|First Published:||May 15, 2013|
|Previous Issue:||Nightwing #19|
|Next Issue:||Nightwing #21|
After a long night that culminated with an elevated train station exploding, Nightwing returns to his sublet apartment, only to be attacked by a terrified woman upon his finally settling into bed. Grabbing a baseball bat, the girl prepares to beat him senseless, but Michael rushes in to explain that Dick is merely renting her room. The girl is Joey, and it is her room that Michael is subletting to Dick. Michael allows Dick to sleep in his bed for the night, given that he has just been called to cover the story of Western Station getting hit by a helicopter.
Meanwhile at the Chicago Steelworks, the police are surprised to find Alderman Anthony Laine begging for help while a wolf chews on his severed arm.
That morning, Dick wakes the thud of Joey's bouncing a tennis ball off of his wall, while she grumbles about the fact that one of the companies for whom she set up internet security has bungled things and got hacked. Realizing that she woke Dick up, she is apologetic, and offers to let him stay in her room while she sleeps on the couch, considering that he's paying for her room anyway. Michael returns home, angry that the masks destroyed the train station only just after it was rebuilt. Joey explains that he isn't being allowed to do any of the things he was hired for when he joined the paper, and so naturally, he is bitter. As they converse, Dick receives a text message from Johnny Spade.
Elsewhere, the police commissioner reports to Mayor Wallace on the Alderman Laine situation. The mayor is confused as to why the Prankster would switch from phishing websites for credit cards to torturing politicians. The commissioner hasn't got an answer for that and takes his leave, but not before he is asked about the status of Tony Zucco. The commissioner reports only that Zucco is dead. Hearing this, the mayor retreats into his office and assures a very much alive Tony Zucco that - for all intents and purposes - he is dead. Even so, Zucco is worried, and is carrying a gun just in case Nightwing comes for him again. The mayor suggests he take some time away for a few weeks.
That night, Nightwing meets with Johnny Spade atop a building. The informant offers a challenge: they will play a hand of cards, and the loser must give up some information to the other. Nightwing takes the deal, but is well aware that Johnny is a good card player. Fortunately, Nightwing is better at looking for tells. Soon, Johnny is explaining how he had thought about the fact that Nightwing's email address for Zucco had only got him as far as knowing that the man was in Chicago. So, he had thought about who could have got more information than that, and that person was the Prankster.
Meanwhile, at the Museum of Science and Industry, the Prankster has captured John Conaway and wrapped him with insulation that he had sold to dozens of homeowners in Illinois claiming that it would reduce the risk of electrocution. Unfortunately, it did not work, and it had contributed to several deaths. So, just to be sure that the insulation works, the Prankster has wrapped Conaway in it and tied him up to a modified Tesla coil. If the insulation works, he should survive the shock that's about to come.
Within seconds of the coil being switched on, Nightwing crashes through the window and frees Conaway, to the Prankster's annoyance. In retaliation, the Prankster hacks into Nightwing's heads-up display, blacking out his vision. Though Dick does reasonably well by sound alone, the Prankster responds by producing a loud noise, and locking him into a glass box. As it happens, the glass box is designed to demonstrate the phenomenon of backdraft. The Prankster explains that there are two hatches to choose between for escape, but one will introduce enough oxygen to the box to cause an explosion of backdraft, while the other leads to safety. If he does nothing, the fire in the box will consume all of the remaining oxygen, and he will suffocate. Unfortunately, Nightwing will have to be able to see to select the right hatch. And, at the moment, the only way to see is to remove his mask in front of an active camera.
- Mike Pearson
- Joey (First Appearance)
- Anthony Laine
- Mayor Wallace Cole
- Commissioner Racine (First Appearance)
- Tony Zucco
- Johnny Spade
- John Conaway
- The Prankster
- Chicago Steelworks
- City Hall
- Chicago Museum of Science and Industry
- Erskima Sticks