Retroactive: Nightwing 1996 & Daredevil 2009


My Favourite Covers


Okay, so our journey through the past is complete for this week but which covers reign supreme?

For Nightwing, the crown goes to: Nightwing Vol. 2 #3.

There was a triple threat of covers to choose from but this one in particular stood out to me as the best. Here we have Nightwing leaping through the air, his weapons at the ready, an intense look across his face. What opponent is Nightwing squaring off against you ask? Situated behind him, swooping into view is a helicopter, numerous searchlights blazing about as it chases our masked hero. It is a perfect example of man versus machine and a seeming uphill battle for Nightwing. We look at the situation and realize that he’ll have to use more than brute force but rather a combination of athleticism and intelligence if he hopes to evade or even take down his pursuer. Finally, the choice to render the helicopter and the entire background works wonders in letting Nightwing really standout while keeping the spotlight focussed on him in this adrenaline-fueled image.

 For Daredevil, the title goes to: Daredevil #500.

As soon as I saw this cover I knew instantly that this would claim the title of being the very best. Making it to 500 issues is quite an astounding feat and this cover is the perfect celebratory montage, a three page gatefold masterpiece. The images in the central section feature our hero through various phases of his life starting as a young boy, moving to his original yellow suit, and ending with both a shot of him in his current costume and a shot of Matt Murdock in his civilian identity gazing off to the left. What has grabbed his attention? Directly to the left are all the various women who have meant so much to our hero throughout his life including his mother, Dakota North, Milla Donovan, Black Widow, Karen Page, Echo, and Typhoid Mary. Not to be forgotten we have Elektra as well who is depicted in a seminal moment of the entire series when she is impaled by Bullseye with her own sai. Also managing to sneak an appearance on the left are the villainous Mr. Fear and on-again-off-again bad guy Gladiator. The left portion is rich with colours which is in stark contrast to the more monochromatic right side. On the right we have some allies of our hero including Iron Fist and Luke Cage while we also have a rather dramatic shot of Matthew’s father sitting in the corner of the ring, his death acting as a big turning point for the young boy. Rounding out the right are various villains that have plagued Daredevil’s career over the years including Bullseye who make his second appearance on the cover, Lady Bullseye, the Owl, Tombstone, some Hand ninjas, and the Kingpin. Both sides of the cover also possess complimentary backgrounds/objects including a tumultuous thunderstorm behind Typhoid Mary which speaks to her tumultuous inner battle, roses encircling some of Matt’s loves of his life, a graveyard to represent those he has lost over the time of his crusade, a shot of his home – the city of New York, and playing cards dripped in blood – a favourite weapon of his arch-nemesis. The way the artist has orchestrated all the various images to create a whole that is greater than the sum of its parts is nothing short of brilliant. The transitions, the colouring, the dynamic poses, it all equals the perfect way to mark this momentous occasion and dare I say one of the best Daredevil covers of all time.


So that’s it for this week. Agree/Disagree? Which covers are your personal favourites from this week? Comment below!

5 thoughts on “Retroactive: Nightwing 1996 & Daredevil 2009

  1. Great to see Nightwing Vol 2 #1 in this Retroactive, so that gets my vote. This is a very dark and moody image of Nightwing. Fantastic cover to start the series. Wow! Daredevil #500 is a totally awesome cover, what a great celebration of the character!

    • Nightwing #1 leaves you and wwayne in total agreement with me just right behind. As for that Daredevil cover, it would make a rather awesome poster that just demands to be hung on my wall. 🙂

      Thanks for sharing your selections!

  2. I really like Daredevil # 501.
    As you know, there is an unwritten rule that says: “Superhero can’t kill.” Antiheroes like the Punisher can kill hundreds of people in each issue, but a superhero like Daredevil can’t even try to do that.
    That’s why this cover instantly won me over: because the cover artist decided not to give a damn about this rule, and to show Matt while he’s strangling a man. The fact that this man is apparently harmless makes the scene even more shocking.
    The perfect lighting and the wonderful background are 2 other reasons why I give this cover the first prize.
    The other gold medal goes to Nightwing Vol. 2 # 1, because even in this case we have a superhero doing something we would never expect. Behind him there are 3 inconscious men: Dick is holding his sticks very tightly, drawing his chin to his chest and showing a very serious face, so his nervous body language makes us think that he’s the one who hit them until they fainted. Or is he angry with the villain who did that? You must open the book to find it out…
    The second reason why I give this cover the gold medal is the unusual colouring: the sky and the unconscious men have been coloured with a gorgeous tone of purple, and this tone of purple contrasts with the colours of Dick’s costume in a very eye – pleasing way.
    Thirdly, the bats and the black buildings near Dick help building a dark atmosphere I absolutely adore, so I give this cover the gold medal without the shadow of a doubt.

    • “I really like Daredevil # 501.”
      There were so many awesome covers this year that the choice for my runner-up was rather difficult. On one hand we have DD #117, a deal with the devil being made as Daredevil and the Kingpin make an unholy alliance in the graveyard of all places. Then we have DD #119 with the terrific way Lady Bullseye and the Kingpin form the Yin-Yang symbol. Lastly we have your choice for the very reasons you provided. In the end my Rankings would be 2nd: #117, 3rd: #119, and 4th: #501.

      “The other gold medal goes to Nightwing Vol. 2 # 1”
      My runner-up for sure. I went back and froth between this one and my eventual choice countless times. You summed up this terrific cover perfectly, so perfectly in fact that I can’t add anything else.

      Thanks, as always, for sharing your choices and providing your commentary.

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