Overview: In Nightwing #105, Nightwing and Batgirl are on the hunt for Double Dare after word gets out about a stolen biological weapon!
Synopsis: Dick Grayson (Nightwing) wakes up with Barbara Gordon (Batgirl) in his apartment. Mayor Melinda (Zucco) Grayson-Lin calls to alert Dick that the twin acrobatic villains Double Dare have stolen a biological weapon and have taken the M Train into Bludhaven hostage. The Dynamic Duo of Nightwing and Batgirl race to the train and encounter one-half of the duo, Aliki. Quickly apprehending her, Aliki explains that she let the passengers go free and that she’s on the run from assailants who’ve kidnapped her sister. The “weapon” is actually a cure for a virus that’s spread across the city of Vlatava, and Aliki is carrying the cure, but her sister Margo got taken by mistake.
Batgirl disguises herself as Aliki by switching costumes, just before the three are hit with a missile from across the city. While Batgirl (as Aliki) is taken captive, Nightwing and the real Aliki run from the mercenaries firing at them. Crashing through an office building, they “borrow” a motorcycle and race after the vehicle where Batgirl has been taken. In the parking garage, Nightwing finds Margot and Batgirl have the situation well in hand, with Batgirl beating up everyone in the room. Before Nightwing can join in, a voice on a CCTV camera requests his presence at the top of Shel Pharmaceuticals, the company planning to sell the vaccine, which would be more than Vlatlava can afford.
Nightwing meets with Lyle Shelton (a.k.a. Heartless unbeknownst to him), who claims that they’ve severed their tie with the criminals responsible for chasing Double Dare. He says that he appreciates Nightwing and the Titans’ presence in Bludhaven, but they are interfering with his legitimate business. On the streets below, Batgirl is still dressed as Aliki. Double Dare ran off the with the motorcycle Nightwing took, but the heroes return to Nightwing’s apartment while discussing the potential benefits of dressing up in someone else’s costume.
Analysis: Ever play Mirror’s Edge? After several months, Bruno Redondo is back on the title, and the rest did him a world of good it seems. This issue – set entirely from Dick’s POV perspective – has some of the finest artwork Redondo has gifted the title to date. It’s a fun gimmick, starting off when Dick wakes with Babs and Haley in bed, and seeing how his room and the wide-open city of Bludhaven look through his eyes. It’s a wonderful idea, at home for a Superman or Spider-Man comic, and I’m shocked this is the only time I can recall that this has been done in a superhero comic. It lends to the artist chances for little details both in the room and controlling the pacing and timing of each panel sequence. There’s also chances to really lean in on reflections in windows and mirrors, and while there don’t seem to be any secrets revealed by doing so, we see glimpses of things we don’t often see, like Nightwing’s bottom-shoe design.
This is a fun issue, with hardly anything getting in the way of how fun it is. I’m not a big fan of Babs running around as Batgirl, but some of my favorite panels were close-ups of her racing across and inside the train, and her beating up the goons as “Aliki”. Redondo masters the sudden intensity of action, the confusion of fighting and regaining one’s bearings after death-defying activity. And it all comes down to Redondo, who owns this entire story. The slight quibbles I do have come down to Taylor’s writing. Petty issues like asking why Dick has all of his Nightwing stuff out on display in his apartment room for everyone to see. I liked the several different masks he’s worn over the years being on display, but I’m also remembering him taking a bit more care of his secret identity during the old days. I also would’ve like a bit more damage done to Nightwing and Aliki after getting hit with a missile. They’re not even bleeding, and Aliki has a slight cut on the shoulder of her jacket. Stuff like that bothers me, because it masquerades as danger and suspense, but they’re fine. Even if the missile wasn’t meant to kill them, the odds of them being as unscathed as they appear to be are really ridiculous.
I’m also questioning the scene in Shelton’s office where Nightwing actually drinks what he’s given. There’s a full panel given to show it, and I’m thinking this is clearly some sort of tracker or drugged drink he’s taking. I don’t know if Dick’s smarter than he’s appearing in the moment, or if there’s really nothing to worry about, but it took me out of the comic.
Otherwise, this is a standard, solid issue of Nightwing. The Titans story wasn’t bad, but it was distracting from the groove that this series has settled into. We’re also closing in on three years of Taylor’s run, and we should be ramping up the Heartless arc by now. Now that we’re back, we’re getting more experiments with the form akin to last year’s run-on issue. I liked how the lettering was done whenever Dick was talking, without the word-balloon tail. Stuff like that is truly thinking outside the box, at least marginally, and makes a perfectly fine issue on it’s own a great one courtesy of the title’s superstar artist.
Editor’s Note: DC Comics provided TBU with a copy of Nightwing #105 for review purposes. You can find this comic and help support TBU in the process by purchasing this issue digitally on Comixology through Amazon or a physical copy of the title through Things From Another World.