Nightwing #83 review

Isn’t that a delightfully playful cover? Nightwing’s quick change is a refreshing switch from the admittedly wonderful dramas that usually play out on the front of this series. And the single line of dialogue is certainly a grabber so far as getting me to open this issue quickly is concerned. What is Dick going to do?

Before we find out, there’s an assurance from Dick’s newly discovered half-sister, and city mayor, Melinda Zucco…

… a reunion with old enemy Blockbuster…

… and old friend Superman…

… and a kiss.

Oh, I didn’t show you the kiss? I didn’t show a lot of this issue, because you need to buy it. Give DC your money so this Dick-defining run can continue. Better yet, give DC the cash so you can enjoy what’s probably the most assured, entertaining superhero comic around today (I don’t read ‘em all, so other nominations welcome!).

Like Dick as he provides an astonishing display against Blockbuster’s goons, writer Tom Taylor and artist Bruno Redondo are perfectly balanced as they start a new chapter for our hero. Basically, his plan is philanthropy to help the people of beleaguered Blüdhaven, and while familiarity with comic books means I can’t see his good intentions playing out successfully, I wouldn’t put it past writer and artist to surprise me. I would love to see one DC city become a much happier place.

Just so long as Dick continues to be that daring young man on and off the flying trapeze. And thumps Blockbuster. Lots.

Speaking of bad guys, super-creepy serial killer Heartbreaker still stalks the streets, and there’s an intriguing development on that front.

But I prefer the good guys and the scene with Nightwing and Clark is an instant classic, speaking to their long history as comic book characters, crashing continuities be damned. Dick even shows Superman’s influence with a classic shirt reveal.

OK, it’s not a rip, but Dick is giving his newfound wealth away, he can’t be throwing away good shirts for a cool moment.

Other great things about this issue: appropriate medical footwear; the lunacy of asking Lucius Fox for financial advice; a tearjerking photo; a background reaction shot.

Taylor’s dialogue remains top notch, and the pacing of the ongoing arc is just right, with satisfying quiet scenes alternating with soaring action moments whose success is as much about characterisation as showy displays of skill and strength. Redondo’s elegant art allows Dick to fly without wings and reveals the thoughts of players without the need for thought balloons (of which I am, admittedly, a big fan).

The colour work of Adriano Lucas is perfect for what Taylor and Redondo are doing, with the city lit for day and night by well-chosen and applied shades. Just look at the chiaroscuro here, for example.

And Wes Abbott’s lettering is beyond reproach.

The closest I came to finding fault with this issue was the placement of credits on the final panel. I can’t give details without spoiling a creepy image, but creator names and job titles are tough to read as placed on the image – this glitch will vanish when they’re lifted off for the collection, but cropping that last panel halfway across and boxing names and roles would have been fine. Or better yet, have the credits on page one or two – the only reason to save credits and story title to the final page is if said title is, say, dependent on a reveal, a la ‘The night Gwen Stacy died’.

If you’re not reading Nightwing, you’re missing out big time – it’s superhero comic book storytelling at its best.

8 thoughts on “Nightwing #83 review

  1. There’s another reason for running title/credits at the end: It feels like a point of pride. The story ends on a strong beat, and the creators step forward to say, THIS has been Nightwing. You’re welcome. Best use of that is on a truly momentous issue, whereas this is merely an excellent issue in an excellent run. But still, I’d say they earn in (though you’re right that the credits read poorly over the image.

    (The other great “Credits that matter” style is the movie/TV pacing of putting them over/between successive opening panels, a la “Who Is Donna Troy?”)

    That three-page Superman sequence, especially the first two pages, that spread, was just wonderful. The art, the color (the city glow on their faces!), and the depth of history, respect and friendship between these two guys, each of whose character is written, and juxtaposed, to perfection.

    I also like where they’re going with Melinda. At first, I thought she was going to be a forgettable barnacle on the bat mythos at best, and a genuine cheapening misstep at worse. Now I am really hoping her character develops beyond the needs of this one storyline.

    Such a great book, and I remain grateful that your reviews tipped me to it.


    1. Oh, such great points, especially as regards credits spread among or between panels, that does indeed add drama. And I like Melinda too, I hope she is who and what she says she is, and that being the case, somehow manages to survive the storyline. Let her clean up Blüdhaven some, then move somewhere quieter, like Ivy Town.


  2. It’s now the first book I’ll read when it comes out, unless it’s a Supergirl week as this one was. (Oh, all the Supergirl Tom King issues so far have come out the same week as a Nightwing, so I guess it’s the second book I read.) It’s just a wonderful amalgam of writing and art.

    I doubt Dick’s plans will work – where’s the drama in that? He can give all his money away, and charity and foundations DO help, do accomplish good work all around the world, but never solve all societal problems. Not in the USA. Not even in Sweden anymore.

    What a great panel, DIck using the helicopter to perform essentially trapeze moves. It appears he managed to swing in-between the helicopter roof and the blades, though it’s hard to know how he accomplished it – the move would obviously not have worked if his wires got cut by the blades! Unless actually they did get cut in his last swing, as he flung himself into the open helicopter… and used the part of his grappling lines that were cut off by the blades to tie the cops up. That’s my theory. I’ll have to try it next time I leap from a roof to see if it works.

    I suppose Babs interrupted him with the kiss. It’s not 100% clear who initiated it, but I decided from the body language that she leaned in and surprised him. But he closed his eyes, and then was smiling, so there was reciprocal feeling in the nice moment. Who knows if it will last. I thought his relationship with that girl while he was Ric was going to last, but he broke it off.

    It’s been a long time (if ever) since Barbara was drawn so attractively, though she’s getting well-treated in most books these days.

    That panel where Superman throws his head back and laughs is just so good, but all of the panels with Superman were excellent.

    Oh let’s face it – you can’t easily find a Redondo panel that isn’t stellar. I Redondo’s art, and loved their team-up with Suicide Squad too. I play “spot the zip-a-tone” in his art (and in Jorge Jimenez’s too – he also uses some on every page). I see that technique used more and more often these days and I’ll never tire of it.


    1. Excellent appraisal of the copter scene, I’m sure Bruno would be impressed. It really is amazing how quickly Taylor and Redondo’s Suicide Squad partnership transferred to Nightwing. I hope they stay until at least #100. Bruno said on Twitter that they would, let’s hope DC Editorial don’t muck things up. And that was deffo Babs instigating the kiss, knowing Dick would be very happy.


  3. I suspect that with #82 Taylor & Redondo “peaked too soon” in terms of elevating Nightwing into a book of enduring merit, but Nightwing has structural weaknesses which continue to crop up.
    Nightwing’s Rogues Gallery lacks a deeply personal hatred of him, something which Mark Waid’s Flash run amply took care of when Wally was tricked by Reverse Flash into believing that Barry was still alive. The new Mayor might still betray Dick, but as of now, Nightwing still needs a great villain.
    Dick taking up philanthropy is fine, but he still lacks grounding as a character. I picture him having a brownstone like Frank Miller-era Daredevil and a relatively stable love life with Babs. The gains made on the domestic side under Taylor & Redondo are much too easily taken away for my taste.
    Having said that, Nightwing remains the Most Improved Book on the stands right now, so whatever corners it has put itself into it can certainly work itself out of for the long term. Go for it, Boy Wonder 😀

    Liked by 1 person

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