For his first arc on Nightwing, writer Sam Humphries has put the entire city of Blüdhaven at risk thanks to a new supervillain who thrives on corruption. The Judge is an old face from Dick Grayson’s past, and he’s thrown the neon-lit metropolis into a state of chaos by revealing how casinos have been scamming city hall and keeping the money they’re supposed to be donating to the education fund. The mayor shot himself for his role in the cover-up, and now Blüdhaven has to deal with a leadership vacuum while the Feds crack down on the casinos at the core of the city’s economy.
Dick has been haunted by his previous encounters with the villain, and next week’s Nightwing #37 reveals how Batman and Robin first met The Judge. He’s responsible for Dick’s first trip to Blüdhaven, and The Judge will always be deeply tied to the city that is now the hero’s home. Regular artist Bernard Chang made a sensational debut on this series with Humphries, but he’s taking a break for next week’s flashback issue, which features fill-in art by a comic-book legend: Klaus Janson. Along with Janson’s flashback pages, this exclusive preview of Nightwing #37 features a framing sequence by Jamal Campbell, who has a modern style that accentuates the shift when Humphries jumps into the past with Janson and colorist Alex Sinclair.
Campbell’s art is very smooth with a digital sheen, whereas Janson provides visuals that are much harder, with severe inks and forceful compositions. (The retro logos for Batman and Robin are a nice touch from letterer Carlos M. Mangual.) Janson brings a very different tone to this book, and it reinforces how Blüdhaven appears to a young Dick, who hasn’t yet been exposed to a dangerous environment like this one. The city hasn’t lost any of that danger in the years since Dick’s first encounter with The Judge, and Humphries’ run is off to an especially promising start because it emphasizes how Blüdhaven is constantly on the verge of total collapse.