*This review contains spoilers for Nightwing #100*
A celebratory epic to Dick Grayson’s past, present, and future- Nightwing #100 is nearly everything I’d hope for in a landmark issue. Though it is not Nightwing’s 100th overall issue (rather the century point since the 2016 DC Rebirth), Tom Taylor puts together a story that serves as a beautiful ode to Nightwing’s journey and growth.
Grayson’s big leap
Taylor and Bruno Redondo start us off with a tease of what is to come: Nightwing and Batman discuss what seems to be “a big ask.” We quickly flash back to a few weeks prior, where the overarching villain, Heartless, is attacking a private Blüdhaven prison. He causes a breakout, gives the prisoners masks and guns, and instructs them to simply wreak havoc on the city.
Dick Grayson then leaps into action with a beautiful five-page spread. On each page, Nightwing dawns one of his iconic suits in its unique art style. What makes Dick Grayson one of my favorite heroes isn’t just his look and color scheme- it’s the way he handles situations. Grayson sees the best in everyone, even these loose prisoners on the city streets. Dick knows that most were in prison for the wrong reasons. Some simply couldn’t post bail after a minor offense or are never given a trial. Nightwing is able to get to the heart of a few of them, and turn the tides in the street fight.
Taylor’s run has also amplified and embraced Dick’s past. He isn’t just a solo hero, he is the leader of the Titans. His friends will, and do, come to his aid. With the help of the Titans, Nightwing is able to clear the streets before facing an old nemesis: KGBeast.
Settling the ghosts of Nightwing’s past
Anatoli Knyazev is the man who put the bullet through Dick Grayson’s head. The guy who, infamously, gave us Ric Grayson. Due to memory loss from the wound, Ric Grayson was simply a bar hopping taxi driver. For many Nightwing fans, this is looked upon as an- unliked era, to say the least.
After a skirmish against KGBeast, both sides’ backup arrive to end the dispute. When the dust settles, it’s revealed that Heartless has once again escaped. Then the big guns arrive in the form of Superman and Wonder Woman.
That is “a big ask”
Superman and Wonder Woman proceed to meet Nightwing at the scene. While there isn’t much physical work for them to do, they have a question to ask of Grayson. Nightwing is then taken to the Hall of Justice, which is still in shambles after the events of Dark Crisis.
Thanks to the universe-saving role Nightwing served in Dark Crisis, Superman creates the symbolic Nightwing imagery on the lone remaining chair in the rubble. To clarify, they aren’t there to ask Dick to join the Justice League – they’re asking him to lead it.
We then go back to present day, where Bruce and Dick are standing over Alfred’s grave. The two share a beautiful moment of love and respect for each other. Bruce gives his approval and assurance, offering up assistance if Dick needs anything at all. In a climactic panel, we finally see Dick give Bruce a hug and utter the long awaited words, “I love you, dad.”
In the final few pages, we flash forward again. Dick reveals to Babs that he is going to buy the private prison and reveals at a press conference that the prison will be reformed to a new Titans Tower. Now, the first thing people will see when they enter Blüdhaven isn’t oppression – it’s hope.
Nightwing: Best on the shelf
It has been no secret that Nightwing is my favorite superhero comic on the shelf. There is action mixed with real emotion in every issue. Taylor’s run has given Dick Grayson a leap forward by expanding upon the character, not regressing it. The only critique I have of this issue is that a forced prison break by Heartless seems a bit out of character as the motive was, simply, to cause chaos in Blüdhaven.
The art from Redondo is incredible as always. It must be added, with it being a special issue, we also see wonderful work from Scott McDaniel, Rick Leonardi, Eddy Barrows, Javier Hernandez and Mikel Janín sprinkled throughout.
If you haven’t been reading this run, you are missing out. Nightwing #100 is a must grab.