Nightwing Review #97 | Batman News

Night wing #97 is a well-executed glitch that slows the series after its explosive climax in “The Battle for the Heart of Blüdhaven.” The stakes are set, there’s a simmering tension as rogue cops remain a current threat, and all the while, Heartless remains hidden on the fringes. However, there is a growing sense of security and boredom that creeps into Tom Taylor’s scripts as he tends to rinse and repeat the same beats over and over. Without a truly shocking development, the series threatens to stagnate and become complacent in its skill.

The fallout from Blockbuster’s death is handled well, and it’s a startling sight to see his corpse in the morgue with a giant hole in his chest. There’s a real grit to this image, which is more the show could do to counterbalance Nightwing’s intense optimism. Adriano Lucas’ colors deftly capture the clinical atmosphere of the morgue with cool greens and blues, and render Blockbuster’s chest wound suitably grotesque with the deep red of his dried blood. There’s a big splash page where Nightwing is framed in the giant hole in Blockbuster’s chest as he talks about the “power vacuum” now at his fingertips. It’s a great image, but I don’t really buy into Nightwing’s argument that Blockbuster being killed instead of brought to justice will result in “someone else [thinking] they can fill the void”. If anything, death is more likely to scare off any potential gangsters who take over, which is supported by the next page where Maroni scoffs at Commissioner Sawyer’s threats, thinking he’ll be kicked out of jail in no time. There’s even a moment where Renee Montoya comes along and laments Gotham City’s tendency to keep its villains, primarily Joker, alive. It’s a nice feeling for Dick to want real justice, but it feels awkward to run the homepage images with the title “Power Vacuum.”

Credit: Bruno Redondo, Caio Filipe, Adriano Lucas, Wes Abbott

Redondo and Geraldo Borges team up this time for artistic tasks. Redondo handles the opening and ending pages while Borges handles the middle. Although I generally like Borges’ art, the transition to his pages is noticeable and caught me off guard for a while. It’s not just because of Borges’ grittier style, but because Taylor’s storyline abruptly shifts gears after Dick, Barbara, and Maroni get to safety in Gotham Woods. It’s no surprise that Maroni’s prison transport is ambushed, but Borges captures the sequence well, especially with a page devoted to vehicle chaos. There’s a page where a giant truck smashes cars, but Borges wisely places a man on a motorbike right in the middle. It ups the scare factor by showing exactly how vast and destructive the scene is with a completely helpless person in the mix. The Wes Abbott letter sound effects also do a great job of matching the action. The initial crash has thinner fonts to imply metal shredding, but when the prison van flips, the accompanying “KROOM” is bolder to sell the power of momentum and impact. Taylor’s script also spices up a traditional ambush scene by having one of the cops try to execute Maroni, only to be stopped by the arrival of Dick and Barbara. I’m glad the presence of rogue cops didn’t go away with Blockbuster’s death because it adds another layer of tension to any given scene.

Credit: Geraldo Borges, Adriano Lucas, Wes Abbott

The strange change happens right after Dick and Barbara take Maroni to conveniently located nearby Gotham Woods. Taylor’s script does its best Predator impression as Dick single-handedly eliminates several goons over two pages. It’s a strange change from the urban environment that Dick primarily fights in, and Borges’ art makes that change all the more noticeable. Nonetheless, Borges’ heavy character work lends a greater wildness to the action, which matches the setting. The speed of the fight feels like an afterthought, serving more as a somewhat awkward transition to the trio finding one of Bruce’s hidden havens. Now safely hidden away, Dick and Barbara spend time alone after comically knocking Maroni out with a tranquilizer hidden in his fencing stick. Taylor’s storyline even flirts with a real dose of sensuality as Maroni notes that the hideout has thin ceilings when Dick comes to see him the next morning. These final pages don’t exactly turn into an exciting cliffhanger, but the final page leaves readers on an intriguing note. It’s a spinoff issue, so I don’t mind giving Taylor time to reset the table, but hopefully Heartless makes their next game sooner rather than later.

Credit: Geraldo Borges, Adriano Lucas, Wes Abbott


The final page shows Ric Grayson arriving at the hideout in a cab, which gives the issue a real jolt of surprise. I have no idea where this lookalike plot is heading, but I can’t imagine most fans would be thrilled to remember Ric Grayson’s plot. Yet in a book that is slowly losing any real suspense, a reworking like this is welcome, but with trepidation. However, I can’t help but think that Melinda Zucco and her relationship with Dick could be better explored instead of adding a new wrinkle like Ric Grayson. While the revelation that Dick had a sister was a big deal when it happened, it’s been largely treated as an afterthought ever since.

Recommended if…

  • Can’t wait to see the fallout from Blockbuster’s death on Blüdhaven.
  • The distribution of artistic tasks between Bruno Redondo and Geraldo Borges seduces you.
  • The series’ usual charms haven’t waned.


Night wing #97 is an effective, if somewhat modest, transition issue, as The Battle for Blüdhaven’s Heart leaves a new status quo. The art is tight, the action well rendered, but there’s a nagging feeling that Tom Taylor’s scripts are getting increasingly repetitive. There is an ease of craftsmanship to be exhibited and it is good to have a book of such consistent quality as night wingbut the issue’s cliffhanger is both exciting and ominous as Taylor searches for her next big hook.

Score: 7.5/10

Disclaimer: DC Comics provided Batman News with a copy of this comic for the purposes of this review.

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