Nightwing Issue 85 Review “Fear State Part 2 of 3”

Nightwing Issue 85

Nightwing issue 85 is a little different as it is from Barbara Gordon’s point of view rather than Dick Grayson’s. He is still in the comic as Batgirl/Oracle is working with Nightwing and Robin (Tim Drake), but we don’t get as much insight to his thoughts in this issue.

Please note that there will be some brief spoilers below.

Writing from Barbara Gordon’s POV in the Nightwing title is a fairly gutsy move. Considering that the main audience for the Nightwing comic are Nightwing fans. Some people love Barbara while others would be perfectly happy not seeing her in the book. But, seeing how Barbara no longer has her own solo series, it makes sense to give her a voice somewhere, especially when the current storyline focuses on someone hacking in and taking over her Oracle network.

Having said all that, even as a Barbara Gordon fan, I was a little disappointed to not get any insight from Dick’s POV in this issue. But I did appreciate seeing Dick Grayson through Barbara’s eyes. How she sees him with Tom Taylor’s writing is something special. While I’m still not jumping off the Dick/Kory ship, I can appreciate the sweet moments between Dick and Barbara and Nightwing #85 has plenty of them! If you are a Dick/Barbara shipper, you will definitely love this one.

Nightwing issue 85 begins with Barbara letting all the superheroes know, who have access to it, that the Oracle system has been compromised. This doesn’t just include the Batfamily, but heroes like Black Canary, Green Arrow, and Wonder Woman as well. Barbara as Batgirl and Nightwing head to the Clocktower which is Oracle HQ. They encounter the person who hacked the Oracle system. The hacker is happy to let Barbara know that she knows everything, referring to Batgirl and Nightwing as Barbara and Mr. Grayson. Barbara asks Dick to help her physically destroy the Oracle system.

Unfortunately, destroying the physical tech is not enough to stop the hacker. But Barbara has a backup system called Oracle Z. Because of how Barbara built the backup system, it cannot be taken down remotely. So, they head to Oracle Z to meet up with Robin and take the rest of the system down. Obviously, the hacker is quick to their plans and sets up a trap for Batgirl and Nightwing. Do our heroes make it through unscathed and achieve their goal? You’ll have to read the issue to find out!

As I mentioned in my review for the last issue of Nightwing, there does not seem to be as much going on for Nightwing during the Fear State Event. While this issue picked up a bit, it was still a little more slow-going. I think there is a lot that needs to be said to explain the story in 3 issues. I don’t put blame on writer Tom Taylor for this. Having a storyline uprooted for a Batman Event is what it is. The other series get derailed for a bit and shoehorned in.

Barbara even refers to this within the comic, “Dick Grayson came to Gotham because he thought I called. Everything he’s building in Bludhaven. And he dropped it all the moment he thought I needed him.” I know it’s down to personal preference and I’m definitely a Batfamily fan and love their interactions, but I was really invested in Dick Grayson’s story in Bludhaven, and I’d still prefer for that story to have not been interrupted.

Regardless, writer Tom Taylor did an excellent job in Nightwing #85. He’s still bringing a whole lot of heart to Dick’s Grayson’s character, and it was kind of nice to see Dick through the eyes of someone who loves him so much. And Taylor provides plenty of nice moments between Dick and Barbara, including another kiss which Tim witnesses to the effect of, “Oh, finally.” My hope is that Taylor will continue to write their relationship in a positive way. That was always one of my biggest hang-ups with the couple in the past.

Guest artist for the Fear State Nightwing storyline, Robbi Rodriguez continues to do justice to the characters. His characters are drawn with plenty of emotion and movement. I also commend him for giving Dick Grayson’s Robin the short pants and pixie boots in a flashback featuring Batgirl and Robin. That is the classic, original Robin design after all! And of course, Adriano Lucas’ colors continue to be one of the best parts of this comic. He’s truly one of the best colorists in comics today.

Nightwing issue 85 is a little bit different due to Barbara Gordon’s POV, but it is still part of Nightwing’s story and works well with the Fear State storyline. It’ll be interesting to see how this story resolves for Dick and Barbara in the next issue. I know I’m looking forward to how this all leads to Dick Grayson being back in Bludhaven soon!

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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