“Continuity” can be a polarizing word in comics. In the last issue of Nightwing, Tom Taylor and company made a significant change that seemed very well received by fans and critics. With that change, we learned that the new character and mayor of Bludhaven, Melinda Zucco, is Dick Grayson’s half-sister. This revelation left me wondering about the nature of John Grayson — did he cheat on Mary? Why wasn’t he there for Melinda? How did Melinda wind up as a Zucco? Luckily for us, this issue has answers, so get ready for some SPOILERS!
One of the highlights of the issue for me was how good the Grayson family is. We’ve known Dick to be a hero and a major staple in the hero community, and Tom Taylor uses that point perfectly when it comes to the “Big Bird Extraction.” Those moments of humor and family are working perfectly, allowing guest stars to pop in. As I mentioned earlier with the questions about John Grayson, it was like Tom was reading my mind. The creative team behind this decision probably wanted to make sure and find a way to have this new reveal without causing drama to the Grayson family.
The best part is the reveal works wonderfully in keeping John Grayson’s name clean while adding more dirt to Tony Zucco’s past. The use of human trafficking and how this intersects with circus life was a great way to tie in social issues with the history of the characters in this book. It adds a beautiful narrative to address how Melinda’s mom met John, was a part of his life, and paints Zucco as even more vile. I thought it was a nice touch with how Melinda’s mom explained this to Dick and pointed out how heroic his parents were.
Looking at the art for this issue, Rick Leonardi and Neil Edwards join up on the illustrations with Bruno Redondo, which also brought in Andy Lanning and Scott Hanna on inks. These artists created two groups and were different enough to show us a flashback, but not too far apart to detract from the overall story. I think it is a perfect mix and kept the vibe of the series, and Adriano Lucas’s colors were the big player on that happening. Adriano’s art feels like it is just before sunset, dark enough to justify the heroes coming out and light enough to distinguish it from the other bat-books.
All in all, this creative team took delicate care to add to Dick Grayson’s history without destroying his father’s image. When you can add to continuity, that is always a win in my book. I was worried about the addition of a sibling, as that can be a severe change. I thought about “inserted siblings” like Malcolm Thawne, Teresa Parker, and Mike Murdock, yet it shows that the creative team wanted to handle this and make it worthwhile. It was a very emotional issue that jumped into nostalgia while changing it and hitting those heartstrings just right.
Nightwing #82 showcases the love that people have for the Graysons, but we are not out of disaster just yet — someone evil is coming to visit for that great cliffhanger of a page. A delicate matter perfectly handled by this creative team; get ready for another sell-out!
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