Tom Taylor concludes the long-running Blockbuster saga in the previous issue of Nightwing. It ended with Nightwing defeating his biggest rival and Blockbuster being killed by Heartless. With the landscape of Bludhaven changing what we don’t know is if things will really get better. Dick Grayson, with his family and friends’ help, has sure done what they can to turn things around. Let’s see what happens next with Nightwing #97.
Writer: Tom Taylor
Artist: Bruno Redondo and Geraldo Borges
Inker: Caio Filipe and Geraldo Borges
Colorist: Adriano Lucas
Bludhaven Police Commissioner Maggie Sawyer gets Sal Maroni to agree to tell them all he knows about Blockbuster’s operations by moving him to Gotham City under GCPD and Commissioner Renee Montoya’s protection.
Meanwhile, Nightwing discusses with Mayor Melinda Zucco about Heartless killing Blockbuster and the hole left by the death.
Back at the apartment, Barbara Gordon admits to Dick Grayson she would like them to take a break but heard what Nightwing was talking about earlier.
Later, the GCPD transport Commissioner Montoya arranged for Maroni to be attacked. When trying to fight back Commissioner Montoya is shocked when some of her own cops are revealed to be working for those that want Maroni dead.
Nightwing and Oracle make it on time to save Maroni and promise to personally get him to the GCPD safehouse.
After taking care of all the gangs coming after Maroni both Nightwing and Oracle take Maroni to one of Batman’s secret forest bunkers to hide out for the night. Hearing Maroni talking smack Nightwing decides to knock him out using a tranquilizer dart. With Maroni knocked out Nightwing and Oracle spend the rest of the night having sex.
The next morning Nightwing and Oracle are surprised to find a taxi outside the bunker with Ric Grayson offering to help them. End of issue.
For as quickly as Nightwing #97 moves there is a sense throughout that this series is at a placeholder point after the “Battle For Bludhaven’s Heart.” Maybe that is because we are less than three months from Dark Crisis On Infinite Earths’ ending which Nightwing is said to play a major role in that kept Nightwing #97 from being a substantial step forward.
Tom Taylor, Bruno Redondo, and Geraldo Borges credit the pacing for Nightwing #97 works to the advantage of the story being told in this issue. There is an efficient pace so we don’t hang in one scene for very long. The issue is constantly moving forward as Nightwing and Oracle combat the deal the Bludhaven PD and GCPD make with Sal Maroni.
This setup gave importance to the secret files that Commissioner Maggie Sawyer got from all of Blockbuster’s criminal dealings. With Blockbuster now dead it made Maroni an even more valuable asset for the police. Taylor made it clear that Commissioner Sawyer was doing her best in being in such a corner while still making sure Maroni knew his only option was to work with the police. It was a good way to further establish Commissioner Sawyer as a major player in a quick fashion.
Going from there to Maroni being attacked by gangs that want to shut him up all made sense. He has way too much information even on the dirty cops working for the Bludhaven PD and GCPD to be left alive. That is where Nightwing and Oracle needed to step in as Maroni’s death could undo a lot of the work they put into fully taking down Blockbuster’s and other criminal operations in Bludhaven.
On the Nightwing and Oracle side of things, while it was great to see them work so well together I was left wishing Taylor gave more time to address their relationship. Barbara Gordon even bringing up that she would like to take a short vacation with Dick Grayson highlights how very little time we see them spend together. We’ve already seen the physical relationship stuff with them in previous issues of this series and Batgirls. With how “Battle For Bludhaven’s Heart” ended with Dick and Barbara finally moving from a casual thing to being in an actual relationship it would be great if we got more from them outside their superhero lives.
The Ric Grayson surprise ending is something that did nothing for me. Sure there is shock value in seeing this version of Dick Grayson again but given how poorly received the entire Ric Grayson saga was this isn’t a positive thing. I trust Taylor will make something good out of this but in terms of impact, the ending just did nothing but remind me how much I rather forget the entire Ric Grayson saga.
On the art side of things, Bruno Redondo and Geraldo Borges worked really well together. Redondo and Borges’s artwork are very similar and you don’t notice when the art switches happen. It helps keep up the flow of the story moving forward as we get behind what is going on in each panel. Especially once Nightwing #97 becomes more action-heavy it all works to get the tension high in how things will actually turn out with all the bullets flying.
A strong pace made some of the shortcomings with the story does not interfere with the entertainment value of Nightwing #97. Tom Taylor knows how to write all these characters in compelling ways that are enhanced by Bruno Redondo, and Geraldo Borges’s artwork. The ending that brings back one of the worst parts of Nightwing’s history was definitely a letdown that I hope Taylor and company are able to make work in the next issue.
Story Rating: 6 Night Girls out of 10
Art Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10