In the last issue of Nightwing, we met Heartless and got to experience firsthand how he lives up to his name as he took the life of a man who Dick Grayson just helped by renting him and his son a room. This act of kindness repays Dick by making him the top suspect for murder as the police seek him out. It looks like they followed the money, as that is part of Tom Taylor’s opening drama for this issue, which even reminded me of Law and Order. How does Dick get out of this situation so he can do his job as Nightwing?
The interrogation is where the real fun begins, and Taylor gets to flex his skills with dialogue. I enjoyed that the officers referenced Dick’s time on the force and even questioned him about leaving the job, to which Dick mentions all the criminals out there. Bruno Redondo has some fun in these panels, giving you moments with Haley, and Adriano Lucas’ colors enhance the art. When the officers break the news of the murder to Dick, the shadowing is just perfect for making a mask on his face, which is a panel from page two showcases the art and color combo. It reminds me of the moments with Peter Parker and his Spider-Sense.
The best part of this interrogation is that Dick has to call Barbara Gordon back to help clear his name, as she is his alibi. A great moment by Taylor is when he has Barbara come back to Dick’s apartment for the interrogation. Barbara takes command here! She reminds the officers they have no direct evidence, offers technological proof of her and Dick’s locations, and touts a law degree, which then triggers Dick’s memory that he has one too for an excellent comedy beat. Moments when the characters can throw just as mighty of a punch, by way of words, is precisely why this book has sold out the last two issues by this new creative team.
Now that Dick and Babs are aware of the gruesome troubles in the city and a missing minor, it is time for them to get to work as the officers leave. Redondo does a great job here with a two-page spread that takes the reader across Dick’s apartment, and it is a fun zig-zag across rooms, presented as panels. The art treats your eyes here as you watch for these fun moments with Haley — for a laugh, you should check out Dick and Babs’ coffee mugs.
We get more of the Bat-family in this issue with a guest appearance by Tim Drake, aka Robin. I loved seeing what Dick and Tim used to have in the ’90s — it was so enjoyable to see that their relationship is just as fresh and doesn’t miss a beat. With Tim’s involvement, we get some undercover work, which leads to a Dynamic Duo fight scene as the two have to take on some hired muscle. These two are also shaking down the homeless kids of Bludhaven for protection money. Redondo comes up with some fantastic poses and even more creative enhancements for Nightwing’s escrima sticks.
Just as Nightwing, Robin, and Oracle work perfectly as a team, likewise Tom Taylor, Bruno Redondo, and Adriano Lucas do the same as a creative team. Some readers might feel that this is a lighter issue as the primary fight is against some goons with more talking than swinging, but I think this is where the creative team wins with character interaction. Taylor and Redondo have shown us in the Injustice tie-in comic that the dialogue issues have just as much impact on the overall story as a fight scene can. They have earned my trust that this will continue into a major showdown with Heartless, as the last page reveals.
It doesn’t take a crisis or event to sell out comics when you see a perfect mix of dynamics and soap-opera hitting on all cylinders by this team. The “will they or won’t they” of Babs and Dick is a perfect mix when the two interact with people, and the mystery of Heartless is spot on for entertaining comics as it creates suspense. Put all that to Redondo’s art and Lucas’ colors, and you can understand why the city of Bludhaven shines with life even, if it’s questionable.
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