With Nightwing taking a bigger role in the DCU for the Dawn Of DC his series has been focusing on building up the newly elevated Titans before their debut. Along with this Tom Taylor is wrapping up one of the lingering sub-plots involving Blockbuster selling his daughter’s, Olivia Desmond, soul to Neron. With Nightwing appearing to have found a loophole in Neron’s deal with Blockbuster the devilish villain has thrown one final hail mary in hopes the Titans will allow him to take Olivia to hell. Find out how things go with our review of Nightwing #104.
Writer: Tom Taylor (Rise Of The Underworld); C.S. Pacat (Night At The Circus)
Artist: Travis Moore (Rise Of The Underworld); Daniel Hor (Night At The Circus)
Inker: Jonas Trindade (Night At The Circus)
Colorist: Adriano Lucas
Letterer: Wes Abbott
Utilizing the powers Neron gave him for two hours Nightwing as Superwing to help Batgirl (Barbara Gordon) and the Titans defeat Grinning Man, Doctor Polaris, and Gorilla Grodd. Superwing then teams up with Flash (Wally West) to fix a dam from flooding villages in Thailand.
Afterwards, Superwing meets Superman to talk as equals about what it means to be a leader.
Superwing then uses his remaining time to help out the Titans fight a horde of demons Neron sent to Themyscira.
When time runs out Neron approaches Nightwing about his offer for power Nightwing turns it down. Nightwing then uses the residual magic power Nite-Mite left in his escrima sticks to defeat Neron.
Later, Donna Troy tells Olivia, who is taking on the name Nightbuster as her superhero name, that the Amazons will train her.
An hour later, in Hell, Raven kills Neron and then hands over the leadership of the Underworld to Blaze. Blaze comments that he senses something is missing within Raven. End of issue.
With Nightwing’s elevated status in the Dawn Of DC the “Rise Of The Underworld” did its job to get over this fact. Especially considering that the Titans needed to have their credibility as a premiere superhero team Tom Taylor and Travis Moore accomplished that with the way the story involving Neron was concluded in Nightwing #104.
At its core “Rise Of The Underworld” is a Nightwing story. Taylor and Moore used this story that helped with building the foundation for the new Titans’ direction to emphasize how Nightwing is going to be tested more than ever as one of the leaders of the superheroes in the DC Universe. Each choice he makes won’t be a simple one. As Superman mentions, not every decision will be something that will get unanimous support or work for everyone. Ultimately Nightwing needs to be okay with that.
The power that Neron gave Nightwing to transform him into Superwing was a temptation that worked in this direction. Nightwing was given the opportunity to become a Superman-esque figure in power. Going around saving the day as if he was Superman with how he helped the Titans and Flash deal with two different events going on in the world was what Neron wanted Nightwing to experience.
Neron was so full of himself as a villain that he thought based on all his other deals the two-hour time limit was more than enough for Nightwing to give in to the temptation. What Neron didn’t account for is that Nightwing knows he doesn’t need to be Superman or Batman to save the day. That mistake was ultimately Neron’s downfall, and working in the Nite-Mite magic was a nice call back to how this entire Olivia Desmond story started.
Resolving things with Olivia being adopted by the Amazons gave an ending to this story. Taylor gave us plenty of examples in previous issues that Olivia Desmond couldn’t return to her normal kid life. Now getting the opportunity to train with the Amazons to become the superhero Nightbuster in the future is a good, hopeful ending to this chapter in Olivia’s story. And there is room open for Olivia to possibly appear in the future, possibly in comics that take place in a future DCU like the upcoming Trinity story in Wonder Woman.
Taylor made one continuity mistake by having Donna say Hippolyta was the Queen of the Amazons when Nubia has that spot. It’s something that the editor should’ve caught as the Wonder Woman franchise has been doing a lot of work to put over Nubia as the Queen of the Amazons.
The main story ending with Raven taking out Neron alone was a surprising one. Up to this point, there was no hint that there was something off with Raven. Now we see that she may be putting up a front with her Titans teammates. What exactly is missing from Raven as she is willing to take extreme measures such as killing Neron makes her arc in Titans one to watch.
Similar to the main story, the Dick Grayson and Jon Kent team-up story by C.S. Pacat and Daniel Hor was given a satisfying conclusion. The story accomplished the goal of showing Jon Kent actively seeking out others to help train him to become the superhero his father believes him to be. Being able to have this experience of resolving things by using other things than just his powers will make Jon a more well-rounded Superman. Nightwing also made sure that he was helping Jon out throughout this while giving his protégé this experience.
Nightwing #104 works to highlight Dick Grayson’s new elevated status in Dawn Of DC while wrapping up the remaining aspect of the Blockbuster story with Olivia Desmond’s arc. In the process we get the foundation of the Titans set, with one central character arc established, to get fans further invested in the future of the team. Now it’s time to see what Nightwing’s solo adventures will be like in the Dawn Of DC.
Story Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10
Art Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 7.5 Night Girls out of 10