Nightwing #111 Review

Nightwing #111 Review – Heartless Takes His Talents To Gotham City

Tom Taylor recently announced that his current Nightwing run is coming to an end. All signs point to Nightwing having his big clash with Heartless to wrap up Taylor and Bruno Redondo’s run. But before we get to that point Taylor still has time to set up his finale. Heartless hasn’t had much of a presence since Nightwing defeated Blockbuster once and for all. It’s time for Heartless to get rebuilt. Let’s find out if that happens starting with Nightwing #111.


Writer: Tom Taylor and Michael W. Conrad

Artist: Sami Basri and Francesco Francavilla

Inker: Vicente Cifuentes

Colorist: Adriano Lucas

Letterer: Wes Abbott


“WHAT’S WRONG WITH NIGHTWING?! Something’s very wrong with Nightwing and it’s starting to catch up to him. Can the world’s greatest detective help him figure out what’s going on before it’s too late? Plus: The Plague has left 14th Century Europe in chaos, as a young man known only as the Son of Gray hunts the man who killed his father. A story of revenge, told in two parts.” – DC Comics


Tom Taylor and Sami Basri waste no time bringing back Heartless to prominence. Without even physically appearing the threat of Heartless permeates throughout Nightwing #111. Building up Heartless in this way was very much needed for both the character and story Taylor started at the beginning of his Nightwing run.

During Taylor’s run, Dick Grayson has done to transform Bludhaven into a place people want to live in. Not only that, it has become the home of the premiere superhero team in the Titans. With all these factors it is a natural progression that villains would look to move their operations out of Bludhaven. Heartless shifting his focus to Gotham City was a natural move, especially with how Heartless was born Shelton Lyle, whose family was part of Gotham City’s elite.

Making his presence known in Gotham City works on multiple levels. Heartless not only got Nightwing’s attention but also Batman’s. The way he went about it does hint that Heartless didn’t completely move his operations to Gotham City. The small touch of Heartless not saying anything to his latest victim indicates this.

Adding in that it appears Heartless is working with Gotham City’s elite adds to his plot. It appears that Heartless is working with the disenfranchised families of those with the money. This helps get Nightwing, Batman, and Oracle’s attention away from Bludhaven. In the process, Taylor and Basri build Heartless back up to a bogeyman-like figure along with these mafia boss aspects.

Nightwing #111 Interior
Nightwing helps a kid who lost his father to Heartless in Nightwing #111. Credit: DC Comics

The development of Nightwing being unable to leap is a surprising one. Dick Grayson is an acrobat to his core. Having that ability mysteriously taken from him is a big blow. The question is how this happened.

We saw Nightwing during his pirate adventure with Bea and in Titans: Beast World operating normally. What could come back into play is the video that Nightwing found was left for him. Heartless and Tony Zucco could have tampered with the video to weaken Nightwing. That is only a theory but this is likely to be a major sub-plot moving forward.

While Nightwing deals with this it was good to see Batman not look down on his protégé. Even as they aren’t on the best terms right now at the end of the day Bruce Wayne and Dick Grayson do have a father-son dynamic. It does show that Bruce hasn’t completely done away with his growth of character and that he knows how not suddenly make Dick take a break, something he would’ve done just a few years ago. This added to how Batman has a lot of trust in Nightwing to not let this hinder his work.

This led to the best moment of Nightwing #111. Nightwing did a fantastic job showing great care for the kid who saw his father killed in front of him by Heartless. This is a traumatic moment that will stick with the kid forever. Nightwing took his experience to speak with the kid as equals. Batman even understanding his role in letting Nightwing talk to the kid was a nice moment for him as well.

“The Son of Gray” backup story by Michael Conrad and Francesco Francavilla is a solid one. Taken as an Elseworld story this has a lot of potential as it progresses. Which is what hopefully this story is. Tying into the main DC Universe would be a mistake. Let the period-piece nature of “The Son of Gray” take precedence. If not, the story could devolve into a boring Joker story, as we are seeing over in Batman this month.


Tom Taylor and Sami Basri do an excellent job bringing the focus back on Heartless with Nightwing #111. The surprise development with Nightwing and the dynamic with Batman make this another standout issue in this run.

Story Rating: 9 Night Girls out of 10

Art Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10

Overall Rating: 8.5 Night Girls out of 10