There’s A Party Here In Blüdhaven: Reviewing ‘Nightwing’ #100
by Scott Redmond
DC Comics celebrates one-hundred issues of ‘Nightwing’ in style, finding a perfect way to bridge the past and present together in a story that is truly about creating a whole new bright future for the character and his allies. Every page is dripping with the love for this character from everyone involved, a must-read for any fan of Nightwing and the Titans.
Hitting milestone numbers is hard to do in this day and age of relaunches, but Dick Grayson always beats the odds. That’s right, the 100th issue of the current volume of Nightwing has arrived as the hero and his allies prepare to enter a whole new post-Blockbuster and post-Dark Crisis era.
If one is going to have a celebration it’s only right to invite a bunch of guests for that celebration, which is just what was done for this milestone issue. Nightwing’s regular creative team of Tom Taylor, Bruno Redondo, Adriano Lucas, and Wes Abbott are joined for this massive issue by artists Scott McDaniel, Rick Leonardi, Eddy Barrows, Javier Fernandez, and Mikel Janin as well as inkers Karl Story, Eber Ferreira, Caio Filipe, and Joe Prado. While Taylor handles all of the writing, Lucas and Abbott also handle all the coloring and lettering for the issue.
Artist jams are always interesting because they often combine a wild variety of styles into one place to tell one cohesive story. In this case, it works out so well because these artists are no strangers to Nightwing at all. McDaniel and Leonardi handled art at different points of the first ongoing volume of Nightwing that ran through the ’90s until 2009, Barrows was part of the second volume of the series that launched out of The New 52 era, while Janin was an artist during the time that Grayson’s title was actually just called Grayson, and Fernandez helped to launch this current volume of the series that kicked off in 2016. Moving through the issue is just a treat because their various styles in some ways call back to those various eras, speaking to how important and long-lived this character has been in his form as Nightwing over the decades.
We especially see that when very shortly in there is a bit about Nightwing always taking the leap that leads right into full-page spread pinups of the various eras and Nightwing costumes drawn by the different artists ripped right out of those eras.
Everyone is pulling out their very best here as the art just slides into one another, none of the changes are jarring in the slightest. There is weight and depth to all the art in different ways with Redondo picking up most of the pages and acting as a sort of bridge between the various artists but also the variety of scenes we get in the book. Everything just has such great energy and movement with their own wonderful sense of scope and paneling on display. Proving that there is always room at the table for elements of the past and the present while making space for the future too.
I’m always impressed by the stunning work that Lucas does coloring but here it’s just fabulous because the coloring is morphing like Beast Boy through the pages to meet each art style perfectly. Some of them are brighter, and filled with vivid popping colors, while others are more muted or toned down in quality allowing only a few elements (namely the superheroes themselves) to draw the colorful focus. Plenty of darker elements are at work too as the blacks/shadows creep into play across the different pages, some of them weighing heavier than others.
Without repeating what I just stated above with coloring stuff changed out for lettering, Abbott is pulling off the same feat with the lettering that morphs through the various pages. There is a baseline sort of quality in play with the dialogue fonts and bubbles but with each style, there are slight variations that make this baseline fit easier into the varying styles. All of it is enhanced by the changes made to make volume/tone clear in any given bit of letters alongside the always fantastic uses of colored bubbles or big flashy SFX that might slide into play. Oracle’s green bubbles are always a delight as are the blue caption boxes that are so fitting for Dick Grayson.
It would have been so easy for Taylor just to use this milestone issue to be a celebration, sliding in some flashbacks or never before told stories set in the past, but the writer easily sidesteps that. Yes, there are the pinup shots I mentioned earlier, but they are in service of the overall story which focuses on the here and now and what has come, and what changes are coming for Nightwing and Blüdhaven following the recent story arcs and events. There is just so much here that works.
Nightwing has always been someone that stands apart from Batman, in the best ways, and we see that here. As Heartless makes a move and lets tons of prisoners out, some of whom were held in a private prison wrongly, Nightwing doesn’t flinch from calling in help once again as the Titans show up to assist in saving the day. In many ways the celebration here is not just about how many issues the character has had in this run, but about how heroic the character truly is and what an impact he has had on the DC Universe.
Following the death of the Justice League, Nightwing stepped up the help deal with the Dark Crisis and seeing Superman and Wonder Woman (and the others in the league even though they didn’t show up) declare that Dick should protect the world in their stead (as they work on what to do next with the League) is such a powerful moment. Even more powerful and moving were the moments between Bruce and Dick, almost had to get the tissues out. Dick hugging Bruce and then calling him dad as he said he loved him was just so damn good. My heart did so many leaps at that moment because that is exactly who Dick is as a person and that’s the type of feelings that we need to see more of from strong male leads/heroes.
There is no doubt that Dick Grayson is truly a major part of the heart of the DC Universe and this issue celebrates that and continues to shout it from the rooftops as this whole run has been doing. It is beyond clear how much those involved with this run and all those guesting in this issue love the character and what he means. Things are bright ahead for the character, and I for one cannot wait to dive into this new era where the Titans are not only the heroes of Blüdhaven with Nightwing but are the premiere hero team of the DC Universe tapped with saving the planet.
A new dawn indeed. Dawn Of DC is off to a pretty great start so far.
Nightwing #100 is now available from DC Comics.