Review – Nightwing #82: Before the Beginning

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Nightwing #82 variant cover, via DC Comics.

Nightwing #82 – Tom Taylor, Writer; Bruno Redondo, Rick Leonardi/Andy Lanning, Neil Edwards/Scott Hanna, Artists; Adriano Lucas, Colorist

Ray – 9/10

Ray: Dick Grayson’s history before he became Robin, and the history of the Graysons in particular, seems to be something that every Nightwing writer comes back to sooner or later. But few revelations are as explosive as the one last issue that Mayor Melinda Zucco is actually Dick’s sister. After an amusing prologue, where Dick decides to call off the massive cavalry that he’d called in to rescue him if something went south, we get the rest of the story. Melinda is apparently Dick’s older half sister, from back when John and Mary were partners but weren’t together yet. Melinda’s mother was a Chinese immigrant, brought over as a young woman to be the bride of Tony Zucco. When she escaped the abusive Zucco, she found refuge in John’s tent, and the young circus acrobat fought off the goon and protected her—the start of a bond between them that led to Melinda’s birth.

Family reunion. Via DC Comics.

By the time Melinda was born, Tony had already captured her mother back and developed a deep grudge against the Graysons. This adds a new wrinkle to the story that I’m not sure I like—that Tony Zucco’s murder of the Flying Graysons may have been him completing a personal grudge, not a random act of Gotham violence over money. That’s a personal preference, though, and the flashback segment with guest artists has an excellent retro feel. It’s still hard to know what to make of Melinda. When we met her, she was a puppet figure working for Blockbuster. She still has zero problem with crime, it seems, even as she moves to protect her brother. She’s an enigma, and she’s definitely added some new energy to Bludhaven. This issue is mostly about her, so other players like Barbara and Tim don’t get much to do—and there’s virtually no Bitewing. But this series hasn’t had a miss with this new creative team yet.

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GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.

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