Following the solid second volume in Back to Blüdhaven, Nightwing’s Rebirth adventure is now in full swing and Dick as a character is starting to shine. In Nightwing Must Die! storyline we get heavy involvement from the arrogant Damian Wayne, some more from Shawn Tsang and the special guest villains of Deathwing and Dr. Simon Hurt. Nightwing Must Die! is a straight forward book that collects issues #16-#21.
Straight off the bat, if you’re a fan of Grant Morrison’s Batman then you’re going to love this as the bulk of the book sees Dick and Damian “work” together to figure out what has happened to Shawn Tsang. Damian has been written particularly badly, I thought, and although he is known to be arrogant I did feel it was overdone here. He need only remind us that he is the Son of Batman once and the rightful heir to the Batman cowl (which I don’ think he is), however Seeley has him constantly repeat this to Dick (and the reader) and it reminded my an awful lot of Bane repeating “I am Bane” over and over in Batman: I am Bane. However, Damian does get better as the pages roll on but at this point I had already been irritated beyond saving. My last word on Damian in Nightwing Must Die! is the absolute nonsense that he was able to move his liver in time to avoid a knife going through it.
Nightwing though, is written much better and he isn’t as miserable as he was in Volume 1 and 2 and has now accepted his mission and ploughs through it like an acrobatic truck. Seeley has given Nightwing some great moments of heroism and his usual one liners which separated him from the rest of the Bat-family pack. Seeley has quickly grasped what kind of character Dick Grayson is and continues the legacy and what most people really love about him. One of my criticisms of volume 2 was the fact that Shawn Tsang (Defacer) featured way too much and now that she’s been kidnapped and not in this collected edition as much has made a big difference and perhaps one of the contributors to Nightwing himself shining.
Whereas Better than Batman and Back to Blüdhaven weren’t dark or particularly tense, Nightwing Must Die! was and feature some high stakes encounters with the guest villains Pyg, Deathwing and later Simon Hurt. Deathwing, to me, was the standout villain with a menacing look and a tragic backstory who went toe to tow with Nightwing and posed a real threat. Pyg and Hurt were filler enemies throughout and contributed very little. Although sometimes a change of scenery is welcome, it didn’t quite make sense for Seeley to take Nightwing and Damian across the globe after going on and on so much about going back to Blüdhaven – the circumstances could have easily taken place in Blüdhaven and feels like a missed opportunity.
The artwork I found to be excellent in Volume 3 and probably the best of the volumes so far. Dark, rich colours were used with messy lines which contributed to the ‘messy peril’ Nightwing and Damian found themselves in, this style also made Deathwing and Robintron look even more menacing and wrong.
Right at the end is a one shot issue with Nightwing and Flash enjoying a night on the tiles. It’s a quick and easy romp which started as a quick catch up then to a night out and finally a chase to catch a criminal using the Alien technology that has been teased throughout all 3 volumes. A nice enjoyable bonus and a precursor for the next arc.
Overall, Nightwing Must Die! is a solid third volume which carries on the Rebirth series nicely, uneven at times with questionable writing of other characters (Damian, Tsang) but Tim Seeley does capture the essence of Nightwing himself perfectly.
Last update on 2021-04-11 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API