Nightwing’s world takes a sudden turn when Blockbuster makes his presence felt and begins to strike back against the hero and his allies, with possibly dire consequences for at least one of them. This series has done such a good job building up Blüdhaven and the players fighting for its very soul, and now those forces are colliding even more and it’s hitting hard.
When it comes to stories in general, especially in many long-form stories such as those featuring superheroes, it can take time to build things up before the powers that be start to tear them apart. Building everything up and showcasing what is at stake potentially makes the drama and moments hit harder. At this point, we’re seventeen issues, close to a year and a half, into the current Nightwing run and things are starting to come apart in the hero’s world.
It was only a matter of time before Melinda Zucco being an inside person working with Nightwing and Oracle hit a snag, they were starting to get a bit too confident and honestly a bit sloppy. The takedown of the also sloppy Commissioner Maclean was well done, but at the same time, I did find myself a bit put off about how seemingly optimistic about the police as a concept Nightwing is. Sure, from a within-universe perspective it fits since the Batfamily has super close police ties (some of them related to or having dated or been cops), but in the current era, vigilantes feeling too comfy about the greatness of police potential don’t work as well for me. It’s not a failure of the writing or the story overall, but more of a personal feeling and a feeling about where the world is in general.
That being said, I really like how the creative team worked to bring Blockbuster back to a truly intimidating space. The last issue had a bit goofier side to the things with the villains, but here Tom Taylor, Geraldo Borges, and Adriano Lucas make sure that the hulking man returns to his place as a giant threat.
A lot of that comes from how Borges draws the scenes, making sure to showcase just how massive Blockbuster is compared to those around him. In other scenes, such as the romantic scene between Dick and Babs, Lucas brings in some of the brighter colors but around Blockbuster there are far more dark shadows encroaching to add to the fearsome atmosphere. When coloring the work of Bruno Redondo, Lucas’ colors have a slicker smooth feeling to them, but here he plays into the somewhat rougher quality exuded by Borges’s work which makes the action and emotional/intimidating scenes even more powerful.
On the one hand, the route that Taylor pointed Melinda Zucco into through this issue, especially once the focus turns heavily to Blockbuster, ends up being somewhat predictable where it will go but that is also perfectly okay. Because of what we’ve seen of Melinda, this is exactly what would happen. There was no way that she would stand by and let someone else take the fall for her being the “rat” in the organization, but it also plays back to the start where the heroes are too confident and sloppy in many senses, and this is where it leads them.
Intimidating threatening energy is coming off the art in waves, but what makes it even better is when the lettering also brings that same energy into play. That’s what we get with Web Abbott all the time, making all lettering hit the right notes to accentuate what the other elements in play are bringing to the issue. For Blockbuster that means that while he is large and intimidating, his dialogue is pretty much the same as others and actually in a way is much softer. The epitome of speaking softly and carrying a big stick, except that Desmond is the big stick personified.
To many, it’s a small thing but having his dialogue coming off softer or quieter amps up the terrifying nature of him, because we’ve seen what he’s like when he does snap and gives into the rage. It’s always simmering back there, and this is a great way to showcase that element. The same thing is in play with how well Abbott makes sure to give all volume and tone away by shrinking or growing or fading or other changes made to the font so that we know how soft or loud people are talking at that moment.
Nightwing #94 is now available from DC Comics