The race is on and for the winner: ANY one question will be answered. Can Nightwing pull out a win? Your Major Spoilers review of Nightwing #49 awaits!
Writer: Benjamin Percy
Artist: Amancay Nehuelpan
Colorist: Nick Filardi
Letterer: Carlos M. Mangual
Editor: Katie Kubert
Publisher: DC Comics
Cover Price: $3.99
Release Date: September 19, 2018
Previously in Nightwing: What happens when the race is no longer against each other, but against Leviathan itself? As the head of the snake reappears, and as our heroes are allied against a common enemy, the bike race changes gears and the prize comes into focus — a chance for the winner to sit in the Mobius chair and ask one question.
THE CANNONBALL RUN…
Every year, on the Isle of Harm, a motorcycle race is held where the winner is given the chance to ask one question. This time there’s a hitch as, if Nightwing wins, a group called “The Dark Web” will gain access to a Cosmic Search Engine that will allow them to corrupt something called The Pathway Altar and… blah blah blah power corrupting absolutely. On the downside, if Nightwing DOESN’T win, his friends Vicky and Willem are murdered, giving him even more motivation to win. The rest of the field consists of some of his worst villains as well as The Silencer, who not only saves his bacon but reveals that she’s been watching his back for a while, including saving him from a Leviathan assassination attempt already. Together, the two heroes forge an alliance to take down several of the worst murderers, thugs and bad dudes, but Silencer reveals that she’s in this for a chance at a new life, something that he doesn’t want to deny her. Several pages of motorcycle combat later, Nightwing has a hard choice to make, while Silencer once again protects him.
…WITHOUT TONY DANZA AND MEL TILLIS
I enjoyed bits of this issue, and some of the acrobatic moments during the battle are fun to look at, but there’s not a real sense of high-speed combat in these pages, and there’s a lack of background detail that makes it even more indistinct. It’s nice to see Silencer in these pages, especially given the lack of hooplah about the ‘New Age of DC Heroes’ titles, but her cameo feels off and all of her actions in Nightwing #49 are in service of Nightwing’s story rather than her own, making it feel like she has no agency. The pacing issues are compounded by the last few pages of the issue, featuring Nightwing asking the Celtic God of Paths a question that feels very much like a deus ex machina or storyline cheat rather than the clever moment it’s clearly meant to be for our hero.
BOTTOM LINE: NOT REALLY FEELIN’ IT
It’s been a while since I’ve checked in with Nightwing, so I’m not entirely certain about the status quo, but this issue throws readers into the metaphorical Big Race storyline and counts on us to fill in the gaps, a process which doesn’t entirely work for this issue. Nightwing #49 has enough problems with the plotting, the guest star and the art to make for a frustrating reading experience for me, even if Professor Pyg’s flying motorcycle is kinda funny, leaving the issue with 2 out of 5 stars overall. I may have to check in for next month’s big five-o anniversary to see if this was just a fluke.