It’s been a busy – read, ruddy stressful – few days since Dick Grayson announced plans to pour billions into making Blüdhaven better. He really need a nap.
Crimelord Blockbuster, though, really needs to kill him. His mistake is announcing the move to his associates, giving one of them time to warn Dick to get out of the building.
Stopping only to change into his Nightwing gear, Dick rescues neighbour Maurice who, it turns out, is the Most Ungrateful Man Alive. Not that he looks set to be alive for long…
Happily, Wally also knows the Fastest Man Alive.
Poor Dick. Going public with his plans to help his city probably seemed like a good idea at the time, but all it’s brought him – and now his neighbours – is trouble. They’ve lost their homes, their belongings, their sense of peace. The only option for many is to accept an offer of temporary accommodation from Roland Desmond, aka Blockbuster. Dick has another option, though not necessarily a choice.
God bless Wally and Linda West – the second they knew Dick’s life might be in danger, help was on its way in the form of Wally’s alter-ego. Wally has known Dick since they were Kid Flash and Robin. They grew up side by side in the Teen Titans, outgrew their roles as New Teen Titans together and, as they made their places in the adult world, the pals’ friendship deepened. Wally and Dick are brothers, and if one is in deep trouble, you can bet the other one is there for them.
Last issue showed us Dick forging a new friendship as he got to know Jon Kent. This time, the bonds are already there, the shorthand between Dick and Wally is so perfect that even Wally’s wife and kids know it. Writer Tom Taylor gives us prime Wally – not a genius, but very smart; he’s the one who makes Dick see that he needs a break from Blüdhaven, even if it’s just for a single night. It’s just a shame Dick never checked in with Wally before putting a target on the back of everyone in his building (and his little dog, too).
Blockbuster also seems not to be thinking clearly, signposting his intentions so kill Dick.
Or was the whole thing a set-up to test whether or not there’s a leak in his inner circle? If so, he has his answer.
I also love the little details, such as the way Dick’s cheeks move as he eats his breakfast cereal, how adorable pup Haley flops down on dozing Dick, the body language in the ‘bit disorientated’ frame and the way neighbour Clancy’s shoes act like actual shoes as she gets up to leave the corrupt commissioner’s office.
Taylor’s regular collaborator, illustrator Bruno Redondo, provides the beautiful cover but doesn’t handle interiors this time, having drawn this month’s Superman: Son of Kal-El. Pinch-hitting is Geraldo Borges, last seen – by me, anyway – having great fun with the Peacemaker short in Strange Love Adventures #1. Borges’s style is scrappier than that of Redondo, but he does bring a little of what’s becoming the book’s trademark visual vibe, for example, in that layout of Dick racing down the staircase, or the Zip-a-tone-style stippling in the panel above this one. Borges does a fine Nightwing, but an even better Flash, with vibrant after-images, a Kirby-esque placement of blacks to sculpt musculature and a limit on the lightning flares.
Borges has the eye of a great artist, and the skill to translate what he sees into sharp storytelling. If Redondo ever needs another fill-in, I’d love to see him back.
Nightwing regulars Wes Abbott and Adriano Lucas are here with their letters and colours respectively, finishing the book to the high standard I’m almost taking for granted.
That’s two issues in a row Dick has teamed with another DC superhero. Two issues I’ve especially enjoyed. Editors Jessica Chen (who cameos this month, along with some guys…) and Jessica Berbey should accept the inevitable and push for a Nightwing Team-Up monthly. It’s long been said that Dick is the heart of the DC Universe, let’s see more of it. Just think of the possible combos – Nightwing and Black Canary. Nightwing and Robotman. Nightwing and Nubia. Nightwing and Maurice, the Most Ungrateful Man Alive…
… maybe not.