Nightwing #88 Review – Importance of (Superhero) Family

Nightwing #88 Review

Dick Grayson has been busy as Nightwing with Gotham City falling under Fear State and the aftermath that he hasn’t been able to spend a whole lot of time in Bludhaven. While he is still helping out in Gotham City it is time for Dick Grayson to start focusing on Bludhaven and the Alfred Pennyworth Foundation he announced before Fear State. Dick Grayson created a massive target on himself with his announcement of how he will be use his fortune to better the lives of Bludhaven citizens. How will Blockbuster and other villains respond? Let’s find out with Nightwing #88.

Writer: Tom Taylor

Artist: Bruno Redondo

Colorist: Adriano Lucas

Story Rating: 9 Night Girls out of 10

Art Rating: 9 Night Girls out of 10

Overall Rating: 9 Night Girls out of 10

Synopsis: In his office in Bludhaven, Blockbuster hires some mercenaries to assassinate Dick Grayson.

Meanwhile Barbara Gordon speaks with someone about a plan they are working on for Dick Grayson that they don’t want to talk to him about just yet. Dick Grayson returns to his apartment after getting breakfast for Haley, Barbara, and himself as Nightwing since his normal civilian identity is to recognizable.

As Dick gets ready for an upcoming event Barbara reveals that she and Haley will be attending to support him at the event even though Dick protests against it.

Later, at Bludhaven Docks, Dick Grayson holds a press conference with Mayor Melinda Zucco (his half-sister) and the homeless kids he is building homes for by his side. Dick announces how the Alfred Pennyworth Foundation is breaking ground where the homeless kids used to stay to ensure they have a place to be together with the family they’ve built in their time together.

Nearby Gunbunny lines up a shot on Dick but is immediately taken down by Starfire and Donna Troy. Barbara tells the other Titans to look for Gunbunny’s partner.

Nightwing #88 Review
Dick Grayson announces one of the major projects the Alfred Pennyworth Foundation are working on in Nightwing #88.

In another building Gunhawk takes his shot on Dick. Flash (Wally West) is able to save Dick before being hit by Gunhawk’s shot and gets him to a safe location.

With Blockbuster sending in his hired crew to find and kill him, Flash takes Dick to Mr. Terrific to give him the new Nightwing costume they made for him to be able to be worn under any of his clothes.

Back at the docks as Blockbuster’s crew holding everyone hostage Nightwing leads the Titans (Donna Troy, Flash, Starfire, Cyborg, Beast Boy, and Raven) to quickly take down the gang.

Raven then teleports the Titans to Blockbuster’s office. Starfire and Donna Troy warn Blockbuster that Dick Grayson is under the Titans protection.

Elsewhere Gunhawk is killed by Heartless, who won’t let anyone but themselves kill Dick Grayson. End of issue.

The Good: While it is understandable that Nightwing would be pulled into the events going on in Gotham City as the city almost burnt down it was good to see him return his attention to Bludhaven. As Superman told him before, the announcement of the Alfred Pennyworth Foundation and its mission statement is something that has potential to be a major deal. Nightwing #88 reminds us why that is as that is what is focused on here.

Given the gravity of his announcement it obviously created a massive target for Dick Grayson as his goals directly go against Blockbuster and other Bludhaven crime bosses and politicians. By creating a target for himself the focus is now on Dick Grayson not Nightwing, which is an intriguing shift in storytelling. Because as we see in Nightwing #88 just getting breakfast isn’t something that Dick can go out to get as himself. He has become to well known with people watching his every move for different reasons.

This set-up allowed Taylor to further explore how the new direction for the character is an extension of who Dick Grayson is at his core. While he has been a wander for much of his life he has also found various people from the Batman Family to Titans to call his family. What he is creating in Bludhaven is an extension of that family he has built in his own life to give others the stability they need. Both in the intro inner monologue and his speech during the press conference emphasize the family aspect of this direction Dick Grayson is going towards.

Adding to how Dick Grayson is trying to make sure he is doing this to improve things for the people that live in Bludhaven was including the kids from the homeless community as part of his announcement. This along with having his half-sister, Mayor Melinda Zucco, shows that effort to be better connected with the city he calls home than he has before. It’s a small touch but an important one, especially after coming off several issues where we saw Nightwing back in Gotham City right after his announcement.

Having the Titans guest-star in Nightwing #88 was another excellent choice. We’ve seen throughout Taylor and Redondo’s run that the Batman Family are important parts in Dick Grayson’s life. The other important family that Dick has had is that with the Titans and we get to see that for a major part of this issue. Taylor does an excellent job immediately getting how close the Titans all are and that they unquestionably have Dick’s back.

The interactions with the Titans was great as each one had a line or two that spoke to their family dynamic. But by far the best interaction was how naturally Taylor reestablishes Dick Grayson and Wally West as best friends. The friendship between Dick and Wally is something we haven’t seen explored for a very long time. It was very refreshing to see their natural chemistry as best friends shine. It definitely made me want to get at least a Nightwing/Flash mini-series that is just Dick and Wally going on random adventures.

All of this being part of a plan Barbara put together with the Titans and Mr. Terrific worked well to further strengthen her and Dick’s relationship. Taylor has done a good job having Barbara being the rock in Dick’s life that is looking out for him as she knows he has so many things going on that there are things that he blind to. One of those things being looking out for his own safety shows how well she knows her. Recruiting their superhero allies also works well into how both Barbara and Dick are two of the most well connected heroes in the DCU with a vast network of allies.

Nightwing #88 Review
The Titans assemble to help save and team-up with Nightwing against Blockbuster’s gang in Nightwing #88. Click for full page view.

All of this protection for Dick Grayson also helps to elevate the threats of Blockbuster, Heartless, and other villains targeting him. Even though Blockbuster’s plan did fail in Nightwing #88 Taylor wrote it in a way that makes the villain realize he has to step up his game. The things Blockbuster has done in the past will no longer work. Given that he still controls much of how the political and criminal world within Bludhaven works there are a lot of angles that Blockbuster can look to approach taking down both Nightwing and Dick Grayson.

And while they weren’t a big presence Heartless showing up and killing Gunhawk at the end of the issue is a good reminder the villain is a growing threat. We still don’t know what is motivating Heartless to do what they are doing and why Dick Grayson is such a big target for them. But as with their previous appearance, the way Heartless took out Gunhawk does show there is a much bigger story being developed with this new villain.

Once again Bruno Redondo knocks it out of the park with his artwork throughout Nightwing #88. Right from the opening page Redondo gets us back to feeling we are in Bludhaven with the shot of Nightwing looking over the city. This shot worked well to emphasize that the series is back to focusing on Bludhaven. That extended to the rest of the way the setting is drawn to have its own distinct look. Then there was how he drew all of the Titans. Redondo did such a good job highlighting their chemistry with how they seamlessly worked together to take down Gunbunny, Gunhawk, and Blockbuster’s gang. Even without the dialogue you could get what they were saying to each other, especially in the scenes with Nightwing and Flash.

The Bad: Nothing.

Overall: Nightwing #88 does a great job telling a complete story in a single issue. Tom Taylor and Bruno Redondo bring the focus back to Bludhaven and Dick Grayson’s new mission with the Alfred Pennyworth foundation. In the process we get a lot of great character work as we see how important both the Batman and Titans Family are to Dick Grayson’s life. With all of that and the developments around Blockbuster and Heartless it’ll be very interesting to see where Taylor and Redondo take Nightwing next.

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