Tom Taylor, Bruno Redondo, and Geraldo Borges continue to inch closer to the massive 100th issue of Nightwing. Only a day after some new covers for January’s Nightwing #100 was announced, fans got a chance to read issue 97. In the aftermath of Blockbuster’s defeat (and demise), there are questions raised by characters and fans alike. This issue seems to attempt to answer some of those while raising some too.
The story opens up with the death of Blockbuster being discussed between Nightwing and Melinda. Dick is less than pleased with the lack of justice being utilized. In true Nightwing fashion, justice doesn’t mean “beating” the opponent. It means proper justice needs to be handed out, or else there is a void only to be filled by something unjust. Taylor attempts to bring the readers into a sense of ease with the Battle for Blüdhaven over. However, with Heartless on the loose (where and who is he anyways?), the battle may have just begun. The issue continues to show us the personal affairs of Dick and Barbara. The pair have decided they need a break from crime fighting after being on the go for so long. Some fans may cringe at the idea of superheroes going to the beach when an impending battle is on the ride (see: City of Bane), but maybe this won’t end the same way.
The main plot is about protecting Maroni from those who are less than pleased with him. This leads to Nightwing and Batgirl taking him to a safe house until things quiet down. If people weren’t sure, this issue reaffirms that superheroes do date, and sometimes each other. In the last few pages, Tom Taylor decides to add another plot to the multiple questions and events in the series. It’s one that some will be curious about, and others certainly will have negative opinions. Frankly, it doesn’t make sense with the plot of the story so far, until you remember that a certain fifth-dimension character is being created and introduced in the next issue.
Taylor is known for being fan-service forward and that trend continues in the issue. Some of his writing could be a little easy to follow and predictable. However, it certainly makes his series consistent. It seems like the next few issues until issue 100 will be light filler and hopefully afterward the story picks up the Heartless plot. Overall, the story could leave readers unsatisfied with a little less than desired. Redondo and Borges do the heavy lifting, this time sharing the interiors. It’s also worth noting that Adriano Lucas and Calo Filipe bring a warmth to the pages that help exuberate the pages in alignment with the theme consistent across the series since Taylor started writing Nightwing. Overall, the art complements each other nicely and the interchange of art isn’t stark enough to confuse the reader.
Moreover, Nightwing 97 is a bit of a fast-paced issue that seems to be building up to the 100th issue. Some fans will be pleased with parts of this issue, and a majority won’t love the ending. With that, it’s probably the weakest issue in the run in a while, but it certainly isn’t terrible. Overall, a contrived story is saved by strong art.
Writing review: 2/5
Art review: 4/5
Overall review: 6/10