Thursday, January 9, 2014

Brotherhood of the First Part 4: NIGHTWING #23

When Green Arrow Connor Hawke defeated the deadly Silver Monkey in combat, the Sensei of the Monkey Fist cult sent waves of warriors after Connor, Batman, and every other martial arts master in the world.  Connor is now working in Gotham with Batman, Robin, and Nightwing to defend the city from the various Monkey assassins, while Black Canary and Bronze Tiger are tracking the cult back to its headquarters in Asia.

Nightwing #23: "Brotherhood of the Fist Part 4: Paper Revelations" was written by Chuck Dixon, drawn by Scott McDaniel, inked by Karl Story, and colored by Roberta Tewes.  Like Will Rosado's line work in the previous chapter, I think McDaniel's art is a little too cartoonish for the content of this story, but it's not bad.  The inking and coloring keep it from looking too much like an all-ages or junior readers comic.

Gotham's police force is called in to deal with the corpses of two dozen Obsidian Monkeys.  Batman tells Commissioner Gordon that it's not a matter for the police to investigate, that the cops would only put themselves in danger by chasing leads on the assassins.  Connor, Nightwing, and Robin speculate on who could be killing the Monkeys if it's not Eddie Fyers or King Snake, both of whom are out of the city.  At that moment, the Bamboo Monkey challenges Connor to a fight.

In the jungles of Southeast Asia, Black Canary and Bronze Tiger are closing in on the temple of the Monkey Fist.  Unbeknownst to them, though, is that the Monkeys are closing in on them.

Back in Gotham, the Bamboo Monkey fights Connor, Robin, and Nightwing.  He nearly kills Nightwing when...

Robin and Nightwing praise Connor's fighting prowess, then the three of them go to Oracle to get more information.  They figure that the different schools of Monkey assassins--Silver, Bamboo, Bronze, Steel, Obsidian, Emerald, etc.--have to do with matching the properties of the element involved to the fighting style and skill of the warrior.  They continue to press what Eddie Fyers suggested before, that the fewer members of a particular group of Monkeys, the more deadly they are.

Speaking of Fyers, he chartered a helicopter and gets dropped off in the jungle near the Monkey headquarters.  Black Canary and Bronze Tiger are already at the temple, though--as prisoners!

In Gotham, Batman has found the signature of the Paper Monkey who is killing off the other assassins, and he knows who she is.

Eddie Fyers arrives at the Monkey temple and angrily calls them out so he can start killing.

Nightwing discovers the location of the Monkey's Gotham base of operations, an old hotel that went down on its side during the Earthquake.  Batman, Connor, Nightwing and Robin split up and search the hotel.

Connor and Nightwing find the assassins a battle of their own.  The Paper Monkey is killing off the rest, and Nightwing knows that Batman was right about Paper Monkey's identity.

She unmasks and reveals herself to be Lady Shiva Woosan and she tells Connor Hawke it will be the greatest honor of his life to die at her hand.

This issue was okay, but repeated almost everything that happened in Part 3.  The Monkeys haven't felt like a serious threat for a couple chapters now, because Shiva is taking them out for herself before she attacks Connor.  As such, it feels like the heroes are in a holding pattern, just waiting for the time when the enemy strikes.

I was disappointed to see Canary and Bronze Tiger get captured, mostly because it was off page.  I would have loved to see the two of them do some actual fighting, especially if they went up against Deathstroke, but that didn't happen.

The story wraps up tomorrow in Green Arrow #135.

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