthetic hand. Claiming he no longer wants to be weak, Cloke asks Grayson to be his personal trainer. I’m curious to learn more about his backstory. Also — does he have something to do with the “phantasm” technology hitting the city?

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Final Thoughts on NIGHTWING #44

Overall, NIGHTWING #44 is a decent beginning to this new storyline. I’m interested to see where Benjamin Percy will take Nightwing in future issues. However, the real standout in this comic is the artwork by Chris Mooneyham and Nick Filardi. The grungy urban feeling brings the city to life. I’m curious to see how this story will unfold.

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