Spoilers ahead for Nightwing #95
One of Nightwing’s greatest foes, Blockbuster, just achieved a whole new level of monstrous. Not only is the crime-lord up to his usual villainous and anti-Dick Grayson schemes, the art in the latest issue of Nightwing shows Roland Desmond’s true and terrible nature. With one terrifying grin, Blockbuster proves himself to be a terrifying monster on the outside just as he is on the inside.
Nightwing has been battling the crime-lord Blockbuster for as long as Dick Grayson as been based in Blüdhaven—which, at this point, as been for much of the last 30 years. In more recent history, Blockbuster has been one of two central villains in the current Nightwing run. The unnaturally hulking and genius-level villain has been focused on maintaining control of his city by any means possible, including by manipulating the mayor—currently Nightwing’s secret sister, Melinda Zucco—and corrupting the police force. Blockbuster has also been at war with Dick Grayson in his civilian identity as Dick works to make the city a kinder, safer place by using the billions left to him by the late Alfred Pennyworth.
One of Dick’s central projects as been Haven, a community center focused on aiding unhoused children and their families. In Nightwing #95 by Tom Taylor, Bruno Redondo, Adriano Lucas, and Wes Abbott, Blockbuster tries to burn Haven to the ground in a desperate attempt to retaliate against Nightwing and Oracle. Blockbuster has the upper hand and lures Nightwing to a confrontation by kidnapping two of the children Dick has befriended. In a terrifying series of panels, the looming Blockbuster is show gripping the children’s heads like grapes. Though he lets them go, the art zooms into a close-up of his face, showing beady eyes, a sickening grin, and all lit with yellow and orange tones.
Blockbuster has always been a major threat—both in the past and in the current Nightwing run—but this series of two panels shows a monster on the surface as well as in his heart. Bruno Redondo’s art for the title has been consistently praised, and his prowess is on full display in this small (but climactic) moment. Blockbuster’s giant, yellowed smile sparks real terror, and there’s no questioning whether or not this man—or demon, really—will crush the skulls of children. Lit by fire, Blockbuster truly looks like something from hell. He looks just as much the monster as his actions always show him to be.
Blockbuster’s monstrous nature is out in the open for all to see, which also serves as a neat foil to this issue’s cliffhanger: Blockbuster himself knocks Nightwing’s mask off. So just as Blockbuster is shown to be something close to a demon, Nightwing is revealed to be Dick Grayson. Blockbuster’s two foes are united into one do-gooder. What Desmond will do with this new information is yet to be seen, but it doesn’t bode well for Dick Grayson. Nightwing and his readers have always know Blockbuster to be one of Dick’s greatest foes, and the art in this issue truly displays just how terrifying he can be.
Check out Nightwing #95, available now from DC Comics!