Nightwing and Co. Fight Off The Forces of Blockbuster – *Spoilers Ahead For Nightwing #88*
There is a hit out on Dick Grayson aka Nightwing and after Dick publicly announcing that he would be using his inheritance from Alfred to help the less fortunate within the city of Blüdhaven, the criminals of the city all want a piece of him. This sets in motion an incredible non-stop action sequence within the previous issue. And with the hit proving to be a failure thus far, we now pick up with Nightwing #88.
The issue starts with a beautiful splash page by artist Bruno Redondo as we see the hero standing on a rooftop overlooking the city of Blüdhaven and thinking about the true potential his adopted city has. Reminding himself that he must do everything he can to protect it from those who look down on it. We then cut to the main threat of a large portion of Tom Taylor and Bruno Redondo’s run, Roland Desmond a.k.a Blockbuster. He is seen in his tower conversing with a mysterious assailant in possession of a sniper rifle via a video call as they reveal that they are in position to assassinate Dick Grayson.
We then cut to the apartment of Dick Grayson and his dog Haley aka Bitewing as we see Barbara Gordon aka Oracle also having a secret conversation with an unknown figure about Dick. The conversation comes to an end just as he swings back into his apartment with food delivery for Barbara and Haley the Dog. We then get a few wholesome panels of flirty banter between Dick and Barbara which DickBabs fans will be sure to love, and they discuss an upcoming press conference that Dick is holding for the Alfred Pennyworth Foundation (the charity set up thanks to Alfred’s inheritance) and Barbara, to Dick’s surprise, decides her and Haley will both be attending too.
Onto Dick’s press conference now as we see him announcing his plans to build upon the area in which many unhoused young people have been living in tents (as seen in earlier issues of the series) to enable them a better quality of life. However, as he is doing his speech, we see a woman perching on a rooftop with a sniper rifle ready to take the shot and kill Dick.
Suddenly, the gun goes off, but the woman’s aim is abruptly interrupted as we then see iconic DC heroine Starfire bend the gun barrel and then an appearance from Donna Troy destroying the assassin’s – who is revealed to be Z-list Batman villain Gunbunny- earpiece communicator. That’s right, the Titans are here! And it’s revealed by Starfire that they were called in by Oracle to protect Dick.
Oracle converses with Starfire revealing that she knows Gunbunny and that she never works alone as she asks the Titans if anyone can spot her partner Gunhawk with Beast Boy swooping over the city on the lookout. No one can seem to locate Gunhawk so Oracle calls in the emergency action by having The Flash (Wally West) run in and get Dick out of there just in time! Dick is surprised to see Wally but quickly realizes that it was Oracle that called them in for backup as we then get some humorous dialogue between the long-time friends.
Gunhawk now reports back to Blockbuster that Dick has gotten away which reveals it was in fact Gumhawk conversing with Blockbuster via video call at the start of the issue. Gunhawk now has another problem as someone knocks on the door as Blockbuster moves his B team in to finish the job of killing Dick Grayson.
Wally then takes Dick to see Mister Terrific, Wally and Mister Terrific are forming a close friendship at the moment within The Flash’s current comic run, as they reveal that they’ve both collaborated to craft Dick a new Nightwing suit, much to Dick’s delight. The scene then cuts back to the press conference with Melinda Zucco, the stepsister of Dick Grayson, yelling to Blockbuster’s B team that their actions will have major consequences.
Just as Blockbuster’s team are about to harm innocents, Nightwing arrives in his new suit, and Wally West super speeds his way in for a beautiful splash page of the duo saving the innocents. A battle commences with all the Titans showing up as we now see Cyborg and Raven joining the already-present members to aid in the fight which then transitions into another eye-catching splash page of all the Titans information as Raven teleports them all to Blockbuster’s tower to confront him.
Starfire has a fantastic character moment as she steps forward to put Blockbuster in his place and the Titans declare that Dick Grayson is now under Titans’ protection. Blockbuster cries out for Gunhawk as we cut back to see the aftermath at the knock of Gunhawk’s door. Gunhawk is being thrown around the room by the recently created villain Heartless, who has featured previously in Taylor and Redondo’s Nightwing run, as he interrogates Gunhawk. Heartless discovers Gunhawk was working for Blockbuster and states that he was eventually going to butt heads with him at some point. After the discovery he brutally kills Gunhawk by stealing his heart and thus the issue comes to a close.
It is nice to see how much fun Tom Taylor is having writing both Nightwing in this run in addition to his supporting cast. Capturing the essence of Nightwing perfectly. With a clear script, Taylor wastes no time in getting to the point and provides great character beats throughout, with the Wally West and Dick Grayson exchanges being the highlight for me. Bruno Redondo yet again proves why he is quite possibly my favorite artist in the comic book industry at this moment in time. His sense of scenery, showing the architecture of Blüdhaven, to his incredible use of facial expressions all showcase the fantastic ability that Redondo possesses and certifies him as the perfect man for the job.
Let’s not forget about Adriano Lucas’ colors that compliment Redondo’s artwork significantly. With examples of his warm palette showcasing the comforting feeling of Dick’s apartment showcasing the coziness and secureness. Then contrasting this with the cold colors of blue, black, and white within the press conference panels to showcase the openness and exposure that Dick feels while being out in the public whilst a hit is currently on his head. Seeing Lucas’ colors on the whole Titans team is superb. As he makes sure whichever member is on the panel stands out from a mile away, highlighting the protective circle being formed by the Titans around Dick.
Presumably, the Titans will be popping up a lot more within the current Nightwing series which I for one am certainly not complaining about. Their inclusion certainly adds to the heart of the book. Taylor seems to be building up Heartless in the shadows and seems he has big plans for the future of character within this series which adds another rogue into Nightwing’s rogues gallery. I am extremely excited to see where this next issue will go.
Nightwing #88 is now available on digital and at your local comic book store!
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