Nightwing #100 review

It’s party time, as Dick Grayson celebrates the 100th issue of his solo series which started in the glory days of the New 52. Crashing the party is Heartless, who’s been a thorn in the side – or rather, the chest – of the people of Blüdhaven for a while. He’s murdered city kingpin Blockbuster with his heart Hoover, and is looking to step into the power vacuum. His first act is to cause chaos with a prison breakout.

Unperturbed by hundreds of hoods filling the streets, Dick does what he does best. No, not fight – make friends.

Not everyone in the city jail is a hardened criminal, and many of the escapees do indeed drop the masks, and even act on Dick’s request to help, rather than harm, people. And as for dealing with the super-villains released by Heartless, Dick has some friends he can call.

And so the rampage of the likes of Elephant Man is soon over.

It’s not long before the city is calm again, though Heartless gets away in the melee. In the aftermath, a favour is asked of Dick by Wonder Woman and Superman, who came to help but weren’t needed.

Before making his decision, Dick talks to the other member of the League’s Big Three.

The next panel is just wonderful, but I’ll leave you to come across that when you read this double-sized celebration, which ends with the reveal of the team Dick wants to protect the planet while the Justice League comes up with some new rules.

Or something. To be honest, I don’t understand what Superman and Wonder Woman are going on about. So the Hall of Justice has been destroyed. So the team has had a shock. The League has been destroyed and rebuilt probably a dozen times, why do they need an official fill-in team? Deciding to kill two birds with one stone, giving Blüdhaven a symbol to inspire hope while giving the world official Justice League level protection, Dick unveils his new team!

Or rather, old team. Again, the Justice League subplot-cum-climax is very confusing. Why wouldn’t the elder heroes simply tell the media to consider the New Titans the temporary World’s Greatest Super-Heroes? Not that I’ve ever understood why, within the DC Universe, there’s an agreed hierarchy of heroes – the New Titans showed they were the League’s equals as far back as the early Eighties. Nightwing, Donna Troy, Cyborg and Starfire have all served with the League.

Anyway, I hope we’re getting a new, decent Titans series out of this, even though Blüdhaven is their new base – I’m not keen on them taking up too much space in this comic, and the Titans deserve a dedicated series. Mind, if they are going to be regulars here, they’ll be well served – Beast Boy and Donna get their best action scenes in years.

One great thing about this issue’s portrayal of the team is that Raven looks like classic Raven, rather than the cheery Goth chick of recent years. And speaking of the daughter of Trigon, has she lost her teleportation powers? If not, why do the Titans burst into Blüdhaven via Boom Tube?

Only writer Tom Taylor and regular artistic partner Bruno Redondo know the answer. They do a great job of continuing Dick’s crusade to improve life in Blüdhaven while setting up the Titans’ new mission (I don’t blame them for the confusion, it has all the earmarks of an editorially mandated move). Dick, Babs, Bruce, Bitewing… they’re all on great form.

As are guest pencillers Scott McDaniel, Rick Leonardi, Eddy Barrows, Javier Fernandez and Mikel Janín, with inkers Karl Story, Eber Ferreira, Caio Filipe and Joe Prado, who contribute pin-ups and posters. In particular, there’s a terrific series of splash pages showing Dick in his various Nightwing outfits, after a look at him in his circus days.

What we don’t get is Dick in his Robin outfit, his most famous look. The Boy/Teen Wonder is neither seen nor namechecked. I get that this is Nightwing #100, but without Robin we’d never have had Nightwing, and it was as Robin that he first led the Titans. It’s very odd.

The secret sauce of the creative team are Adriano Lucas and Wes Abbott, who colour and letter with their usual flair.

Bruno Redondo’s cover is glorious – loads of great-looking friends of Dick, bright colours and a telescoped logo.

All in all, this is a fun anniversary issue, with the jam element contributing to the festive feel. I could have stood the Heartless business being wrapped up – he’s been offing the homeless of Blüdhaven for nearly two years now – and the League business is odd, but Dick and co are on great form in a feelgood tale.

17 thoughts on “Nightwing #100 review

  1. Curious if this will either turn into a Titans book or is being used as a Titans try-out. I have no proof other than solicitations, but it does seem like DC is being very cautious about launching ongoing series that aren’t related to Superman/Batman. A 12 issue Justice Society relaunch, for example. The recently announced Doom Patrol mini spinning out of Lazarus Planet. A decade ago these would more likely have been new ongoings. Also, as much as the current crops of DC writers seem eager to embrace legacy/history, they certainly are choosing about continuity. We already had Dick Grayson not only take over the Batman role under Grant Morrison, but run a version of the JLA written by James Robinson. I’m fine with this new effort to elevate the character to a more prominent role in the DCU, but why not have a panel or two callback to those older stories? My point is, Grayson has already accomplished what this book is making such a big deal of. Maybe the difference here is he’s doing it as Nightwing? Again, cool, but acknowledge that he was Batman/lead a JLA and “guarded the planet” before.

