Knight Terrors: Nightwing #2 is published by DC Comics, written by Becky Cloonan and Michael W. Conrad, art by Daniele Di Nicuolo, colors by Adriana Lucas and letters by Wes Abbott. This is part of the Knight Terrors event. Nightwing is stuck in an Arkham Asylum within his own mind, but he might not be the only one trapped in this particular nightmare.
The concept of this issues is mesmerising, capturing the sensation of never knowing what is real. Where the first issue focused on torturing Dick on his own, this chapter brings others into the fold. But it is difficult to know whether they are purely figments of Nightwing’s imagination, conjured by Insomnia to mess with him, or if they are the actual characters stuck within the Dreamscape too. We are taken on a mind-bending horror comic that functions inside a prison subplot. The pace is quick enough to make the head spin. As the series progresses, and the story becomes clearer, it never lessens that feeling of distrust in what we’re seeing. The action is dramatic, bolstered by strong set pieces. The plot with leave your nerves shot by the end.
There are a lot more characters in Knight Terrors: Nightwing #2, quickly implementing a cast. Nightwing is joined in his cell by Jonathan Crane, AKA Scarecrow. He fluctuates between being a Riddler-type figure, intrusive and chittering over Dick’s shoulder, and actually helpful. It is figures like him and Barbara that make it so difficult to know who is fake. The characters alter over time. Intentional or not, Barbara’s nightmare mimics that of what can be found in another tie-in, and the presence of Harley when she is already in a book of her own again just keeps us on shaky ground. Nightwing’s mind is falling apart, which comes across in his narration. Still, he tries to remain the beacon in the book for the others to rally around. If all of the characters within this book are their true selves, then it has become a spectacular team book in the end. But what is irrefutable is how brilliant of a horror comic it is, the situations and nightmares the characters are being put through are uncomfortable and unnerving, and disturbing at points.
The art is crucial in making the book a demented hellscape. All of the guards are drawn to be different humanoid animals. Pigs, bulls, birds, are all fearsomely recreated to make things surreal and nightmarish. What helps magnify emotions is Nightwing’s face. He wears his mask for the whole issue, but the eyes change size and expression. It’s cartoony but brilliant, but all character designs are like that. They are recognisable in their shape, color or size, but altered physically. Scarecrow looks weedy but with massive glasses, hiding his eyes. Batgirl has been ripped apart with wires and technology. And those two are only a brief glimpse at the levels of body horror that can be seen in this issue. Almost every Arkham regular is represented in some hideous way. The book can alternate from being too visceral versus too clinical.
The colors are brilliant. A sickly green covers the walls for much of the issue, contrasted by a deep red that is haunting and mysterious. All but Nightwing are in the bright orange jumpsuit as well, creating uniformity around the place. But all of the body manipulation and different skin tones lead to a variety in colors when it is needed for shock value. The lettering is extremely dynamic, fluctuating to depend on the character and the tone whilst not losing legibility.
Knight Terrors: Nightwing #2 is mindblowing, reveling in being creepy. It’s so difficult to trust whether everyone involved is who they say they are, but the inclusion of a bigger cast that fills this even more twisted version of Arkham Asylum is fascinating at every turn. The art delivers an endless supply of body horror, characters being twisted into horrifying, nightmarish versions of themselves. The story taps into the psychological torment that stories set in the asylum have tried to access before.
Knight Terrors: Nightwing #2 is available where comics are sold.
Knight Terrors: Nightwing #2
Knight Terrors: Nightwing #2 is mindblowing, reveling in being creepy. It’s so difficult to trust whether everyone involved is who they say they are, but the inclusion of a bigger cast that fills this even more twisted version of Arkham Asylum is fascinating at every turn. The art delivers an endless supply of body horror, characters being twisted into horrifying, nightmarish versions of themselves.