REVIEW: ‘Nightwing,’ Issue #86

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Nightwing #86

Nightwing #86 tops off this series’ turn into the Batman Fear State crossover, and it delivers a successful romp with much of the Bat-Family.  Tom Taylor is the series’ writer, with Robbi Rodriguez taking up as a guest artist. Adriano Lucas as colorist never lets the mood down, and Wes Abbott remains steadfast as expert letterer for this series, which is published by DC Comics. The Magistrate has locked down Gotham, and everyone from Batman to Harley Quinn and in between is in the fight to get rid of them. But there’s another player in town, one who has unraveled Oracle’s network. Seer is on the loose, and it appears she has blown up Barbara Gordon’s backup base…along with the Batgirls.

This issue picks up immediately following the events of issue #85. With Barbara back as Batgirl to fight Seer, and with Nightwing by her side, things are just as up as they are down. The romance between the two seems to be moving forward (it feels like it’s been decades). However, there’s no time to be cute. The Batgirls—Stephanie Brown and Cassandra Cain—just got unalived by the enemy. 

Nightwing #86 keeps this flow for half of the entire issue. Big action sets pieces against the omnipresent Magistrate, and the action sequences are done in a fast-paced, visually appealing way. However, they seem to lack any real level of danger aside from the clock tower explosion. The panels are full of great scenery, flying fists, swinging, acrobatics, and brief dustups, but any sort of consequence is lacking. The Magistrate is so huge, so daunting, yet battling them carries little weight, at least in this issue and the last one.

On the other hand, in between the battles are some hilarious pieces of dialogue between the Bat-Family. For this alone, the issue is excellent. It shows these heroes have been through the wringer so many times that they take all of this as just another day. 

Of course, that’s due to Taylor’s way of storytelling. He can get this dialogue out and do so amid chaos, and even though Nightwing takes a backseat in his own series, what we do get of him is solid and makes a difference to the story. Rodriguez is excellent at crossing various penciling styles—sketchy, anime, cartoon, and realism—into a unique concoction that pleases. Once in a while, the faces seem shorter, but it’s cool, and this artist should definitely get a monthly series to hone the craft and keep eyes on their work. Lucas has bathed almost every panel in an explosive fiery orange, as reminiscent of the opening scene as it is of the overall struggle the heroes face. Abbott hit the BOOM SFX right off the mark, practically blending it in with the explosion as if it came from it, and that’s eye-catching work. The Nightwing team never ceases to amaze.

This is the last Fear State issue for the series. Though it was good seeing Batgirl and Red Robin, there is too much going on in Bludhaven fans need to see. Hopefully, the next Gotham menace won’t have to involve Dick. But for what it’s worth, this issue crafted an enjoyable team-up of Robins and Batgirls. While it didn’t add anything to the Magistrate, it did give us Seer. It will be interesting to see if she comes after Nightwing down the road.

Nightwing #86 is available wherever comic books are sold.


Nightwing #86
4

TL;DR

This is the last Fear State issue for the series. Though it was good seeing Batgirl and Red Robin, there is too much going on in Bludhaven fans need to see. Hopefully, the next Gotham menace won’t have to involve Dick. But for what it’s worth, this issue crafted an enjoyable team-up of Robins and Batgirls. While it didn’t add anything to the Magistrate, it did give us Seer. It will be interesting to see if she comes after Nightwing down the road.