In this week’s main post, I lamented not being able to find a print copy of Tom Taylor, Bruno Redondo, Adriano Lucas, and Wes Abbott’s Nightwing 78. Well, that book’s second printing hit comic shop shelves this week – and it was worth waiting for.
A Gorgeous Cover and Interiors
First things first: The second printing cover is gorgeous and immediately iconic. If DC doesn’t give Nightwing fans (like myself) the option to buy this cover as a poster, they’re leaving money on the table.
Getting to ogle a physical copy of that cover is one reason I held out for purchasing Nightwing 78 in print, rather than digitally. The other reason is that I knew I wanted to experience this double-page spread, which was part of the book’s advance preview, at its intended size, and not on my 10″ Chromebook screen:
That spread immediately communicates the book’s tone and scope, and I think viewing it at a smaller size would not have done it justice. Props to not only Bruno Redondo, but also colorist Adriano Lucas and letterer Wes Abbott, who nail the neon sunset feel we’re supposed to pick up from Nightwing’s leap into Blüdhaven.
A Perfect Handle on Dick Grayson
I require two things from my Nightwing comics. Those things are: acrobatic afterimage effects, and Nightwing cracking jokes.
So you can imagine my delight when I reached the page above, and Nightwing not only did flips ‘n shit, and not only cracked jokes as he did so, but did so in an unexpectedly clever way that referenced what a mess Nightwing has been for the last two years (R.I.P. Ric Grayson). That one page sold me on this creative team’s ability to tell fantastic Dick Grayson stories, and the rest of the comic only cemented my opinion. Taylor and Redondo both seem to understand exactly what fans want out of a Nightwing book: acrobatic adventures with heart.
Too Many Rehashes?
My one complaint with this issue is that, though DC’s Infinite Frontier initiative is supposed to set characters in new directions, this Nightwing comic seems like it could have released in the early 2000s. By which I mean, a lot of your Chuck Dixon and Scott McDaniel Nightwing faves are back here. Blockbuster is back as Blüdhaven’s big boss, when I thought Nightwing had dealt with him ages ago. Barbara Gordon is back in a supporting role (though I’m not going to complain about that too much, because I love Babs and am a strident Dick-Babs shipper). Even some of the book’s new characters, like Melinda Not-Gonna-Spoil-Her-Last-Name-Here, feel like rehashes of prior (though not Dixon/McDaniel run) characters.
However, there is likely a reason the Nightwing team has chosen to tread some familiar ground. As referenced above, Nightwing has been … not exactly the book fans have wanted for the past couple years. Showing Blockbuster manhandling a dude and Oracle teasing Nightwing is comfort food for Dick Grayson fans. And after the Ric Grayson debacle, we sure could use that comfort food.
(I had to post a snippet of this page, because just look at the mayor’s eyes in that third panel. In addition to nailing action, Redondo does great character acting.)
If Taylor, Redondo, and co.’s Nightwing relies too heavily on retreading familiar ground, it may eventually lose me. But I have hope that events that take place near the end of this issue will set an unfamiliar story in motion. In the meantime, Nightwing is joyful, action-packed, and pretty as heck. I’m not surprised this issue sold out, and I’m glad I was finally able to track down a copy.
P.S. I also picked up a copy of Robin 1, and both my boys are doing well for themselves. My question now is: crossover when?