Review: Nightwing #104
[Editor’s Note: This review may contain spoilers]
Writers: Tom Taylor and C.S. Pacat
Art: Travis Moore and Daniel Hore & Jonan Trindade
Colors: Adriano Lucas
Letters: Wes Abbott
Reviewed by Matthew B. Lloyd
Bestowed with Superman-like powers, Nightwing must face Neron’s temptation- hand over Olivia and keep the powers.
Is there any question that Nightwing would know how to use super-powers wisely? Nightwing and Superman (Clark Kent) have very similar personalities and outlooks on life, despite their dissimilar origins and because of their similar origins. As this series has been all along, Nightwing #104 is character focused. Taylor doesn’t ever make the reader try and believe that Nightwing is actually tempted to keep the power, it’s not in his nature. The insight comes from seeing what Nightwing does with his short-lived powers and the obvious parallel that Taylor builds with the Man of Steel. Clark’s appearance is appropriate in the issue as it also turns the plot back towards the mission the Justice League turned over to the Titans back in Nightwing #100, to take over for the League while the League is on hiatus.
While Nightwing may not be tempted, the reader might be. Even some of Dick’s teammates seem to wish he had the powers permanently as they observe how well they suit him. This comparison to Superman runs deep in the Nighwing lore, Nightwing selected his name from Superman’s adventures in Kandor as Nightwing a Batman-like identity that Superman used for the first time back in Superman #158 (January 1963). The history of the Kryptonian Nightwing has been altered through the years, but it remains a deep point of connection between Dick Grayson and Clark.
If there’s negatives in Nightwing #104 they are sins of omission as opposed to commission. Barbara (Batgirl/Oracle) Gordon while appearing in the background of the Titans’ fight with Neron’s hordes is missing in the wrap up. This series has used Dick and Babs relationship that it feels odd for her not to have a significant moment at the end of story arc.
While the editor’s note tells the reader when this story takes place, the timing doesn’t match up exactly with the publishing schedule. Most significantly, it was a little odd reading Titans #1 last week when this issue clearly concludes before the events of that issue.
Overall, the negatives in Nightwing #104 are minimal at best and the “Rise of the Underworld” story arc concludes with a strong look at Dick Grayson’s character. Initially, while Neron seemed to fit as a villain for the Titans, he doesn’t seem like a proper antagonist for Nightwing. Despite this the finale provides a character driven story that does fit what makes Nightwing tick. The issue also utilizes the deep history between Dick and Clark to add depth to the events.