‘Nightwing’ continues to lean heavily on the relationships that Dick Grayson has formed over the decades, which is just a boon for the title and for the universe as a whole. There are a few moments that didn’t sit quite as well in the long run, but overall the book continues to deliver on its premise of making the character and his world more fun but also bigger and more centered.
Superhero comics are great. They have all the action and drama that comes with heroes and villains clashing, the fate of the world or the city at stake with heroes generally (even if it takes some time) coming out on top. That’s great and all, but one of the things that certainly keeps many of us coming back to these books is the character relationships.
Dick Grayson is very much a central character to the DC Universe, some (like me) would call him one of the hearts of the DCU, and therefore he has a lot of connections. One of the best things that this current Nightwing run has done is bring those relationships back to the forefront. Especially those with his Teen Titans/Titans family.
After the really well-done crossover with Superman: Son of Kal-El, Tom Taylor returns the series to the plot at hand, Blockbuster, and his cabal of paid off/controlled Blüdhaven leader’s plans to kill Grayson. With previous plots failing, he outsources to a mysterious assassin known as La Agente Funebre who cares nothing for collateral damage, as the entirety of Dick’s apartment building is destroyed. Luckily his half-sister Melinda Zucco is part of these meetings as Mayor and gives him enough heads up to be able to save everyone.
It’s sad and a shame to see Dick’s awesome home, which is just as much a character at this point, being destroyed so soon into the run, but it makes sense that they would attack him there. It’s not like he was trying to hide (though reinforcing your apartment doesn’t mean much when they can just attack the whole building Grayson).
We get a whole ton of Dick and Wally stuff in this one, as Wally comes to the “rescue” after hearing about the attack as well as some great moments with Linda as well as her and Wally’s kids, Jai and Iris. These back-and-forth moments and reconnections, with Wally being Dick’s best friend, are what makes comics so great. For a period of time, these connections were lost or forgotten or not featured as much in DC books, and seeing them being reforged and celebrated across the entirety of the publishing line is just the best.
Also, the moment where Babs gets kidnapped to lure Dick out and he and Wally switch places with her without the bad guys knowing was mostly solid. While I understand where Taylor was going with the “fridging” comment, it still felt a bit off in this context and probably not the best choice overall.
This is another issue where regular artist Bruno Redondo is taking a break, leading to Geraldo Borges taking over. There are some similarities in their styles, so the artwork overall keeps a lot of the same energy, which is always nice. Where Redondo’s artwork has a smoother quality to it, Borges has a bit of a rougher texture which in a way fits with some of the rougher events of this issue. Either way, there are still a lot of very solid paneling choices that work to the advantage of the given action or moments of a page, giving every page its own distinct look and feel.
Colors wise Adriano Lucas is still there doing the best work, making some small changes to the color tones from the previous issues to match the new artwork. While the colors are brighter and slicker with the smoother work of Redondo, they take on a more muted and toned-down look to fit the rougher look of Borges artwork. It works perfectly, while still achieving that colorful superhero look that this book has enjoyed since the run began.
This is a more dialogue-heavy issue, with the best friends back together and lots of moving pieces to the plot that need to be put out there, and Web Abbott makes it all flow and work per usual. Alongside that is how much effort is put into making sure the various bits of dialogue have the same energy or personality flashes that one would expect from these characters, along with that more realistic air that comes from altering font sizes or shapes to match volume and tone perfectly. This is a thing that I bring up in reviews a lot when it’s clear a letterer has done it because it’s a very appreciated thing. It allows our minds to instantly know how a sentence is being spoken, rather than having to fill those blanks in ourselves on top of everything else.
Comics schedules are rough, and artists need breaks, that should never be argued against. Having other artists on board to step up for issues is great all around, especially like this case where they have someone that can slip in with a similar style to keep the same look and energy present. A big thumbs up to all those involved that have worked hard to keep such things consistent on this run so far, it’s a lot of hard work to get here I imagine at the end of the day they would say its worth it.
Nightwing #90 is now on sale in print and digitally from DC Comics.