Coming Soon: Nightwing #44 – “shockingly retro and eight minutes into the future” (according to Warren Ellis)

Nightwing #44 Cover by Declan Shalvey

Nightwing #44 Cover by Declan Shalvey

I subscribe to a fair few creator newsletters, and one that always helps get your synapses firing arrives regularly arrived this morning from Warren Ellis. This week, apart from deconstructing Avengers: Infinity War, he also turned his attention to a DC comic he feels deserving of attention from superhero fans – Nightwing.

Nightwing #44, to be precise, on sale this week in comic shops, which features a cover by Declan Shalvey (variant cover by Yasmine Putri), written by American novelist Benjamin Percy (Detective Comics, Green Arrow) and art by Christopher Mooneyham. With an all-new creative team, it’s a jump on board issue for the superhero title, and DC themselves trail it thus

Nightwing #44 variant cover by Yasmine Putri

Nightwing #44 variant cover by Yasmine Putri

“THE BLEEDING EDGE” part one! Change is on the horizon when a new technologist sets his sights on Blüdhaven, creating a holographic, interconnected city where everyone is an individual and also part of a larger network. It’s the Internet made physical! Gentrification on gigabyte-laced steroids. But when this new utopia encroaches on his turf, Nightwing starts to uncover a sinister plot based not on revenge… but on a reckoning. “The Bleeding Edge” begins here, setting Dick Grayson on a path to clarify the ideals at his very core: his sense of home and identity.”

If you’ve already read Percy’s previous DC work or his novel The Dark Net, you can probably guess this new direction for Nightwing is going to be something special, and it sounds like fans of the character are not going to be disappointed.

Art from Predator versus Judge Dredd versus Aliens #3 by Christopher Mooneyham

Art from Predator versus Judge Dredd versus Aliens #3 by Christopher Mooneyham

Some downthetubes readers will be familiar with the work of artist Christopher Mooneyham. He graduated from The Kubert School in 2010 and since then, he’s been working on various comic book projects, including Five Ghosts, published by Image Comics, and Predator versus Judge Dredd versus Aliens.

“I’d never normally read Nightwing, but Ben sent it to me, and he’s my friend, so,” Warren Ellis writes.

“It’s like a classic old 70s DC comic run through Ben’s novelist brain while Ben’s brain is in a mangler with a mouldering boot-sale longbox and eight episodes of Max Headroom and a season of Black Mirror. It is all at once shockingly retro and eight minutes into the future. And comes up with the perfect solution for those difficult superhero costume changes.  If you’re into superhero books, it’s on sale May 2, and it’s going to be the one where people will be saying ‘what the hell was that?’  And that is a good thing.

“The best way to approach Nighwing is as a high-octane, adrenaline-fueled mystery and adventure,” said Percy himself when his new assignment writing the famous Batman sidekick was announced. “I’m going to crank up the volume on that world, dose it full of steroids and poison, and dream up a digital nightmare that will ultimately impact the entire DCU.”

“The Bleeding Edge” will lay the groundwork for a centrally important threat to the DCU. And, says Percy, “it is ironically Nightwing’s off-the-radar status that makes him the ideal detective for the case.

Nightwing #44 Cover by Declan Shalvey - Final“Consider how Gotham and Blüdhaven are shadow-soaked, crime-ridden environments,” he teased. “One of the things I love about Nightwing is his irrepressible optimism. This joy — a love of the game, a showman’s theatricality — is tonally essential to my approach. I see it as a necessary counterweight to material that might otherwise feel oppressively grim. In this way, Grayson really captures the hopeful maxim that has defined the Rebirth era.”

Sounds to me like one to try and certainly a series where new perils begin for the DCU.

• Check out Nightwing #44 from your local comic shop, on sale from Wednesday 2nd May 2018

• Warren Ellis’ weekly newsletter, ORBITAL OPERATIONS, can be subscribed to at | His next public appearance is at the How The Light Gets In festival, 25 May 2018, in Hay-on-Wyre

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