I’ll be honest. I’m not sure if I loved this comic so much because it was super-awesome, or if I was just so happy to see these characters acting like themselves again. Because let’s face it, those are both pretty good reasons to enjoy this comic.
Gail Simone wrote a definitive (if not THE definitive) take on Oracle back in the old DCU, so it is not surprising that she gets right back on the horse in this issue. The green-tinged narration boxes sound like the strong hero that we read about for years back in Birds of Prey. And Nightwing sounds like himself. He’s cocky, confident, and really enjoying this whole super-hero thing. As he should be. Again, that’s the character I know! While only Barbara Gordon gets an inner monologue, Simone uses Nightwing’s interactions with Starfire and Oracle to show how his personality is still intact too.
This isn’t all about looking backwards, though. As someone who doesn’t read many DC books these days, I have no understanding of the greater Convergence storyline. But it doesn’t matter. Gotham City is trapped in a dome on an alien world, but they are not alone. There are other cities trapped there too. Some weird robots (Brainiacs, I think?) are forcing the champions of these cities to battle it out to see who survives. I certainly hope that doesn’t mean that these remnants of good comics have to die, though. Even the fairly generic Hawkman and Hawkwoman of Flashpoint seem interesting when Simone is writing their dialogue.
This book packs in the DC history too. In addition to the Flashpoint Hawks, Nightwing, Oracle, and Starfire, we get cameos from Mr. Freeze and Poison Ivy. With a big conflict with the Hawks brewing, I’m very hopeful that Freeze, Ivy, and Starfire join up with Nightwing to fight for Gotham.
I also really enjoyed the way Simone addressed the dwindling resources of a “fishbowl” city. The split up families and broken lives would be a real factor too.
I’ve been a fan of Jan Duursema’s art for years, so it is no surprise that I really enjoyed the pencils on this book. Even the Flashpoint Hawks really drew me in (as a Hawkman fan, it wasn’t that tough). Nightwing’s suit looks updated, but retains the classic feel that is missing in the new 52 designs. Starfire and Oracle look fantastic, attractive without showing ridiculous skin. The backgrounds are well done too, establishing the dome as an ongoing, ominous threat.
I don’t mean to just praise this GOOD comic because it isn’t a new 52 book. And yet, there is no denying that the old continuity is still part of its charm. I’d like this comic in any DC continuity, but this is Simone writing the characters she was meant to write. Enjoy it while you can, folks!