The past is a very haunting thing. It's like a monkey with a diamond ring. Nice to look at. But comes off as a bit of a prat. If the primate would rather play with his ding-a-ling-a-ling. Like these chaps as a matter of fact. Writer: Kyle Higgins; Artist: Eddy Barrows; and Publisher: DC Comics in May 2012.

So what’s the STORY morning glory?
In this prelude to the 'Night of the Owls' saga, we find a tale of times past plus a tale of times present. And very nice they are to.

Once upon a time there lived a young Gothamite who found himself in a very bad situation indeed. He was poor. His father had died. And he had to take care of himself by performing tricks on the street. Then, one day, a nice man enrolled him into Haly's circus, propelling this young lad to find fame, fortune, and love. 

Warning. Nightwing has to save Mayor Hadley from 'The Court of Owls' before this mysterious fringe group chops his block off. Additional Warning. Even if Nightwing succeeds in the endeavor, he still has to watch his back from a threat from the past.

William Cobb. His ancestor.  Who stabs him in the chest four time's.

OK, not back. Front.

What is the most memorable SENTENCE OR CONVERSATION spoken in this issue?
For a change, the opening remarks of this book really hit home the nature of this piece.

'This is a story about love. About sacrifice. About betrayal. This is the story... of how the man I will kill tonight is Gothams worst betrayer of all'.

Impending prose. Has an almost 'radio announcers' air about it.

What was the BEST thing about this issue?
I really did enjoy reading this dual strand-story, because in a very nice way it has eased me into this 'Night of the Owls' crossover-event. Moreover, I did get a big kick out of the revelation at the end, POW! Although it was something I did second guess near the end.

What was the WORST thing about this issue?
Hmmm. This is difficult to say really. Because I really did enjoy most of this story by in large. But if I had to pick one gripe within this tale, it would be how Alfred acted as 'Mister Exposition' where the overall narrative is concerned.

What was the most CREATIVE thing about this issue?
STORY: I have to confess, since watching 'Godfather Part 2' I've become a big fan of the past / present tale format. This issue did especially well with this type of yarn, by managing to mesh and titivate both aspects together by the end of the book.

ART: The art on this comic was class through and through. Eddie Barrows has a somewhat Dickensian style to his artwork anyway, and this came through even more in the 'past segments'. Also, I have to say that I did appreciate the muted palette in this segment as well. Bravo colorist, Rod Reis.

If you had to CAST TWO CHARACTERS in this comic book, who would they be and why?
YOUNG COBB: To me, pretty-boy actor, Zac Efron, looks like he could one day grow up and become an axe murdering assassin. Just look at his eyes. They follow you around the room.  

MAYOR HADY: You do not need an actor for this part. You need a bonafide political git. Michael Heseltine, the one time well-groomed bag-man to the Iron Lady herself, Margaret Thatcher.

If this issue had a MOVIE TAG LINE, what would it be?
Please Sign Up With Find-Your-Family.Com. Wouldn't You Want To Know If One Of Your Ancestors Came Back To Life And Wanted To Kill You?

If this issue were a MOVIE, an OBJECT, or a piece of MUSIC, what would that be and why? 
This one is a no brainier for me. All the way through this issue I was whistling to the theme tune of 'Once Upon a Time in America'.

Classic Sergio Leone and Enrico Morricone collaboration.

FINAL thoughts...
What a great start to a cross-over event that I thought would be crap. OK, I may be slightly presumptuous with my remarks so far. Though you just ask any good construction expert - you need to have a good foundation before you can build a sturdy house. Let's hope the cement dries in time.

MARKS out of 10? 9