Nightwing and his amazing friends have taken the fight to Blockbuster, the big bad who has been making Dick Grayson’s life hellish in Bludhaven. That plan has required every super-friend to take care of things elsewhere as Nightwing fights Blockbuster in a burning library. Can he take on the super big and super strong villain?
Nightwing #96 is a good example of a strong message that determination and willpower can amp up fight scenes. The issue opens with Batgirl trying to check in with Nightwing, but he’s not getting the message and instead is focused on punching Blockbuster as best he can. This series has been partially about Batgirl and Nightwing’s relationship and love for each other, which is well telegraphed here. She worries about him, and he worries about her, and we see he’s trying to top Blockbuster once and for all so nobody can get hurt.
But sometimes Nightwing needs to realize others can help themselves. The people in the local community rise up, for instance, and in a key scene with Batgirl, Nightwing learns he needs to let himself be happy. Tom Taylor writes some solid dialogue in this issue, especially in this scene. Fans reading in between the lines may even suspect a marriage proposal might be in the cards sometime soon.
There’s undoubtedly some joy to be found in seeing Nightwing kick Blockbuster’s ass, though! Bruno Redondo has a great twelve-panel double-page layout featuring Nightwing’s quickness and agility as he beats on Blockbuster. It’s reminiscent of Spider-Man fighting Juggernaut as Nightwing is too fast for the enormous Blockbuster. It’s not an easy fight for Nightwing, who takes his fair share of punches. It’s all capped off with a well-placed “THD” sound effect that sends Blockbuster flying.
It’s also nice to see Taylor has a few of Nightwing’s friends use their brains to defeat Blockbuster’s supervillain henchmen. There’s plenty of brawn thrown around, but brains are well used here, too. This leads to a somewhat effective way to end Blockbuster’s reign once and for all.
Colors by Adriana Lucas add texture and form to the flames surrounding Blockbuster and Nightwing. The interior of the space they’re fighting in is undefined for much of the battle, so it’s key to add some space behind them. There’s a good use of a warm glow on their faces, enhancing the heat of the moment.
The only downside to this issue might be the final few pages which are equal parts weird and out of left field. It involves Heartless — a character we’ve gotten only snippets of — and feels a bit forced. The character has appeared before, but his placement as the new top villain in Bludhaven rests on a rather convenient altercation between the two. Add in the fact that his heart-swapping powers are still somewhat undefined, and it’s a weird way to end the issue.
Nightwing #96 caps off the Blockbuster battle with great fight sequences and plenty of clever tactical moves by Nightwing’s friends and the locals of Bludhaven. The character has reigned for some time, and it’s nice to see him lose so spectacularly.
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