Nightwing #103 Review

Nightwing #103 Review – “Rise Of The Underworld”

Nightwing and the Titans’ first mission after reforming is taking them to the last place they expected: Hell. That’s right the Titans are going on a Hell Heist in order to save Olivia Desmond, the daughter of Blockbuster, from the deal her father made with Neron for power. This isn’t what you normally expect from a Nightwing comic but for a first adventure as a team, this has a lot of potential for the Titans to reestablish themselves. Let’s find out how things go with Nightwing #103.


Writer: Tom Taylor (Rise Of The Underworld); C.S. Pacat (Night At The Circus)

Artist: Travis Moore and Vasco Georgiev (Rise Of The Underworld); Eduardo Pansica (Night At The Circus)

Inker: Julio Ferreira (Night At The Circus)

Colorist: Adriano Lucas

Letterer: Wes Abbott


While Batgirl (Barbara Gordon), Donna Troy, and Starfire take Olivia Desmond to Themyscira for safety and training Raven leads Raven, Cyborg, and Beast Boy on the Hell Heist. With some help from Blaze, the Titans find where Neron is holding the soul contracts.

Cyborg is able to hack into Neron’s system and the Titans find the contract Blockbuster made for Olivia’s soul. In the process, Nightwing discovers Olivia’s mother is Jezebel Jet (former ex-girlfriend of Bruce Wayne during Batman RIP who was eventually killed by Talia Al Ghul). This gives Nightwing an idea and the team heads back to Bludhaven to meet his sister (Melinda Grayson-Lin).

Meanwhile, Neron recruits the Grinning Man, Doctor Polaris, and Gorilla Grodd to pay off their debts by going after Olivia on Themyscira.

Nightwing Discovery About Jezebel Jet
Artwork by Travis Moore in Nightwing #103. Credit: DC Comics

When the rest of the team hears this Nightwing has Raven, Cyborg, and Beast Boy to back up Batgirl, Donna Troy, and Starfire.

Neron then appears and Nightwing immediately reveals he has made himself Olivia’s legal guardian, which voids Neron’s deal with Blockbuster. Seeing this Neron offers Nightwing a deal to give him all the powers of a Kryptonian and even gives him a taste of all that power. End of issue.


Comic books are just another form of a giant toy box. Especially when we are talking about Marvel and DC Comics there are so many toys to play with in different ways that use prior characters and universe history. And that is what Nightwing #103 comes across as in both the main and backup stories.

We see that in the opening of Nightwing #103 where when the demons in Hell see that Neron’s influence has possibly been weakened they aren’t afraid to pounce. And we see that in the form of the rarely-seen Blaze stepping up to challenge Neron for his throne. In doing so Tom Taylor shows how you can utilize random elements in the DC Universe to keep the story moving. Because as random as Blaze’s appearance at the beginning was it proved vital as we see Neron’s embarrassing come back into play later on in Nightwing #103.

This goes to show how Taylor did want to make sure that the whole Hell Heist aspect of the story did not drag. There was a clear mission in mind for the Titans and there was no time to waste. We see that with how Raven uses her magic to make sure Nightwing, Cyborg, and Beast Boy don’t deviate because of their hero senses being impacted by the effects of Hell. Then when you add in Blaze helping the Titans find Neron’s hall of soul contracts the story just flowed well in a logical, well-paced manner.

In doing so Taylor was able to drop a bombshell that long-time Batman fans will certainly have their eyebrows raised. And that is the discovery by the Titans that Olivia Desmond’s mother is nonother than Bruce Wayne’s ex-girlfriend Jezebel Jet. If given a hundred guesses Jezebel Jet’s name would’ve never been one to come to mind as someone Blockbuster had a daughter with. Taylor is smart about this reveal as he doesn’t hang on it for too long. Just enough for Nightwing to let Cyborg and Beast Boy know about the significance of Jezebel Jet but not lose track of the overall mission at hand.

It all worked into how Neron himself was also not looking to take the long road in claiming Olivia Desmond’s soul. Neron was clearly done with his authority challenged. Recruiting Doctor Polaris and Gorilla Grodd to attack the Titans and capture Olivia showed this. He is playing all his devil cards no matter who he has to bring to pay off their debts to him.

This leads to what is likely the biggest sign of Neron’s own hubris with his offer to Nightwing. Neron is all about power and thinks everyone is like him. This leads him to not only make the offer of Superman-like power to Nightwing but give him a taste of it. It shows how Neron does believe his own hype that he doesn’t get that not everyone is like Blockbuster and Grinning Man.

Taylor also shows how this will not work in Neron’s favor as throughout this story Nightwing has done everything he can to save Olivia. We even see that in this issue as Nightwing is quick to figure out a way to get Olivia out of the contract Blockbuster made by making himself Olivia’s legal guardian. An offer of power clearly won’t sway him to do what Neron wants.

Batgirl, Donna Troy, and Starfire Train Olivia Desmond
Artwork by Vasco Georgiev in Nightwing #103. Credit: DC Comics

While not as much time is spent on it, the quick scenes of Donna Troy, Starfire, and Batgirl bringing Olivia to Themyscira and offering to train her were great. This shows that the three heroes understood that Olivia wouldn’t just want to be sheltered from place to place. They again prove themselves to be positive role models as they offer to train her so Olivia can defend herself. This makes you care even more for the Titans to ultimately defeat Neron and save Olivia.

Travis Moore and Vasco Georgiev worked together well for the main story in Nightwing #103. Having them each assigned to specific scenes rather than splitting up the art duties in half was a great call. This allowed Moore and Georgiev to better adapt their respective art style to match each other as best as possible to keep the flow of the story moving forward. Also, credit to Adriano Lucas for the coloring as the bright colors helped keep the consistency of the artwork going.

As for the backup story in Nightwing #103, C.S. Pacat and Eduardo Pansica once again make the most of the time they are given for the Nightwing and Superman team-up story they are telling. As we’ve seen before Dick Grayson is using a “show rather than tell” method of teaching with Jon Kent. He knows from his training that gaining experience even if it’s just watching is valuable. Especially for Jon as he is normally involved in big fights thinking out a problem as a detective is new to him. Applying his powers to solve things from a different angle that is simply not just being a tank is significant growth for Jon Kent.

The mystery has also given Dick Grayson and Jon Kent more of a chance to connect with one another. How Pascat uses the young kid responsible for the accident to relate to both Dick and Jon was well done. It gave an opportunity to show how well both characters work together not just as mentor and protégé but also as friends. It’s this type of development that makes you want to see Nightwing and Jon’s Superman work together more in the future, possibly in the Titans.


Having fun in the superhero toy box world is something the creative teams for both stories in Nightwing #103 clearly have. The Hell Heist story the Titans are involved in moves at a great pace that keeps you invested in every part of the story. Meanwhile, the backup story provides more great developments in how Nightwing and Jon Kent’s Superman work in their mentor-protégé relationship. Overall, just a well-done superhero comic book.

Story Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10

Art Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10

Overall Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10