Celebrating the Unpopular Arts
 

Review: Nightwing #100: A Celebration

 

Nightwing #100 jamal campbell wraparound cover
Jamal Campbell wraparound cover for Nightwing #100. Image copyright DC Comics

Nightwing #100 is, against all odds, a true celebration of Dick Grayson, past and present, and sets up a tremendous future for the first Robin, a character who’s long since evolved from a sidekick.

Why do I say against all odds? Because for a long time, DC sidelined the character. He was supposed to die in Infinite Crisis, he was resurrected not as a hero but as a spy of Spyral in the underrated Grayson series, and, in the most ignominious editorial act of all, he was shot in the head, lost all his memories, and started calling himself Rik Grayson who didn’t want anything to do with people he didn’t remember. The less said of this era, the better.

But DC had a change of heart, along with a change of editorial and creative team. First, the Rik Grayson era was put to bed. Then, beginning with Nightwing (fourth iteration of the title) #78, Tom Taylor and Bruno Redondo refined Dick, with all their storylines leading up to this landmark issue.

Nightwing #100 Credits

  • Writer: Tom Taylor. Artist: Bruno Redondo.
  • Scott McDaniel, Rick Leonardi, Eddy Barrows, Javier Fernandez, Mikel Janin, artists.
  • Karl Story, Eber Ferreira, Caia Filipe, Joe Prado with Rick Leonardi, inks.
  • Adriano Lucas, colors. Wes Abbott, letters.
  • Bruno Redondo cover & acetate variant cover.
  • Javier Fernandez & Tomeu Morey, Jorge Jimenez, Travis Moore & Tamra Bonvillain, Jim Lee, Scott Williams & Alex Sinclair, variant covers.
  • Jamal Campbell, wraparound variant cover. Babs Tar, 1:25 variant cover; Jorge Fornes, 1:50 variant cover; Dan Mora, 1:100 variant cover; George Perez, Discowing tribute variant & 1:150 variant cover.

Will I like Nightwing #100?

Yes.

In an excellent story mainly by Taylor/Redonda (with numerous art assists), Nightwing has to face an enemy who thrives on chaos, unleashing the entire population of Bloodhaven’s prison. Instead of Nightwing as a one-man army against all odds, as might be expected, it’s Nightwing appealing to the humanity of the escaped prisoners, many of whom choose to help others in the midst of this disaster instead of fighting a superhero.

It’s a commentary on America’s broken prison system, yes, but it’s also about how Dick believes that people can behave their best, given a choice. Dick is also not alone. Instead of facing insurmountable odds, he calls in help: the original Titans. Between his optimism, his helpers, and the help of Bludhaven residents, the side of the good prevails.

Nightwing #100 Titans
Dick calls in some help in Nightwing #100. Image copyright DC Comics

There are some terrific art sequences but none better than Nightwing’s fight with the KGBeast, the man who shot him in the head. In a two-page spread, tight panels feature single blows and close-ups of weapons, as the combatants are evenly matched. A simple white background along the bottom centers Dick’s determination and heart.

There is also a sequence that calls back to all eras of Nightwing, as it begins with Dick as a Flying Grayson and is followed by full-page pinups of Nightwing in flight, everything from Discowing to Red-colored Nightwing, to Redondo’s version.

SPOILERS

The final of the story also connects to the wider DC Universe, as Dick raises a new Titans Tower to watch over Bludhaven and accepts the Justice League’s offer of leading a new League.

And then there’s this panel. Awww…

Nightwing #100 Father & son
A hug long coming from Nightwing #100. Image copyright DC Comics

Do I need to Read all the Issues Before Nightwing #100? 

No, I skipped about six issues before picking this up and followed the story just fine. Nightwing fans of all eras should like this one. (Dick/Babs shippers too.)

It might make you want to read the entire run, however. It starts with Nightwing: Leaping Into the Light.

What’s Next for Nightwing?

That’s uncertain. It looks like Dick will take center stage in the DC Universe as the Justice League vanished for a while for a crisis. (As happens frequently.) But the Justice League title is being relaunched too, so who knows how that will last? Still,  this creative team is staying on the book and that’s reason enough for me to keep reading.

 

4 Comments

  1. mike loughlin

    I’ve liked this run overall, even though some of the wheel-spinning has been frustrating (e.g. Dick becomes a billionaire and then… nothing for several issues). Taylor has a great handle on Nightwing’s character. The real draw has been Bruno Redondo’s art- his layouts and figure drawing are among the best the industry has to offer.

    Your review of issue 100 is spot-on. It’s no fe to have an anniversary issue be appropriately celebratory. I might even pick up Titans when Taylor’s run starts, and I haven’t read a Titans book in years.

  2. conrad1970

    Taylor’s Nightwing has been one of the constant highlights from DC recently. I know a lot of people have dismissed it as pandering to fan-service but I put this up there with Fraction and Aja’s Hawkeye run.
    I hope they can keep this creative team together whatever they decide to work on next.

    1. Corrina Lawson

      Yep. I would as well. He’d done some interesting things with Alfred, too, even though Alfred is dead. (For now, anyway…). But if Alfred being dead leads to more focus on the father/son relationship between Bruce and Dick, that is a plus. For too long, I think, DC didn’t want Bruce to be seen as a dad to Nightwing because I believe they worried it would age him.

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