“The Crew Of The Crossed” – Part One, and “Breakfast For Dinner” – Part One
Writers: Tom Taylor and Michael W. Conrad
Artists: Stephen Byrne and Serg Acuña
Color Artist: Adriano Lucas
Letterer: Wes Abbott
Review by Steve J. Ray
Nightwing #106 is a great jumping-on point for new readers as it starts two brand-new stories. Although it has to be said, if you haven’t been reading this series for years, or at the very least from issue #78, then you’ve really been missing out.
Let me get you up to speed.
Dick Grayson is one of the world’s greatest superheroes, even though he possesses no metahuman abilities. He ranks amongst the world’s greatest detectives, acrobats, and martial artists. He was also the original Robin and is now also the leader of the Titans, Earth’s premier super team.
Just over a year ago, he was shot in the head by the mercenary known as the KGBeast. Thankfully, he survived, which begs the question… why? The KGBeast was not a man who was known to miss. The truth was the shot was skillfully made to cause amnesia, at the behest of the Court of Owls; a clandestine organization that ran an army of undead assassins known as Talons. Dick’s great-great-grandfather was one of them, and Dick was being groomed to be the greatest, or foulest, of them all.
Instead of perishing, Dick’s memory was wiped, and his life as a hero was erased. He tried to live an ordinary life and he briefly went by the name Ric, as this new persona found the name Dick both derogatory and old-fashioned. Thankfully, Mr. Grayson is a hero through and through. Even though he’d forgotten Batman and the Titans, his core told him to protect people and his physical memory remained; he could fight, leap, and defend, despite not remembering how, or why. He led a team of former cops, fell in love with a bar owner named Bea, defeated a number of old foes, including the Talon and the Court of Owls, and eventually regained his memories.
His knowledge and past had been returned and with them his feelings for Barbara Gordon. So, Dick stepped back into his original life, leaving Bea and Ric Grayson behind him, or so he believed… until now and Nightwing #106.
Tom Taylor is one of those awesome writers who can honor everything that came before, no matter how well or poorly received, and make something great with it. Plus no one, and I mean NO ONE, can also put his own fresh stamp on a character without erasing their past as well as Tom does. Taylor has successfully given Dick a new purpose, a new pet (Haley, the adorable three-legged pup, named after the circus where Dick spent his childhood), and a brand new nemesis named Heartless; a villain with strong ties to Nightwing’s entire life that Dick has no knowledge of. Terrifyingly, he also knows that Dick Grayson and Nightwing are one and the same.
With this issue, we’re seeing loose threads from Taylor’s own run being pulled together, and they’re linked to Ric Grayson’s past. We’re seeing old friends being brought back into the fold and hidden secrets from the past being brought to the present. This series is one that continues to evolve and innovate while still delivering the classic, iconic thrills that make comics the unparalleled form of entertainment that they are.
Adriano Lucas and Wes Abbott are the glue that holds this incredible title together. Their colors and letters add a level of warmth, texture, and familiarity that’s rich and well-needed. Nightwing #106 features another (brilliant) guest artist, Stephen Byrne. The art in this book is absolutely terrific, and Byrne’s depiction of Nightwing only stands out in the “wrong” way in just one panel, with his depiction of Jim and Juan. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, Google search:
All will become (hilariously) clear.
The backup tale in Nightwing #106, “Breakfast For Dinner”, part one, is written by the wonderful Michael W. Conrad and drawn by the great Serg Acuña. Once again, Lucas and Abbott weave their magic here, too. We get beautiful big brother/kid sister moments (Batgirl) Cain, and Stephanie (Batgirl) Brown, a hilariously inept yet still unnerving villain, and the introduction of (yet another) potentially deadly threat coming to Nightwing’s already far from sedentary life.
Acuña’s art is full of character and he’s a wonderful storyteller. His style fits this lovely little tale perfectly. As for Michael W. Conrad? What can I say? I’m a big fan. His work for DC over the last few years, mostly with Becky Cloonan, has been nothing short of exceptional. The Batgirls series was fantastic from start to finish, and Wonder Woman #770-#800 delivered a run that ranks amongst my all-time favorites for the character. Conrad clearly knows Dick Grayson, Cass Cain, and Steph Brown; this opening chapter proves it, so I can’t wait for the rest.
I mentioned at the top of this review that if you haven’t been reading this title, at least for the last two years, then you’ve seriously been missing out. Buy this comic, then pick up the Nightwing collections: “Leaping Into The Light“, “Fear State“, “Get Grayson“, and “The Battle For Blüdhaven’s Heart“. Trust me, you’ll thank me later.
People who may not know what a record is, or even have heard one play, will still have probably heard the term “sound like a broken record”. When it comes to reviewing this series, I probably do… and I don’t care. Nightwing is one of the best comics being made today. The creative talent it attracts, the stories it tells, and the artwork it showcases are amongst the best you’ll see anywhere.
Images Courtesy of DC Entertainment