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.