Nightwing #110 is written by Tom Taylor and published by DC Comics. Artwork is by Sami Basri with inks and finishes by Vincente Cifuentes (p4-30). Colours by Adriano Lucas and letters are by Wes Abbott. Main cover art (left) is by Bruno Redondo.
Nightwing #110 is available now, in print and on digital where all good comic books are sold.
Nightwing, Batgirl and the Titans are doing all they can to save a world overrun by Beasts. Heroes have become threats, and one of the biggests threats now stalks the streets of Bludhaven. Where once there was a Robin, now there is a cat. Can Jon Kent and Nightwing save the city from Damian Wayne? Or will the Super Sons be torn apart forever?
It’s time for Nightwing to catch up with the events of DC’s Beast World event. The sprawling, line-wide storyline has seen Beast Boy scattered across Earth in the form of a million Garros. Like Starro only with the power to transformer like Gar. Oh and they’re green, of course. This issue takes place before the events of December’s Titans #6, flashing back to the early days of the incident.
Nightwing, as the leader of the Titans, is coordinating the efforts to keep peace in the absence of the Justice League. When Damian is reported missing, Dick calls on Jon Kent to help him find his brother. Taylor makes Nightwing a more insular tale which focusses on the relationship between its three central characters. Rather than simply twisting the book to become purely another chapter in the wider event. In fact I would call this my favourite chapter of the Beast World story since its inciting issue.
We open in Arkham Tower, Gotham, as a mysterious new character is introduced. Apex Ava is dying of a terminal disease, passed to her by a monkey bite during a hunt in Lamumba. You can see where this is going right? Yes. Ava has been infected with Sakutia, the disease which almost killed Gar in his origin story. On day one of the Beast World infestation Ava is, of course, caught up and taken by one of the spores. It introduces a new, unpredictable element to the wider event. But doesn’t distract from the smaller scale story which Taylor is trying to tell here.
Three days later and both Supermen (Clark and Jon) are fighting spores when Nightwing makes the call to say that Damian is missing. Of course Jon rushes to Gotham where he and Dick team up to find their missing brother. It’s here that Taylor begins to draw in the scale of the story, focussing instead on how each hero could be helping the wider world but has chosen to focus on finding Damian. As I’ve said in previous reviews of Titans, it’s this dedication to family over apocalyptic events which makes Dick (and the Titans) better placed to be the central DC super team. At least for now.
After some detective work and ruffling up of the Cobblepots the pair learn that missing mutated animals are being held in an underground fighting club known as The Pit. Of course someone in Gotham is already capitalising on the Beast World event for criminal profit. What else do you do when two thirds of the world’s population has been turned in to ravenous beasts. So the pair venture underground where they find a mutated Damian, now a cat, being forced to fight against other victims of the spores.
This sounds like I’m just spoiling the whole book. But the discovery of the underground fight club isn’t the point of Nightwing #110. The real story is about both Dick and Jon’s dedication to their brother. It’s also about Damian’s own reaction to the events of this issue. Culminating in a touching final page and panel which, whilst tinged with humour, shows there’s a lot of love which each shares for their companions. It’s this kind of positive presentation of male emotion which I think shines through in so much of Taylor’s work on the book.
Sami Basri is providing the artwork this issue, with ink support by Vincente Cifuentes. Basri’s style doesn’t feel a million miles away from the usual look of Nightwing. It isn’t jarring to have a new artist on board for this issue. Likewise with Adriano Lucas still colouring the book it feels perfectly in keeping with everything we’ve seen before. There’s a cool fluidity and expression to Basri’s art. Busier panels have a strong sense of movement whilst the emotions within the story are all perfectly communicated through character’s facial expressions.
The biggest concern when a new artist steps in is losing the sense of who a character is. Whilst Nightwing’s costume is always recognisable, different artists approach his facial features differently. But Basri does not try and reinvent the wheel. Dick, Jon and Damian all feel akin to prior appearances in Nightwing and to their own core series’.
Tying in to the Beast World event does nothing to stop the juggernaut that is DC’s Nightwing. Issue #110 tells a wonderful, smaller scale story from within the Earth-shattering event. Never compromising the core values that Tom Taylor has brought to the titular character.