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    1. Yep on all counts. Maybe the plan is to do a six-issue mini-series within a series as a test marketing thing, but that’s terrible for all the people who buy Nightwing for a solo Nightwing. Lordy, how the Titans have fallen from Grace.

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  2. I think that what Superman and Wonder Woman were going on about is that the League has become a problem for the world. That the team as it was, and as it will likely be again, has often been the epicenter of some of the world’s greatest evils and disasters. They want it to be lead by someone who is not usually associated with it to try and bolster their image among the populace.

    My hope is that DC will go back to a JL that is more like a world-wide peacekeeping force that has as members almost all the super-heroes of earth, thus allowing them to manage metahumans and avoid some of the inherent dangers in having human-shaped weapons of mass destruction just acting in whatever way they want.

    Such a team, with someone like Nightwing leading it with a policy of help before punish, talk before punch, diplomacy over war, would be a beautiful thing to see. Although, there would still have to be some punching.

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    1. But if that’s the writer’s/DC’s intention, it should have been more clearly spelled out in the story. And heck, if you suspend your disbelief enough you can blame EVERY superhero for making things worse. Batman doesn’t kill the Joker. Batman unleashed the Dark Multiverse on the world in “Death Metal.” Superman makes Metropolis a target for every bad guy around. The Green Lantern Corps mostly seems to have internal drama and do little actual policing of the galaxy. Etc. etc. etc etc. But offering a nebulous “the League needs to re-think its mission” is just lame storytelling when there’s nothing building up to it. Back during the “Infinite Crisis” era DC spent MONTHS writing about a fracture between Superman, Wonder Woman and Batman in terms of trust. So when “Infinite Crisis” concluded and the Trinity decided to take a year off to do some self-improvement, it worked. In this case, I’m not aware of anything the League did recently that necessitates a “hey, let’s rethink this whole thing.” It’s like, “We’ll just let the readers decide why…”

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    2. Thanks for trying to explain things, but that’s so out of nowhere. Something this significant should be covered on the page.

      Did you read Steve Orlando’s Justice League book? That ended with a new Justice League Foundation with a different mission to the norm, it’s a shame nothing more was done with that.

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  3. Everyone should read this book. That page you ommitted but referenced had me tear up when I came across online and then later when I saw it in the book. (And I’m getting a little misty typing this)

    And yeah, the JLA nonsense. There will always be a JLA. We know it, DC knows it so why this stupid dance? Even during 52 a new JLA came together. That wonderful alt future story last year had only flaw and it was the same thing: We had to believe the death of Martian Manhunter of all characters led to no JLA for years. It was the only misstep in hat whole mini.

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    1. Yep, comics writers need to get over this idea that a single character is the ‘heart’ of a team. It makes no sense… even teams such as the FF which, via their initial set-up, are four specific, interrelated people, have had around a dozen fill-in members when a fundamental member has been taken off the board.

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  4. I had exactly the same thought as you when it came to the non-mention of Robin: WHAT? AND WHY?! Perhaps they thought it would confuse a certain type of reader (you know, morons!) or muddy the waters. Who knows? As you say, no Robin no Nightwing. Dick was Robin, the Boy then Teen Wonder for YEARS before Jason Todd (not the bears-no-resemblance version who has been running round for an age) took over that role and he became Nightwing. It is pretty stupid that Taylor and company (or editorial) didn’t include Dick as Robin here in the montage, *especially* as they included him in his aerialist days. Stupid. Doesn’t he look a bit *old* as his Flying Graysons self as well? Fa-la-la-la La-la-la-LAH!
    The “revelation” of the Titans was so goofy. Who would have guessed that would happen – other than *everyone*! What a boring line-up too, I like the original New Teen Titans but even before the wheels came off Marv Wolfman made changes, not to mention all the metamorphoses that have occurred over the years in various continuities. Where’s the imagination? Tim Drake (the other great Robin) and Todd have been warped out of all recognition by smug writers. Stephanie has been traduced and pushed to the sidelines (because her relationship with Tim was never real, *supposedly*. Yeah, *right*. I’m not sure how *that* is diverse rather than misogynistic and heterophobic but whatever). Carrie Kelly is in a different continuity. And Damien is an arse (he take after dear old Dad). At least Dick is like himself but why divorce him from arguably the most famous part of his history? I am tempted to write a sentence containing the word “thickos” and even more so when confronted with the foolish non-logic behind the Titans “replacing” the Justice League (since when does Dick need licence from the – ack! – trinity to decide what he wants to do, anyway?) but I shall refrain… Ha.
    Good issue (if inconsistent art) but the stupidities after the meat of the story are vacuous and annoying.

