2021 has been a banner year for the Nightwing as Tom Taylor and Bruno Redondo have made their mark with their run on this series being one of the most consistently well done titles month in, month out. Now Taylor and Redondo prepare to execute their biggest issue to date with Nightwing #87. What makes this issue special is the fact that it will be one continuous spread scene. This is going to be a big storytelling challenge for the team of Taylor and Redondo. Though based on the way they and their editors have been talking about this issue they are extremely confident they can get this ambitious comic book done. Let’s find out if that is the case with Nightwing #87
Writer: Tom Taylor
Artist: Bruno Redondo
Colorist: Adrian Lucas
Story Rating: 10 Night Girls out of 10
Art Rating: 10 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 10 Night Girls out of 10
Synopsis: Barbara Gordon calls Dick Grayson to inform him that there has been $10 million bounty put on his head, not Nightwing. This is proven true as gangs start appearing and opening fire at Dick Grayson in the broad daylight. Dick finds an alley to hide long enough to change into his Nightwing costume.
As Nightwing, he heads to his apartment were there is another gang there waiting to kill Dick Grayson. When Nightwing enters and beats them up a few of the gang members run away and take Haley (aka Bitewing) with them. Nightwing immediately gives chase and contacts Oracle to let her know that Haley has been taken. Oracle tells Nightwing that she will change into Batgirl and meet him where he is chasing the gang who stole Haley.
Nightwing and Batgirl meet up at a warehouse near the pier. They do a tag team high-and-low attack to defeat all the gang members inside the warehouse. They then meet the gang’s boss who is holding a gun at Haley’s head. Nightwing quickly knocks the boss out with one of his escrima sticks. This causes the gang boss to throw Haley out a window.
Nightwing acts fast and jumps out the window. He is able to catch Haley before she hits the ground.
After making sure the cops arrest the gang Nightwing, Batgirl, and Haley all swing away as a happy family. End of issue.
The Good: From Tom Taylor’s writing, Bruno Redondo’s artwork, Adrian Lucas coloring, Wes Abbott’s lettering, Jessica Chen and Jessica Berbey’s editing Nightwing #87 was a complete team effort. There was never a done moment as the storytelling always had to be on point to make the constant spread page never stop. And Nightwing is one of the characters that can make this type of constantly moving story work in comic book form.
One thing I really do appreciate about Nightwing #87 is that Taylor and Redondo could easily coasted on the selling point of this issue being one constant image to tell a fun story. But they were not satisfied with just going that route. Rather, the story in Nightwing #87 was aimed to recenter this series after Dick Grayson had to get involved in Fear State and other things going on in Gotham City. That business in Gotham City took Dick Grayson out of being able to place 100% focus on Bludhaven after his announcement with the Alfred Pennyworth Foundation.
The fact that Dick Grayson was the one that got the $10 million hit placed on his head and not Nightwing was a great way to re-establish this fact. With his announcement of how he was going to use his new fortune to help revitalize Bludhaven through improving the lives of the people of the city you knew the crime bosses, gangs, and corrupted politicians would not be behind this initiative. Adding the fact that gangs came after Dick Grayson in the broad daylight on the streets of Bludhaven shows that this status quo is as much about the man behind the mask as it is about Nightwing the superhero.
This was also a good launching pad for having a story that takes place in one constantly moving image. Taylor and Redondo made great use of the format to show how as great of a fighter he is what makes Nightwing stand out is his acrobatics that are at the core of his fighting style. The constant sense of movement, even when Dick goes from taking cover to finding a place to change into his costume to fighting off gangs in his apartment as Nightwing all flowed together nicely.
Escalating the stakes by having the gang attacking him stealing Haley, aka Bitewing, worked with how there was so much urgency to the story. Even though the hit placed on Dick Grayson’s head isn’t resolved you did feel the importance of saving Haley became the main mission of Nightwing #87. This further emphasized how important Haley has become as a core part of the supporting cast as she is family to Dick and Barbara.
Speaking of, adding in Barbara Gordon to the story as she immediately dropped everything and went into the field as Batgirl was a nice touch. Becoming Batgirl is something that Barbara now only does when the need arises as she is spending using her skills more as Oracle. Taylor and Redondo did an excellent job in using this latest team-up to showcase how Batgirl and Nightwing compliment each other so well. They effectively save Haley without missing on their timing whatsoever. Which all makes the final page with Nightwing, Batgirl, and Haley together a perfect way to conclude this entire issue.
The Bad: Nothing.
Overall: Nightwing #87 is a masterpiece of storytelling. Tom Taylor, Bruno Redondo, Adrian Lucas, and everyone who worked on this comic book have to be applauded for telling such a compelling story in a unique way. Beyond the hook of a continuous spread image the story in Nightwing #87 does a great job being a jumping on point to summarize what makes Dick Grayson a great character. This is a must have for any comic book fan.
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