Comic Vine Review


Nightwing Annual #1 - Embers


Nightwing and Batgirl team up and explore the past, present and future together.

The Good

There are some things in comics that want to see happen. There are certain characters you feel deserve to be together. With Dick Grayson and Barbara Gordon, it's always been a tricky situation. Given the ambiguity of the New 52, it's been a little difficult to fully grasp where the two stand with each other. As both characters are are at turning points in their lives, this is the perfect time to take a close look at their relationship.

Following the events of Nightwing's adventures in Chicago (going after Tony Zucco) and before FOREVER EVIL, we see Dick tying up loose ends in Gotham and ends up getting pulled into a situation involving Firefly. He convinces Barbara to join him and we get a great team-up.

Kyle Higgins does a great job handling the situation between Dick and Barbara. Even though they're in the midst of hunting down a dangerous killer, they still find time to talk to each other. It's this interaction that gives the story a more realistic and warm feeling, rather than two cold two-dimensional characters trying to solve a crime. We may not be fully invested in Firefly's motives or actions but having Dick and Barbara on the case makes it an interesting read which also contains some interesting twists.

The nice thing about annuals is we get the chance to have an extended but self-contained story. It gives the story more depth without interrupting the flow by having to wait a month for the conclusion. Taking place outside the main series (and the BATGIRL series), there is more room to explore the relationship between Dick and Barbara.

The Bad

We do have some nicely laid out scenes and plenty of action. The problem is having the art split between two separate artists. It's an unfortunate distraction and there were a couple moments the characters looked a little awkward in their face and positions.

We do find out Firefly's full origin but it's never made clear exactly how he was able to design a flying suit that emits flames. Given his background, it made sense why he chose this angle but it's the how that left me scratching my head.

Was there a typo on the list of victims found at Firefly's workshop?

The Verdict

Fans of Dick and Barbara need to check this out. Kyle Higgins does a great job addressing the past, present and future of these two. Having a full-annual-sized adventure gives the perfect way to fully tell this story without interrupting the flow and allowing it all to play out in one sitting. It's stories like this that are needed to explore the situations and backstories of the different characters given the bits of mystery that still exist within the New 52's updated history. There was some distraction having the story's art split between two artists. Seeing Dick and Barbara together and with the conclusion Higgins gives us will leave you wanting more.