    Psssst, Martin… Remember when a topflight super-team operated out of an urban cesspool/****hole? Do the words “Justice League Detroit” mean anything to you? Bwa-ha-ha-ha! (Yes, both cities have improved but…) A warning for DC? We shall see.

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    1. OK, I have tweeted Messrs Taylor and Redondo asking the question. No answer so far! Hey, maybe Dick’s Robin days have been retconned away, pfah, who needs them?

      As I sorta said in another reply, how the heck did DC drop the ball so badly with the Titans? They had one of the biggest comics, but then came Team Titans and they’ve barely had a hit series since.

      Off to read my Justice League Detroit Omnibus again…

      See also Legion of Super-Heroes.

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      1. It’ll be interesting if they do reply, Martin*. Respectful too. I had exactly the same thought! Surely, it would be too crazy a thing for DC to do but one never knows, do one? (With the recent “hypertime” means everything happened – wot? Even Mopee? NOOOOO! – it seems even copier but…)
        Yes, that’s interesting. Marv Wolfman admitted he stayed too long (he said that things went kerflooey – I’m using the technical term… – around Crisis on Infinite Earths, so that’s a decade or so!) and editorial made things worse later in his tenure. Team Titans (Nu Terra?) was a mess, wasn’t it? One made messier by Zero Hour:Crisis in Time’s wonky retcon. Titans Hunt didn’t help. It’s funny how none of the Titans/Teen Titans/New New Teen Titans relaunches really restored lustre to the concept.
        Geoff Johns’s Teen Titans enjoyed some success but altho’ it was rather rooted in the Wolfman/Perez N.T.T. Johns chose to make some weird changes and bizarre retcons, some of which were tasteless (I know, Geoff Johns? “Tasteless”? Surely not!), and oddly dismissive of the iconic early series AND Peter David’s Young Justice. Gar Logan got de-aged and went from his evocative “Changeling” identity to the childish “Beast Boy” appellation, Deathstroke the Terminator offed Wintergreen (um, no), Bart Allen became Kid Flash (um, no x 2!) et cetera. It was great that Tim Drake was around as Robin but he got punked out by the revived Jason Todd (um, no x 3!), and Conner Kent was revealed as a part-clone of Lex Luthor (um, no no NOOOOO! Stupid stupid stupid X 4!). Peculiar. Johns later lost interest then left while later writers didn’t know what to do with it. Elsewhere/elsewhen, the various Titans series featuring Nightwing, Donna Troy (living/dead/not dead), Cyborg, Starfire, Wally et Al at various times never caught fire while the post-New52 Abnett series started off confusing with terrible Brett Booth art (those unhinged lamprey jaws!) with loose ties to DC Universe Rebirth/Doomsday Clock that the series couldn’t do anything with. The post-Metal changes don’t appeared to have helped as the series got cancelled.
        Yep, DC haven’t known what to do with the Titans or the Legion for years (altho’ Dan Abnett had a darn good try with both, particularly the latter). Can they beat the jinx? Time will tell, it always does.
        Eep, I know you like Justice League Detroit! (I kind-of forgot in my rush to make a pithy comment/sardonic jab at DC!) Perhaps Titans Blûdhaven will be a good omen for you…

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  5. Great point about Orlando’s Justice League!!! One of the biggest problems at DC these days is the lack of present-day continuity. Perfect example is how Snyder wrapped up “Death Metal” and most if not all of those story threads were ignored/quickly abandoned. I remember back in the 1980s being a big fan of Byrne’s Avengers West Coast. He had the big “Scarlet Witch turns bad” storyline and left before it wrapped up. Roy Thomas got hired as the next writer, and his first few issues were spent cleaning up/wrapping up Byrne’s plot. Nowadays I think they would have just done a soft reboot, launched a new #1 and hope readers forget all of the things that were never followed up on…

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    1. I remember, Thomas was a professional, showing respect towards Byrne, the readers and the characters. Today it’s ‘nothing will be the same again… until next week’s event begins’.

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      1. Didn’t you say in a review of the Titans series I skipped they were doing a Dick-Kory romance at the same time Taylor was doing the better Babs-Dick romance? No matter Taylor’s intentions, there is no continuity at DC anymore.

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      2. They have no manners, do they? *winks* One could poke the cage by mentioning that old letters pages used to *engage* with readers and answer their queries with respect and wit yet, so why should Twitter be any different. Not that they’d like that! It’s still be correct, so that’s their problem.

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