Nightwing saves a subway full of people from perishing due to their detonating cellphones. He contacts Batgirl about the problem, but she doesn't have any leads for him to follow. Later, Dick responds to a murder that seems linked to this mysteriously malfunctioning technology.
Nightwing #44 comes close to falling into the trap of a luddite superhero being right about those newfangled cellular phones being the literal death of us all. Dick Grayson has always seemed like an old-fashioned guy, but a narrative being structured around proving that sentiment to be moral and ethical lingers in the territory of technophobia.
The comic contrasts this with the tech-savvy Barbara Gordon, and that offers something close to balancing this angle.
The comic does have its charms. Nightwing is his talkative and charismatic self. The pacing is brisk and doesn't linger on any one scene for too long.
Dick receives a patron to his personal training studio who has a prosthetic limb and eye, both of which appear cybernetic. It occurred to me that this character could very easily turn out to be the villain, as the scene with him goes nowhere. On the other hand, he could force Dick Grayson to admit that technology's progression isn't a scary thing. That would make for a far more interesting angle, and I hope that's where it goes. The other option of him being the villain would be a bit tasteless.
Chris Mooneyham's artwork is a fantastic fit for Nightwing. It's kinetic, gritty, and lends itself to the noir hybrid atmosphere of the comic. There were a few panels, especially in the dark of the crime scene late in the comic, that forced me to stop and marvel at the elegance of the page composition. I'm aware of how pretentious that sentence made me sound, but that's how gorgeous parts of this book are. Plus, Nick Filardi's color work is exceptionally well-balanced for this visual style.
Nightwing #44 is a mixed bag of a comic that does decidedly come out on the side of good. Its charms, quick pacing, and excellent artwork overcome the cliched technophobia plot beats and the occasional bad line of dialogue. Hopefully Benjamin Percy will only get better with Dick Grayson. In any case, this one gets a recommendation. Feel free to check it out.
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