Review – Nightwing #81: Hunt of the Heartless

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Nightwing #81 Pride cover, via DC Comics.

Nightwing #81 – Tom Taylor, Writer; Bruno Redondo, Artist; Adriano Lucas, Colorist

Ray – 9/10

Ray: The affairs of Bludhaven take some interesting turns this issue, as Dick faces one of the deadliest supervillains to hit the notoriously corrupt city in years. When we last left off, the masked Heartless was threatening the children’s homeless camp that Nightwing had taken an interest in. The battle between hero and villain is great—Taylor and Redondo’s fight choreography does an excellent job of showing us how Dick’s skill matches up against a flashy foe with fewer talents and no scruples. This is one of the most sadistic villains we’ve seen in a while, delivering a gut punch of a twist after letting the kids go and setting up a tense climax as Tim Drake tries to find the good in Bludhaven in time to save a group of kids from a fiery fate. We don’t have any real hints as to Heartless’ identity yet, but he’s creepy and twisted, and is already making it far more personal than Dick’s villains usually do.

City in flames. Via DC Comics.

But the bigger threat may be lurking in the background. A new Mayor has been sworn in—the daughter of Tony Zucco, the man who killed Dick’s parents. As we see in the opening of the issue, she wastes no time getting in bed with the city’s worst crime elements, essentially paying tribute and treating the whole thing like a transaction—smart, since Blockbuster murdered the last Mayor for not playing ball. As soon as Dick finds out her family lineage, he’s on the warpath and wants to track her down—despite having a concussion from his last fight. But when he gets there, the story takes a massively unexpected twist. I’m not sure if this reveal is legit, but if it is it’s a huge change for Nightwing’s status quo. It’s also oddly familiar to a story done in Nightwing’s past, and something going on with Spider-man right now, but what are comics if not finding new and exciting twists on tropes? So far, this run has hooked me with every issue.

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GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.

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