Nightwing #100 review

While recent issues delved slightly into Dick Grayson’s darker side by putting him face to face with Tony Zucco, Nightwing #100 is a celebration of all of Dick’s best characteristics. Tom Taylor and a large collection of artists deliver a sentimental, if not messy anniversary issue that sends the series in a new direction.

The opening page establishes some mystery as Bruce delivers a “big ask” to Dick as they reunite at Alfred’s gravestone. It’s nice to have a “mystery box” scenario, which hints that this anniversary issue will shake up the series in a potentially major way. However, the way this conversation is developed over the issue ends up being increasingly convoluted and much ado about nothing. Thankfully, Taylor does deliver a compelling emergency for Nightwing to tackle as Heartless breaks into Blüdhaven’s private prison to release its inmates, namely Tony Zucco. There is a slight snag as Scott McDaniel handles these early pages and the transition to his art from Redondo’s opening three pages is extremely jarring. McDaniel’s anatomy is frankly unappealing and his rendition of Barbara Gordon has…problems. Nonetheless, some of the more chaotic pages capture a sense of genuine energy, particularly when Heartless slams a prison guard into a wall as his mercenaries spill into the prison behind him. Adriano Lucas’ colors inject this prison break with a great deal of vibrancy, despite the setting’s potentially sickly appearance with its green walls and overabundance of orange jumpsuits. When a book has six artists contributing, a stellar colorist is a major asset and that remains true here.

Credit: Scott McDaniel, Adriano Lucas, Wes Abbott

Art inconsistencies aside, the initial prison break sequence is a solid way to have Nightwing fight to protect his city and the scale of the threat feels appropriate for an anniversary issue. Taylor cranks up the sentimentality a little early as he has all six artists draw their own page to depict Nightwing, in several different costumes, leap off a building. Mikel Janín’s page is first, and while not a true splash page, relies on a single character flying across his three panels to the ground. There’s even the classic Taylor special where Dick narrates about how he always leaps into danger as he literally leaps into danger. If the entire series didn’t have such a strong sentimental streak, this sequence could have hit harder. Unfortunately, as it is, the sequence feels like more of the same despite dedicating five consecutive splash pages to it. Each splash page looks very nice, though I do wish the poses that tracked his descent were clearer. As it stands, the pages don’t necessarily flow into each other that well.

Credit: Rick Leonardi, Adriano Lucas, Wes Abbott

What does work extremely well is Taylor’s script avoiding too much bloodshed by having Nightwing convince several of the escaped convicts to either walk away or help him maintain order. That’s not to say Nightwing doesn’t get his hands dirty as he still has Heartless’ goons to take on, giving a good mix of genuine fisticuffs alongside the wide-eyed optimism. It’s thrilling to see both Nightwing’s heart and fighting ability put to the test as he stands alone on the street of his city, surrounded by enemies. That’s why the subsequent arrival of the Titans is just a little disappointing as any sense of urgency immediately evaporates when six superheroes arrive on the scene. Eddy Barrows handles art duties for most of the action in the second half of the issue, with his style lending a more dramatic flair to the proceedings. Barrows’ compositions are dramatic, with tilted angles and fewer panels to keep his figures larger and more powerful looking. Barrows also renders the climactic fight between Nightwing and KGBeast with aplomb, even if the final two-page spread of the fight switches to a different artist.

Credit: Eddy Barrows, Adriano Lucas, Wes Abbott

By the end of this main story, it’s apparent the threat never fully took off due to the arrival of the Titans. Taylor also has them dramatically arrive through a portal twice, the second time with Dick introducing them as his friends. It’s hard for their arrival to feel special two times in one issue, especially when accompanied by yet another saccharine declaration from our titular character. While Heartless and Tony Zucco are still out in the wild, the series looks to be changing things up with a new direction. As of now, I’m wary that Taylor doesn’t seem to have a coherent path forward for the book, particularly since the nautical themed “The Hold” was just introduced and seemed to mark a path for a new arc.

Credit: Javier Fernandez, Adriano Lucas, Wes Abbott

What we have instead, is a rushed sequence of events wherein Dick buys a private prison, is offered a chance to lead the Justice League by Bruce, Diana, and Clark to guard the planet. However, Dick is more concerned with protecting Blüdhaven, but then goes along with the plan, except he decides to reunite the Titans and turn the prison into Titans Tower. Lastly, Dick’s speech implies that he is still protecting Blüdhaven, but is also protecting the world at the same time. Taylor does his best to wrangle all these competing ideas under the guise of the “Power Vacuum” title of the arc, but it never fully lands as coherent. Long story short, the Titans are back and are now in Blüdhaven. Whew.

There’s also a solid scene where Bruce and Dick finally have a heart to heart about Alfred and how he kept the Bat family together. It’s a nice sequence, but Taylor can’t help but have Dick hug Bruce in a splash page, when a more intimate composition, rather than dramatic, would’ve served it better. After a while, all the sentimentality feels manufactured and Taylor’s unrelenting need to punctuate each tender moment robs some of these moments of genuine heart. We know Dick Grayson is a great person with a heart of gold, but Taylor finds himself stuck reasserting this over and over again. I’m excited for the Titans to return, but the overall trajectory of the series grows increasingly unwieldy as Dick’s ambitions grow larger without ever truly selling his previous accomplishments in Blüdhaven.

Recommended if…

  • The Titans are a favorite group of yours.
  • You don’t mind another dose of sentimentality.
  • The guest artists appeal to you.


Nightwing #100 is an appropriately reverent issue that capably displays Dick Grayson’s inherent goodness, while also delivering a heavy dose of action. The main narrative implications are thin, though Heartless and Tony Zucco’s team up is ripe for drama. However, the arrival of the Titans will be the main barometer of whether or not the issue and the series’ new direction is appealing. The spectacle and heart warming moments work their magic, but there’s a lack of nuance to how Nightwing’s next stage for Blüdhaven plays out.

Score: 6.5/10

Disclaimer: DC Comics provided Batman News with a copy of this comic for the purpose of this review.