As Fear State has engulfed Gotham City in complete chaos the entire Batman Family are being drawn back to defend their home. That includes Nightwing. Which could create some even more conflict with Dick Grayson recently announcing his plans to use the fortune Alfred Pennyworth left him to make Bludhaven a better place to live for all. But with his hometown in trouble Dick Grayson will be rushing back to Gotham City to help the Batman Family in defeating the Magistrate, Scarecrow, and other threats to the city. Can Nightwing make a difference in Fear State? Let’s find out with Nightwing #84.
Writer: Tom Taylor
Artist: Robbi Rodriguez
Colorist: Adriano Lucas
Story Rating: 9 Night Girls out of 10
Art Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10
Synopsis: Nightwing ends his night patrolling with some pizza and reflecting on his responsibilities to protect Bludhaven. As he heads home Nightwing suddenly gets a broken signal from Oracle.
Back home Nightwing is able to decrypt the audio to discover a message from Oracle to meet up at Park Row in Gotham City and not to make further contact as their communications are potentially compromised.
Hearing this Nightwing asks his dog Haley if she is up for a sleepover.
Later, Dick Grayson drops off Haley at Bridget Clancy’s place. Clancy’s kids immediately take Haley and shut the door on Dick.
While hesitant to leave Bludhaven after his recent announcement while changing into his Nightwing gear. Dick decides to still drive to Gotham City and immediately spots the Magistrate’s Skybase-01 hovering over the city.
Driving through the city Nightwing sees the Magistrate arresting people breaking Gotham City’s currently imposed curfew.
Nightwing makes it to Park Row and waits for Oracle and the others. Lights suddenly shine on him and he realizes he has fallen for one of the Magistrate’s traps.
Dozens of Peacekeepers quickly surround Nightwing and start firing at him. Nightwing is able to take out several Peacekeepers but is quickly cornered.
Right as the Peacekeepers are about to fire kill shots at Nightwing, Batman appears and takes out one of the Peacekeepers. Batman and Nightwing immediately get back into Dynamic Duo mode to work together to take out all of the Peacekeepers in the area.
As more Peacekeepers and Magistrate drones begin to show up Batman and Nightwing duck into an apartment building nearby for some cover. They decide being on the streets of Gotham City is not safe so they head underground.
Underground, Batman tells Nightwing to go back to Bludhaven and continue to do an effective job protecting his city. Nightwing reminds Batman that Gotham City is his home as well and he can multitask.
Batman then says he has to go back out to track down Scarecrow before things get worse. Nightwing asks where Batman needs him to be. Batman tells Nightwing about someone using Oracle’s network to spread lies and fear throughout Gotham City so he should head to Barbara Gordon’s Clocktower to help stop this threat.
Before they split off Nightwing thanks Batman for helping him out against the Peacekeepers. Batman says while he knew Nightwing could take care of himself he wasn’t going to sit back to let his son die in the alley his parents were killed.
Later, Nightwing makes it to the Clock Tower where he informs Barbara about what just happened. Hearing this Barbara says she is done sitting around after running into a dead end with this Anti-Oracle case. Nightwing thinks they should use old forms of communication. Barbara says that is not enough and she will be going out on the field to help Nightwing and their family stop whoever is using her system from hurting everyone.
Barbara quickly changes into her new Batgirl costume and tells Nightiwng “This is my fight.” End of issue.
The Good: With Fear State taking over everything involving the Batman Family Tom Taylor makes Nightwing #84 tie-in to that event work as best as possible. There is a self-awareness in this issue about the big announcement Dick Grayson made and now having to leave Bludhaven to help out in Gotham City that enhanced the entire reading experience. It firmly positioned this series as important to the Fear State event while still making sure the greater overarching story Taylor is developing for Nightwing is still be addressed.
That tone was quickly set by the opening of Nightwing #84. We see how Dick Grayson as Nightwing is prepared for what he has to do next in order to ensure he does all he can to protect and make Bludhaven a better place to live for all. There is a sense of hope with the current mindset Dick has with how he is going about his plans for the city. Further drawing on previous continuity by bringing Bridget Clancy back into the fold was a nice touch to show how Dick has many connections to the people of Bludhaven.
Which made the fact that he was called back to Gotham City due to Fear State even more impactful. Taylor is able to emphasize how both Bludhaven and Gotham City are both Dick Grayson’s home. Even when he is away from one of these cities, he is never too far away to stay out of helping out when either one is in need. Seeing how Gotham City has become a police state under the Magistrate’s rule already further emphasized how much Nightwing and the Batman Family are needed right now.
Nightwing being led into a trap by the Anti-Oracle quickly established how big of a trouble the entire Batman Family are in. Nightwing being cornered by the Magistrate’s Peacekeeper was just one example of the power the Anti-Oracle has. The Anti-Oracle having access to Barbara Gordon’s entire network can create many dangerous scenarios for everyone during and after Fear State if this threat isn’t stopped.
While it was a dangerous situation he found himself in Nightwing this helped to propel the fact that the Batman Family will be tackling the events of Fear State as a unit. Taylor showed us this with how quickly Batman came to help Nightwing out and they both got into Dynamic Duo mode without missing a beat. Seeing Batman and Nightwing working as a cohesive team was a great reminder of how they still have a strong bond that does not need words. They both get right into what makes the other better and time away from each other has not impacted their Dynamic Duo teamwork whatsoever.
This all led to one of the most memorable scenes of the year with Bruce Wayne telling Dick that he wasn’t going to even give the Magistrate a chance to kill his son in the same place his parents were killed. That was such an unexpected but perfect moment that came across as a natural thing for Bruce to say. Taylor timed it all well with Bruce admitting that he knew Dick could handle the Peacekeeper army alone but wanted to help anyways. This made the moment even better as you are reminded how at the end of the day Bruce and Dick do have a strong father-son dynamic.
Going from there to Nightwing meeting up with Barbara in the Clock Tower kept the moment going forward. Taylor did a good job making this attack from Anti-Oracle against Nightwing as the final straw for Barbara. She was already running into dead ends and now seeing how the Anti-Oracle almost killed Nightwing made her realize it was time to do more than just be the person in the chair for the Batman Family. Taking the risk of returning to being Batgirl again all worked to put over how big of an event Fear State is as every member of the Batman Family is needed to be on the field. It also put over the threat of Barbara’s Oracle network being severely compromised as something that is on the same level as the threat of Scarecrow and the Magistrate.
Robbi Rodriguez artwork was solid throughout. His art showing how effortlessly Batman and Nightwing get into working as the Dynamic Duo was showcased well. The action was all smooth to keep the Peacekeepers looking strong as it was really through the Dynamic Duo teamwork that they were defeated. Rodriguez also did a good job at bringing to life Barbara’s new Batgirl costume that merges different elements of her last few costumes.
The Bad: Nothing.
Overall: Nightwing #84 quickly establish how important this series will be to the Fear State event while still keeping in mind Dick Grayson’s current vision for Bludhaven. The scenes with Batman and Nightwing will be what this issue will be remembered for as we get one of the best moments of the year through their interaction. This is definitely a must have for Nightwing fans and those reading the Fear State event.
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