One of the best ongoing titles on the shelf, Nightwing #103 continues to give us a taste of what is to come in Tom Taylor’s upcoming Titans run while giving Grayson fans what they’ve come to love from this series. This run has been full of laughs, touching moments, and most importantly proper growth for Dick Grayson as a character. We’ve seen him create a stable relationship with Barbra Gordon, settle as the face of Blüdhaven, talk with Bruce about their parental relationship and grow to be the leader of the Titans—the new stand-in for the long gone Justice League.
Dick Grayson has become the de facto leader of the Titans, and the team must come together to save Blockbuster’s daughter from a deal with the devil. Many of the Titans get moments to shine this issue, and Tom Taylor provides a good voice for each of them.
*Warning: This review contains spoilers for Nightwing #103*
Let’s go on a Hell Heist!
The general story of the issue is pretty straight forward. Neron, the leader of Hell, is attempting to retrieve Blockbuster’s daughter, Olivia, after losing her to Nightwing in issue #98. The reason for Neron’s quest is quite simple—Blockbuster is a terrible father and sold his daughter’s soul to the devil. Safe to say that father of the year, Din Djarin, would not approve.
Fortunately for Olivia, the Titans (led by Donna Troy, Starfire, and Batgirl) take her to Themyscira to hide from the devil and train her in self-defense. Not a bad option to have a Warrior Princess, a product of Batman and Donna freakin’ Troy as teachers.
Meanwhile, back in Hell, Nightwing, Beast Boy, Cyborg and Raven search for Olivia’s contract with the devil. Fortunately, it is pretty easy to find, as the devil keeps his contracts at the top of Nero’s tower, which sticks out like a sore thumb.
Because this is Hell, everything must be at its absolute worst, including the contract database. Cyborg must endure the worst of computer desktops—full of malware, unwanted pop-ups, and useless background programs.
Eventually, the gang finds the contract, and it is revealed that Olivia’s mother is Jezebel Jet, a former fling of Batman’s who is now without a head. Better yet, after reading the contract, Dick believes he may have found a loophole in the document and the group travels to the Blüdhaven Town Hall to sort it out.
A deal with the devil? Say it ain’t so!
As the Titans rummage through Neron’s terribly guarded contracts, Neron himself meets with one of his pawns—the Grinning Man; a villain in the early issues of this arc who attempts to kidnap Olivia. Nero pays a trip to see how much information he gave up to them. Of course, the Grinning Man gave it all up due to Donna’s Lasso of Truth. So, Neron has a plan to turn the tides in his favor.
As Olivia trains with Donna Troy on Themyscira, they are greeted by the star of the Amazons—Wonder Woman. Or, so we thought. Alas, it is actually the Grinning Man, using his shape-shifting powers to escape his prison and trick the Titans, which catches them off guard and allows him to recapture Olivia.
Back at the Blüdhaven Town Hall, Nightwing is finalizing his case when suddenly Neron appears. Dick proclaims that because Olivia is a minor, all her legal guardians must sign the contract in order for it to come to fruition. Alas, Blockbuster is the only legal guardian alive, as her mother Jezebel is dead without a head.
Nightwing finds his loophole by proclaiming she has another legal guardian—himself. Dick reveals that he has official paperwork from social services of a temporary foster form, making him her legal guardian for the time being. While this may seem a bit silly, it does help Dick that his sister is mayor of Blüdhaven.
In a last ditch attempt to woo, Neron tries to sweet talk Nightwing into what he would secretly want, power—actual power. The final page reveals that the devil incarnate has given Nightwing a taste of Kryptonian-level power, aptly dubbed—Superwing.
Is Nightwing #103 worth picking up?
Tom Taylor’s run of Nightwing has been going on for well over 20 issues and there hasn’t been one that I have not enjoyed. Some issues may be better than others, but overall each one is either fun, comical, light-hearted, touching, or all the above. Nightwing #103 falls under the fun and funny column with its quick humor and wacky hijinks.
On paper, the Titans are on a heist in Hell to retrieve an actual contract with the devil. It’s silly because comics are silly. The humor Tom Taylor writes in this issue lands, especially with Cyborg complaining about the actual hellish PCs that serve as Hell’s database.
This issue sees Travis Moore as the lead artist. Sometimes it is obvious when the usual artist, Bruno Redondo, isn’t able to do the issue, but this is not the case here. Travis steps up and fills in the shoes very well, keeping the overall vibe and aesthetic the same so it isn’t jarring to the eye of the monthly, or collected, reader. Everything is drawn crisply.
Special shout to letterer Wes Abbot in this issue for a giant “TOOM” when (not) Wonder Woman absolutely yeets Olivia with a full-fledged super kick towards the end of the story. It shouldn’t be as funny as it is.
Overall, Nightwing #103 serves as a fun continuation of this Titans story arc. It further teases the style of May’s new ongoing Titans run from Tom Taylor and Nicola Scott. If anything, this issue just sells me more on a book I’ve already pre-ordered three copies of in two months’ time.
Writer: Tom Taylor
Artist: Travis Moore
Colors: Adriano Lucas
Letterer: Wes Abbott
Cover: Bruno Redondo
Writer: C.S. Pacat
Penciller: Eduardo Pansica
Inker: Júlio Ferreira
Colors: Adriano Lucas
Letterer: Wes Abbott
'Nightwing #103' Review'Nightwing #103' Review