Nightwing issue 84 is the start of Nightwing’s story arc in the Batman Fear State event. Dick Grayson receives an encrypted message from Oracle, packs up his things, gets a sitter for his dog Haley, and heads to Gotham. But was it really Barbara Gordon who sent him that message?
Please note that there will be some spoilers below.
One thing about being a Nightwing fan is knowing that not only is Dick Grayson a prominent part of the Batfamily, but his history is deeply tied in with Bruce Wayne’s. He was the first child that Bruce took in and the first partner that Batman ever had. So, nearly every time there is a huge event going on with the Batman title, it is very likely that the Nightwing title will crossover in some way or another. For Fear State, issues 84-86 will take place in this event.
So, while I wasn’t excited to see Dick drop everything to head back to Gotham when he’s super busy with things in Bludhaven and has so much going on there, I understand why it is happening. Plus, I trust writer Tom Taylor to make sure that Nightwing is still the star of his own story – and he is.
Nightwing issue 84 starts out with Dick Grayson receiving that aforementioned encrypted message from Oracle asking him to come to Crime Alley in Gotham. He’s not sure why she would call him there, but when Barbara calls, Dick will always respond. Unfortunately, it turns out to be a setup. Rather than finding Barbara, the Magistrate (a private police force in Gotham that is looking to take down Batman and all other vigilantes) finds him instead.
It looks like Nightwing is highly outnumbered, but thankfully Batman noticed the buildup of Magistrate troops and decided to look into it. He had no idea they were after Nightwing. With Batman and Nightwing teamed up, they do what the Dynamic Duo does best. They take out the bad guys and escape. After they’re safe, there is a nice moment where Dick thanks Bruce for helping him out. Bruce replies, “I watched my parents die in that alley. I wasn’t going to let that happen to my son.”
After that Dick meets up with Barbara to help her however he can with the situation going on with Oracle. Who hacked into her servers and how did they do it? I’m sure that will become apparent by the end of this storyline.
I think because this is a crossover event where certain things had to fall into place, not as much actually happens in this issue compared to previous issues in Tom Taylor’s run. There is some action where Batman and Nightwing are fighting the Magistrate which shows off the duo’s skills as fighters with smarts. And there are a couple of touching moments and fun moments, but overall, it’s a different feel. It’s not bad, just different. I do think, things should feel a little more in tune with the previous issues as this storyline continues.
It could just be that I’m not thrilled to have Nightwing’s story dropped again for Batman’s. I love seeing him work with Batman and I love seeing Dick with the rest of his family. It is always some of my favorite moments. But I prefer when that happens in a way that doesn’t take him out of his own storyline for 3 months.
Having said all that, Tom Taylor does do an excellent job with this issue. One of my favorite parts is definitely when Dick drops Haley off with Clancy (from the original Nightwing series!) and her children. The look on Dick’s face when Haley suddenly disappears from his arms to on the floor with Clancy’s children is priceless. Also, I have to wonder what happened to their goldfish and why it deserved it!
My other favorite moment was Batman calling Nightwing his son. I feel like a lot of writers kind of shy away from Batman using those terms when it comes to his children. Often, he’s kind of more impersonal toward them and treats them like crimefighting partners more than his children. But Tom Taylor has Bruce acknowledge Dick, keep in contact with him, and show that he cares. It’s what want to see; the Bruce Wayne of the Golden Age who wasn’t afraid to show that he cares about his son.
The artist for the Nightwing Fear State crossover is Robbi Rodriguez. I’m not really familiar with his art and the style is definitely different, but with Adriano Lucas continuing to be on colors it works quite well. Nightwing is in a different place, but this is still his book. Having a different artist with the same colorist kind of highlights that fact. From what I can see in this issue, Rodriguez is really good at movement and facial expressions. His characters are portrayed as very lively. It’s a different style, but it works, and I like it.
Nightwing issue 84 may be a little bit jarring for those of us settling into Dick’s current storyline in Bludhaven, but with Tom Taylor at the helm, it is definitely enjoyable. We don’t lose the things that are important such as Dick being in the same league as Batman. Dick is still the star of his own story. And that’s something I can truly appreciate. It’ll be interesting to see what happens next in Nightwing’s adventure in the Fear State story.
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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