Action Comics Weekly #618 (Nightwing)
“The Cheshire Contract – Conclusion”
Writer – Marv Wolfman
Pencils – Chuck Patton
Inks – Tom Poston
Letters – Albert DeGuzman
Colors – Adrienne Roy
Editor – Barbara Kesel
Today we bid adieu to the Nightwing feature. Feels like just yesterday this arc started! Hes not gone forever though, he’ll be returning to these pages in nine weeks (ACW #627). There’ll also be a Speedy feature, but that one’s going to be during the latter part of this project.
Speaking of Nightwing and Speedy… they’re our cover-boys this week… and what a neat cover it is! We’ll talk more about it tomorrow when we tie a bow on this issue, but suffice it to say, it’s striking… though, probably better suited for an earlier issue, no? I mean, Speedy certainly isn’t in any condition to be “on the prowl” this time out, is he?
Well, maybe I’m getting ahead of myself… let’s find out together!
We open with Roy Harper waking up in a hospital bed. If you recall, last time out he was slashed by Cheshire’s poison-tipped fingernails during her escape. Since he’s waking up, we can probably assume he’s going to be okay. The first thing he sees comes quite as a shock… ya see, it’s his pal Nightwing has in his arms, Roy and Jade’s daughter, Lian!
Roy finally gets to hold his child, and through his tears he apologizes to Dick for all of the deception… and for all of his screw-ups over the years. Dick tells him to shove his sorry’s in a sack, because they’re unnecessary. Everybody makes mistakes, and Roy is no lesser a hero because of his. Dick then takes his leave to follow the signal of a bug he’d placed on Cheshire.
Cheshire is in the sewers below Big Ben… or whatever the building Big Ben is attached to is called… and she’s wiring the place to blow! Nightwing creeps up on her and… pulls a gun?!
Cheshire threatens to trigger the explosives and kill them both… to which, Nightwing informs her that it wouldn’t do her any good… he’s already ensured that her “targets” have safely relocated. She scoffs at the idea that he’d ever shoot her. After reminding her that Batman’s the one with a problem with guns… he shoots her in the shoulder!
… with an anesthetic dart. Naturally. Jade fades, and slumps to the ground. As she’s hauled away by the Police, she asks Nightwing to make sure her daughter is cared for… to which, he assures her Lian will be in the best possible hands. Really Dick, the “best” hands? Okay.
We shift ahead to Dick checking in with Roy one more time before heading home. Roy claims that having Lian in his life will change him for the better… and for the most part, he’s not wrong.
We wrap up this story with Dick arriving back in New York… and into the arms of his Starfire. All’s well that ends well!
Kind of underwhelming, no? Feels like a lotta build to have Cheshire be taken out with a simple tranq-dart to the shoulder.
Feels like that could have been done… I dunno, 3-4 weeks ago? Like, the first time they came across her, Dick could’ve shot her with a tranq? It’s not as though they wanted to find out who she answered to… or, if they did, they still didn’t find out here!
Also, Cheshire is this master assassin, right? How did she not realize she was “bugged”? I mean, her outfit doesn’t amount to all that much in the way of fabric, if Dick tossed a tracer on her, she ought to have been able to feel it, right? Well, maybe he threw it into her tremendous mop of hair? I feel like a bald eagle could land on her head and she wouldn’t feel it. Oh well… once again, I’m thinking too hard about something that doesn’t really matter.
Now, don’t get it twisted… I’m not saying that I didn’t enjoy this, because I did. It’s definitely in the running for strongest ACW arc to this point… I just feel like the ending fell a bit flat. It was a means to an end… Roy’s got Lian, which’ll take him into his next evolution… but, there was a fair amount of wasted space getting here.
Overall… this arc, oddly paced though it might be (in my opinion), is definitely worth a look. As luck would have it, Nightwing’s Action Comics Weekly adventures have actually been collected! Nightwing: Old Friends, New Enemies is also available digitally. Wow, it’s been awhile since I ended a post with a link to DC Digital!
Tomorrow: Wrapping up #618… and saying goodbye to the current Action Comics Weekly trade dress!