Nightwing #90 review

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.

9 thoughts on “Nightwing #90 review

  1. I agree. I loved this issue! I’d be all in on a Nightwing team up book. Why should Bats and Superman get to high the team up books? 😝
    If anyone ever wanted to put together a trade of Wally/Dick team ups, this story would be a great addition.
    The art is wonderful. The story is full of action and characterization and warmth.
    Probably the only thing I don’t like is the continued presence of Barbara Gordon as window dressing/deus ex machina (depending on the needs of the story). I understand that’s something that’s probably editorially mandated, but put me in the camp of those who might feel that Oracle has had her time in the spotlight and the less seen of her, the better.
    But that’s being needlessly negative for a book that’s honestly, a delight. Always the top of the pile whenever it comes out.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I like having a bit of Babs here because I’m not inclined to read the Batgirls book! But ‘window dressing’ is right, if she’s spending this much time around Dick, it doesn’t make sense for her character for her not to be doing more.

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      1. Batgirls #1 was so bad I didn’t bother with my usual three issue sampling. I lasted longer on Nubia!

        And I’d take a Nightwing Team Up book, a book titled Nightwing & Oracle, as well as the ongoing Nightwing. Anyone can write the Superboy title while it limps along while Clark is wasted in space so Taylor should do the N/O with Waid on Nightwing Team Up.

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      2. I agree with Steve, Batgirls is really, really bad. I’m reading it because I *want* to like it, but I think it is what it is and is not going to change personalities. This is the pitch – this is how Corona will draw and this is how Cloonan and Conrad will write it. The only reason it might not get cancelled is if DC thinks it will have a strong afterlife repackaged in a YA format, assuming everything in it is YA-appropriate, and I’m not sure the villains all actually are. Otherwise, there’s no audience for this book. What reader, other than Steph and Cass fans, saw the 8 page preview of it that was included in the back of every DC book a few months ago, and said “Yes, that’s what I’ve been lacking!”?

        Compared to that book, Barbara’s appearances in Nightwing are a pure delight. She’s not central – the book isn’t called “Nightwing and Batgirl” – but at least she seems youthful, vigorous, thoughtful and pretty – and does head out into the field. In Batgirls, she takes on a nagging Mom role – she comes off 10 or 15 years older, and her advice is often ignored by Steph and Cass (who are written as 15 year olds, even though apparently they have driver’s licenses). Barbara has been drawn several times in that book using a cane and even a wheelchair. And of course everyone, not only Barbara, is drawn hideously ugly.

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  2. I didn’t notice Jessica Chen or anyone else till I read your fine review. Then I spotted Tom Taylor, thanks to the hat that’s permanently attached to his head. The bearded fellow behind him is Bruno Redondo. There may be other notables in the crowd – I suppose there are always more cameos than we know. It helps to have a distinctive hat or purple highlights.

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  3. At least I got to read Wally in a good story his month. Chump in a red sky crossover did not make for a great issue of Flash but this made up for it. Loved Babs’ dialog too. Of the DC books I’ve read so far only World’s Finest came close to this!

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      1. When you read it you’ll see why I call it a Red Sky crossover. It was probably added to the crossover to force or trick people into upping sales on one of the worst ongoing premises I’ve heard of since Future State.

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