Nightwing #81 is here, and oh, how it delivers. This issue is written by Tom Taylor and illustrated by Bruno Redondo. Adriano Lucas is the colorist for this series, and Wes Abbott the letterer. This title is produced monthly by DC Comics. The conflict has been building up to this since issue #78, and now, the confrontation is here. Nightwing. Heartless. The battle for Bludhaven and the literal lives of a huddled together mass of unhoused people that began last issue. Let’s go.
Heartless, a brand new villain for the Rogues Gallery, has set fire to what was briefly a safe haven for the unhoused. With Robin on hand for backup, this is a proverbial high noon showdown. Nightwing puts himself out in front as a human shield to protect the people, and the fight between him and Heartless is well executed. That means points go to Heartless, who, with ease, shows Nightwing he is not a pushover and is A-grade. He also manages to be written in a way that leaves this villain’s purpose partially obfuscated. For, while he makes a comment here and there about crushing hopes, Heartless feels like so much more than a throwaway bad guy and his enigmatic statements add mystery and flavor to the fight. Nightwing has his hands full. Heartless has come well prepared to do whatever they want to. Oh, and elsewhere in Bludhaven, Melinda Zucco is crowned the mayor of the city, to the applause of Blockbuster and the Marconi crime family. Things are bleak, to say the least.
Four issues into the new creative run on the series, and Taylor shows he is as adept at choreographing fights and action as he is with witty banter and story development. He has created in Heartless a sleek, cunning, and cool customer who treats Bludhaven lives (especially the marginalized) as his personal convenience store. This behavior stands out, seeing a villain that isn’t completely stiff, but also not a raving lunatic. Rather, someone as controlled under tension as our hero. It’s also still cool to see the issue of people who are unhoused brought up, even if it is revolving around a superhero plotline, as it’s very real and I love seeing heroes tackle real problems. I can’t say enough about how easy and fun it is to read Taylor’s Nightwing.
Once again, Redondo, Lucas, and Abbot make visual arts look simple. The flow of lines, the realism highlighted in semi-psychedelic delicate saturations, and perfectly placed balloons and SFX are ever so pleasing. There is a great deal of humanity in Redondo’s figures, lightness in Lucas’s paints that both solidify when Abbott’s word balloons are beside them. This is a trinity of artistic merit that is just as eye-popping as Ross’s work back in Kingdom Come, even though both styles are worlds apart.
It cannot be stated enough that DC has a hit on its hands with this series. If you start with this issue, you’ll be a very happy fan. But let it inspire you to get the previous three issues to see how it all progressed. It’s exciting to see a character Dc once (twice) tried to remove from the scene now enjoys a spectacular storyline that hopefully, one day forms the center of a Nightwing family of titles. If possible, Nightwing #81 would rate a 10 out of 5.
Nightwing #81 is available wherever comic books are sold.
It cannot be stated enough that DC has a hit on its hands with this series. If you start with this issue, you’ll be a very happy fan. But let it inspire you to get the previous three issues to see how it all progressed. It’s exciting to see a character Dc once (twice) tried to remove from the scene now enjoys a spectacular storyline that hopefully, one day forms the center of a Nightwing family of titles. If possible, this would rate a 10 out of 5.
William J. Jackson is a small town laddie who self publishes books of punk genres, Victorian Age superheroes, rocket ships, and human turmoil. He loves him some comic books, Nature, Star Trek, and the fine art of the introvert.