Nightwing #94 manages to keep the tension going strong by raising the stakes even further for Dick, Barbara, and especially Melinda Zucco, who finds herself more prevalent than before. Geraldo Borges fills in for Bruno Redondo again, but still delivers high quality art even if the overall aesthetic is much different.
Tom Taylor’s script wastes no time addressing the fallout from last month with Commissioner Maclean now under suspicion for sending crooked cops to vandalize Haven. It plays out standard enough, with Melinda baiting Maclean to go on the run with highly sensitive documents that will expose everyone involved with Blockbuster. The set up is obvious, but Taylor wisely has Nightwing track Maclean almost immediately, allowing Borges to render a thrilling car chase. Not content with having Nightwing merely land atop Maclean’s car, the script has Dick hijack a motorcycle and play chicken with Maclean. Taylor’s scripts have allowed his artists to draw thrilling action sequences without an excess of dialogue muddying the compositions. The emphasis on lettered sound effects to lead the eye is wise and they are expertly placed by Wes Abbott. It’s something you don’t necessarily notice, but when a book lets the action pages breathe without a surplus of word balloons it lets the artist use the space in different ways. For example, a two page spread that depicts Nightwing jumping off his motorcycle right before crashing into Maclean’s car lets the negative space between the two vehicles exist without being over-encumbered with text. This entire opening sequence also works better than previous action sequences since it involves a key villain and not just another random goon who’s been sent after Dick. Slowly but surely, the quality action is gaining more tension by featuring higher stakes for the core narrative.
With Maclean neutralized (for the time being), the status quo of the book shifts and brings more options for Taylor’s scripts to play with. Maggie Sawyer is now the new commissioner, which allows the police department to operate more as an ally for Dick (hopefully) rather than have it only be used as a pawn for Blockbuster. The removal of Maclean also allows Melinda to grow in importance and she is now Blockbuster’s most important pawn. This change in dynamic has been sorely needed by the series and I’m very happy Taylor doesn’t seem to be slowing the pace down even as he approaches the midpoint of the arc.
In this month’s edition of DickBabs watch, fans of the couple do get another romantic scene between the pair. While I’m a fan of this relationship, if Taylor decides to make every single kiss between the two it’s own dramatic moment, the novelty will wear off fast. I hope their relationship becomes more casually depicted in the sense that every tender moment between the two isn’t treated as a portfolio moment. As it stands, there’s still enough freshness within the series to keep the fans satiated, but unless there’s a shakeup soon it does stand to become much ado about nothing. What I do like about this sequence is Adriano Lucas’ colors giving the entire scene a green tint as the pair are holed up within Barbara’s Oracle workstation. Even though it’s a Nightwing book, it’s smart to have Barbara’s essence and personality permeate visually within the series as well.
The second half of the issue features a couple fun twists as Melinda questions whether or not Blockbuster is aware of her deceptions. A great splash page has Melinda rush back home to find an oversized Blockbuster seated, about to receive tea from her mother. The juxtaposition of a giant sized villain in an ordinary home setting is equally amusing and intimidating. There’s a nice underlying tension as Blockbuster explains to Melinda how he’s aware there’s a snitch in their ranks. At this point, it isn’t entirely clear if Blockbuster is testing Melinda, and his surprisingly straightforward confidence toward her feels equally comforting and ominous. Taylor then establishes a great moral dilemma for Melinda to face as she must choose between maintaining her cover or allowing one of Blockbuster’s henchmen to take the fall for her. I won’t spoil how the issue resolves, but Taylor delivers a tantalizing cliffhanger. Taylor now has many angles to his story to develop and readers should feel confident that future issues won’t have to slow the pace down. While no plot point has truly surprised me, there is a satisfying sense of progression as Taylor utilizes classic tropes to great effect.
- You’ve been waiting for a shake up within the Blüdhaven police department.
- Geraldo Borges’ art is a suitable replacement for Bruno Redondo.
- A slow drip of DickBabs content doesn’t annoy you.
Nightwing #94 is another satisfying issue courtesy of Tom Taylor and Geraldo Borges. While Borges’ pencils are rougher than Redondo’s, his storytelling is just as strong and maintains the series’ high standards for art. For those wary of a lack of plot progression, rest assured that Taylor’s script maintains the arc’s quick pace and delivers a final page that is certain to shake things up more than ever before.
Disclaimer: DC Comics provided Batman News with a copy of this comic for the purpose of this review.