Nightwing Issue 81 Review: “Leaping into the Light Part 4”

Nightwing Issue 81

Nightwing issue 81 is definitely a comic that you can’t ignore. Creative team Tom Taylor and Bruno Redondo not only continue to make a comic that is hard to put down, but this issue especially is also a huge game changer! You’re not going to want to pass this one up!

Please note that there will be some spoilers below.

I am most certainly a broken record at this point, but Nightwing issue 81 is another amazing issue. This series just keeps getting better and better. Tom Taylor has a story to tell that is shaping out to be something intriguing, heartfelt, and fun. Bruno Redondo’s art is such a highlight and something to look forward to along with Adriano Lucas’ beautiful colors. DC Comics really brought their A-Team to this comic. And I may be partial, but this is without a doubt what Nightwing deserves!

Nightwing issue 81 begins with Melinda Zucco being sworn in as mayor of Bludhaven. If you recall from the first issue, she is involved with the Maroni crime family who had the previous mayor killed so that Zucco could assume the position. Their collective aim is to gain more power, take over the city, and expand outward. That’s certainly something Nightwing will have to put a stop to!

While that is going on, Nightwing is dealing with another problem, the new Big Bad in town: Heartless. Nightwing and Heartless trade some insults and fists. It seems that Heartless is a metahuman, but not well trained. However, he gets a hit to Nightwing’s head pretty early on in their fight that eventually takes him down. Remember, Dick had a traumatic brain injury a couple of years ago when he was shot in the head by KGBeast.

Thankfully, Robin (Tim Drake) and Barbara Gordon have Nightwing’s back and are able to get him back home and treated for his injuries. Barbara tells Dick about Melinda Zucco becoming mayor, and Dick decides he needs to investigate the criminal daughter of the man who killed his parents. But Tim and Barbara won’t let him go out until he’s gotten some sleep. He had a pretty nasty concussion after all.

When Nightwing heads out to Melinda Zucco’s house, he still isn’t completely better which doesn’t bode well for him. What happens to Nightwing at the Zucco residence has the potential to change Dick Grayson’s story forever! I won’t spoil that here though. This is a big one, folks. You’re going to have to read it!

Nightwing issue 81 brought action, a bit of mystery, and continued excellent character interactions. Dick, Tim, and Barbara make a good team. They not only work together well, but they have some fun while doing so with some good-natured teasing and banter. I also like that there continues to be shout-outs to former writers within the story itself. It’s a fun call back to what came before. And the memes that show up on coffee mugs and t-shirts are also a nice touch.

I really have to commend writer Tom Taylor on this issue. It had some real potential to not go well considering the big reveal on the last page. But I think it was handled in a way that really worked. It took some guts too to do something big and different that could easily be considered controversial. From what I’ve seen, most of the feedback has been positive, but there are certainly some people who didn’t like it at all. He took a risk, and for an issue of a comic that sold out on the first day, I’d say it was successful!

Bruno Redondo’s art is still one of the high points of each issue. His attention to detail and creative decisions add so much to every page. It’s been a real joy to see his work on this run. I hope he and colorist Adriano Lucas stay on this title for a long, long time.

Overall I found Nightwing issue 81 to be my favorite of this run so far. I loved the attention to detail, the call-outs, the references, the heart, and the fact that Dick’s traumatic brain injury was not swept under the rug. This comic continues to be a major highlight in the DC Comic lineup and I know with this cliffhanger, I’m going to be on the edge of my seat until the next issue!

Author: Jessica Rae

Jessica has a BA in music with an emphasis in voice and spends her day typesetting, editing, writing, and moderating webinars. Jessica primarily reviews anime and comic book series. She also offers insights on various movies, books, games, and other geeky topics.


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