REVIEW: ‘Nightwing,’ Issue #83

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Nightwing #83 - But Why Tho

Nightwing #83 fires on all cylinders as Dick Grayson and Blockbuster collide. Tom Taylor crafts the story and words as series writer. Bruno Redondo turns the written story into illustrations as artist. Adriano Lucas brightens those illustrations as the colorist for Nightwing, and Wes Abbott weaves words in between the imagery as letterer. This title is published monthly by DC Comics. When we last saw our hero, Nightwing learned the corrupt mayor of Bludhaven, Melinda Zucco, is his half-sister. But their time was cut short as the Bludhaven Police came a-knocking, with Blockbuster looming behind them. 

The issue begins with a standoff as the police threaten to force their way into Zucco’s home. Their belief is that Nightwing has attacked the mayor or worse. But really this is Blockbuster ‘protecting’ his trophy politician and political chokehold on the city. Before the inevitable combat ensues, we are treated to some final interplay between Dick and Melinda, which adds another wrinkle to the complexities of our hero trying to shine a light upon Bludhaven’s shadows. Of course, Melinda could be lying about her claims. Heck, her mother might have lied as well. But whether or not they are is a story for another time. Nightwing needs to escape, and the ladies are willing to help him by giving Blockbuster what he wants.

What follows is comic book and action movie insanity, but it’s a feel-good kind of madness. Nightwing flees the Zucco home and is pursued by the cops and Blockbuster across the rooftops. Blockbuster, it seems, has such a hold on the city that he can attack Nightwing in broad daylight, while the police open fire, without losing power. At first, it seems silly, even illogical, that the secretive owner of Bludhaven’s legal and underworld structures would be so brazen. However, it clearly puts on display this villain’s lack of self-control, and more to the point, the completeness of his control. No one, aside from Nightwing, is going to do anything about Blockbuster’s reign, and this makes him loom as a much bigger villain in his territory than a Joker or Lex Luthor. It gives the feeling that Nightwing is up against a more potent threat than other DC heroes face. Throughout this battle, it’s clear Nightwing will be posited as a bad influence on the city, that he attacked the mayor, setting him up to be more like a Robin Hood figure. Which is bringing things very full circle.

Nightwing #83 doesn’t slow down after the crazy fight. Every plot dropped since the creative team took over the series is tagged in. Dick’s inheritance from Alfred. The plight of Bludhaven. Dick and Barbara’s relationship. There’s an even flow of subplots, dialogue, and resolutions to storylines on every page that roll into the next scene and play out as beautifully as Redondo’s frame-by-frame cover art of Nightwing changing outfits. Best of all is the humanity of Dick Grayson. Taylor can input the entire 80-years’ worth of buildup and development into Nightwing with ease while allowing him to be weak, tired, vulnerable, and even awkward and fumbling. This might not work out well for fans accustomed to seeing their heroes in a neverending state of undaunted boldness, but these same qualities, played for dramatic and comedic effect, are what make Dick the relatable hero in the very grim Batman family.

I said in (nearly every) review recently that Nightwing needs to be its own thing, with his own Rogues Gallery and less reliant on Batman. While I know he can never truly be separate from that hero, and he shouldn’t be, Bludhaven is too good a thing to just be the copycat of Gotham in looks and villains. Thankfully, Taylor seems to want the same. Month after month we are given a city that feels distinct, courtesy of his writing, Redondo’s mighty pen, Lucas’ vivacious hues, and Abbott’s formidable lettering. This issue made the title character the focus while putting Bludhaven front and center as well, and never once shied away from other characters.

All in all, Nightwing #83 reads like an ensemble cast spinning around Nightwing, a brilliant neo-noir tapestry expanding from a hero who has long deserved this sort of front and center attention. Hopefully, Barabara remains forever and the Zucco drama gets even more convoluted. 

Nightwing #83 is available wherever comics are sold.

Nightwing #83
5

TL;DR

All in all, Nightwing #83 reads like an ensemble cast spinning around Nightwing, a brilliant neo-noir tapestry expanding from a hero who has long deserved this sort of front and center attention. Hopefully, Barabara remains forever and the Zucco drama gets even more convoluted.