Review: Nightwing #101
[Editor’s Note: This review may contain spoilers]
Writer: Tom Taylor and C.S. Pacat
Art: Travis Moore and Edwardo Pansica & Julio Ferreira
Colors: Adriano Lucas
Letters: Wes Abbott
Reviewed by: Matthew B. Lloyd
Two new Nightwing tales launch this issue as Dick and the Titans investigate a body at the destroyed NYC Titans Tower and Dick continues to train Jon Kent in a story that takes them to the circus.
It’s great to see familiar faces like Raven, Starfire and Garfield Logan. The Titans (formerly New Teen Titans, ca. 1980). They don’t always operate together, but when they do it’s like getting together with old friends. Last issue they got an upgrade from the DC Trinity of Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman- the Titans are now the preeminent super-team in the DC Universe while the Justice League is on hiatus. This should come as no surprise, they’ve faced down the likes of Deathstroke, Baron Blood and Trigon over the years. Nightwing #101 shows them taking up the case of Olivia Desmond whom we met back in Nightwing #98. She’s Blockbuster’s daughter and Neron has a claim on her soul.
Taylor writes these old friends and teammates in a way that shows the reader that these characters have history. Dick knows what Starfire will do before she does it. It’s an enjoyable dynamic. The young Olivia brings some lightness to the proceedings, especially with the usually foreboding demeanor of Raven. This fits with the overall tone of the Nightwing series. Plus, it’s good to see Raven this way, it can’t be easy being Trigon’s daughter, right?
While Neron is a huge shift in villain type for Nightwing, it’s par for the course for the Titans. This may feel like a de-facto Titans title right now, and that’s ok. Dick thrives with his friends and family, and this is his current status quo as the leader of the Titans, the protectors of the world. This should be a fun and intense confrontation with Neron in the coming issues. The cliffhanger ending already promises something interesting.
The second story has Dick continuing his training of Jon Kent. It’s the first chapter of a mystery and it starts out a little awkwardly, as all appearances of Jon Kent have since he was artificially aged up. Once it gets going and we get to see how these events, that seem to mimic the death of his parents, affect him. The story is quite good.
It’s always a little hard to tell what’s going on with Raven. Her history has been muddled for a while. We know she’s Trigon’s daughter, but she definitely feels different (and younger) from the New Teen Titans days. If this issue suffers from anything, it’s the complete unbelievability of Jon Kent as Superman. It’s a decision DC doubled down on after Bendis left the Super-books. They had a chance to right the ship and restore Jon to his proper age. Until DC does that his appearances will drag down wherever and whenever he appears. It’s the equivalent of hearing one’s dog talking. It’s happening, but it just doesn’t feel right, and it never will. It’s a real shame, because everything else in Tom Taylor’s Nightwing run feels perfect, exactly like it should be.
Nightwing #101 works around the appearance of Jon Kent pretty effectively. The main story does a great job of setting the reader up for a heavy hitting confrontation for the Titans. The character work is great as usual, and it’s a real joy to read them all interacting together. There’s a big chunk of nostalgia with this, but what comes next promises to be great as well!