Wednesday, February 23, 2022

Review: Nightwing #89

Nightwing #89 came out last week and was a wonderful crossover with the Superman, Son of Kal-El book. This was about as seamless a crossover can be. Both books are written by Tom Taylor and both tout a progressive political viewpoint. So why not have two great tastes taste great together.

In Nightwing, Dick has inherited billions from Alfred and has set out to make Bludhaven a better place. In this issue we learn that his hope to spread the truth goes farther than his boroughs borders. That is all well and good and makes sense. But the thing that I love about Dick is that somehow he has become the big brother/conscience of the DCU. If you need help or advice or just a chance to decompress, Dick seems to be your guy. That comes across so well in this issue as he helps a troubled Jon deal with Superman's recent issues.

Throw in some solid humor and nifty character beats and Nightwing has become one of my favorite monthly books.

Bruno Redondo has done amazing work on the title as well giving us great page layouts and story construct and panel art. I love the way his Babs looks. And his action is always crisp and kinetic. It starts with this fun cover! Love the laissez-faire feel to Jon cruising downward.

On to the specifics. Hope everyone is reading this.

My favorite part of the book is an opening scene flashback. A young Jon, like Super Sons young wearing his super-hoodie, is lost. It is clear that Superman has asked his super friends to help him locate Superboy. 

Batman and Nightwing find Jon sulking in a cave. When Batman tries to enter, he is almost fried by Jon's heat vision.

Look at Dick's reaction. Immediately comforting. Mask off. 'Hey ... I work with your dad.' Tremendous.

But even better is Dick's chastising Batman. Batman is dressed up like a giant bat to instill fear in people. It works. Especially for a super-powered kid who is already scared. The cowl tug is phenomenal.

The Superman shows up with a super-hug and all is forgiven. That second panel is just perfect. You feel that hug.

Dick pulls some lollipops out of Batman's utility belt (in the pouch next to the smoke grenades) and gives one to Jon. Then he defuses the situation even more by juggling for Jon making the scared and embarrassed kid laugh. That is Dick Grayson in a nutshell. He is here to help.

Taylor definitely instills some emotional and humorous energy into the scene. Batman and Superman wonder if they will ever stop worrying about their 'sons'. And of course, the proximity of lollipops to grenades is a funny closing bit.

This whole scene was a healing tonic in a week that also had the morose Supergirl Woman of Tomorrow #8 issue released.

Cut to the present.

Jon is still reeling from the events in Superman #8 where someone dies in Metropolis during an attack by a giant sea monster, a death which has been turned into a knock against Jon's heroing. He is looking for some advice. And unfortunately, the AI Clark at the Fortress can't engage in such an ethical discussion. 

So Jon asks for some alone time. Some solitude in the Fortress.

Nice panel composition here. Jon feels completely alone, small in this sterile environment. And then, the nice use of a panel border within the panel to highlight that Kelex is watching this whole thing from the shadows.

This is just art and words complementing each other, the real magic of comics.

It is worrisome enough to Kelex that the robot heads to Bludhaven to ask Dick to help Jon through the crisis. You might remember that back in Nightwing #83, the OG Superman asks Dick to keep on eye on his son. 

Love this sleepy scene with Dick and Babs being awakened by Kelex. Babs Teen Titans Go shirt is a nice touch. But it is Dick's Batman PJ pants that got the laugh. As someone with Superman jammie pants, I really chuckled.

And the panel construction again is perfect with Dick standing up to reveal the joke. 

Back in Metropolis, Jay tells Jon that they are going to meet the money behind The Truth.

As a gag, Jay tells Jon it's Luthor. The stunned Superman stands there gobsmacked. Then Jay reveals he is joking.

I'll admit that my thoughts that Jay is villainous has tried to poison my feelings about this relationship. This scene was the first time that the 'is he a villain' feeling dissipated and I felt some chemistry between the two. Nice funny moment.

It turns out the money is ... Dick Grayson. I do wonder how Bruce would feel about Dick funding an underground news source. And I wonder if Dick has editorial control. What if Jay wrote a 'Batman shouldn't be buying equipment and should be donating his money' articles? 

Jon is wearing a domino mask when everyone meets for the first time but it is clear Dick recognizes him. And, of course, because of the first scene, Jon knows who Nightwing really is.

And it seems Dick might not know who Jay is under his fishy Truth mask. My guess is Oracle could figure it out if he asked.

Across the globe, super-powered beings are being executed by members of The Rising, the Gamorran super-powered army. 

Dick whispers to Jon to meet him at the crime scene. 

I liked this scene as well, Dick teaching Jon some of the tricks of the trade, you know, the way a big brother might.

Change your voice when you're masked. 
Look for clues at the crime scene.

Again, Taylor makes these moments seem so natural and unforced. The voices sound spot on. It just works. And Redondo's art is also joyous. Even the slight crouch by Dick here on the rooftop shows he is ready for action.

The death scene of Risk (a D-level titan I guess?, never heard of him) showed no footprints so the assailants flew. 

Jon is able to pick up an energy trail which leads to .... Lexcorp!

To be continued!!!

Nice cliffhanger. 

My guess is Lex isn't too happy with everything Gamorran president Bendix is doing. But Lex can't seem like he is being taken or weak. So we'll see how it all plays out.

But this was a superb issue and the title 'World's Finest Sons' is just pitch perfect.

I do hope we get a scene where Dick is able to talk to Jon more specifically about the civilian death that happened. But there is nothing like a good team-up to help clear the mind.

Can't wait for part 2.

Overall grade: A


Martin Gray said...

Wasn’t this a great issue? But I see Jay is using his mind tricks on you!

The opening was my favourite scene too. I do, though, wish this had been a standalone team-up, with no Truth or Rising involvement.

Anonymous said...

Nightwing is a well-known character - Taylor only has to bring out his best qualities. Jon remains kind of an unknown, and DC is trying to find the path forward for him that works. It's not that easy. It may take a while for Jon to develop the maturity you get with Nightwing,


Bostondreams said...

Risk is perhaps best known for having an arm ripped off by Superboy Prime. Then Prime came back and took the other one (though it looks like only one is cybernetic in this issue)

Ah, good times. :-/