Dick gets a dog – and she’s adorable!
Oh, you want more? Well, you don’t have to be a boy acrobat to find this first Infinite Frontier issue of Nightwing a wonderful jumping-on point.
The story opens with a flashback to our hero’s first meeting with future Batgirl and Oracle Barbara Gordon, after they’ve both stood up to bullies. Commissioner Gordon gives Dick a lift home.
Dick doesn’t have a fairy godmother, but he does have Alfred.
In the present day, we find Dick still standing up to bullies, although he’s very much in costume as Blüdhaven’s blue blade, Nightwing.
And that’s how he meets the cute wee dog, a stray he takes to the vet, and on to his apartment. He doesn’t plan to give her a home, but a visiting Babs has other ideas.
Every page of this issue is a joy as writer Tom Taylor and artist Bruno Redondo, fresh off their brilliant Suicide Squad run, invigorate Dick Grayson’s life. As well as the pooch we have Babs – set to be a regular in the title – plus new opportunities for doing good, a returning bad guy and a brand new mayor.
This is the old mayor.
I like the look of this guy, he’s like a hipster Hugo Strange, but his question proves to be an unplanned resignation speech. As for his replacement, it’s someone with an intriguing connection to Dick. And they seem to know his secret identity. Mind, it’s not like our hero tries hard to protect it, chatting to Babs on his balcony in costume, sans mask.
The tender relationships between Dick and Babs, and Dick and Alfred, are etched in every line of Redondo’s slick figurework, complementing the warmth of Taylor’s words. The script throughout is excellent, pithy and witty, a wonderful primer on Dick Grayson and his world. Redondo’s visualisation of Blüdhaven is joyous, his cityscape lit by the neon colour choices of Adriano Lucas – well, the place can’t be all grimy dockyards. Illustrator and colourist were also partnered on Suicide Squad and I’m thrilled they’re still together; Redondo’s innovative, excellent storytelling lit by Lucas’s sublime colour work makes for pages that glow with greatness. The action scenes are especially fine – just look at the gracefulness in that panel above, the Nightwing after-images, pointedly toned by Lucas, showing our hero’s progress.
The quietly attractive lettering of Wes Abbott adds to the visual appeal, nestling beautifully amidst the artwork. A shout-out, too, to DC designer Darran Robinson for the sharp new logo, it’s deceptively straightforward, a nice reflection of Dick’s personality. As for Redondo’s cover concept and full-colour execution, it’s an instant classic.
That overused phrase covers the whole issue, a creators’ masterclass in declaring a new era while respecting what’s come previously. The only thing missing is editors Ben Meares and Jessica Chen declaring a contest to Name That Dog (well, bitch, technically)!
So, what do you reckon? In tribute to Dick’s biggest non-romantic gal pal, how about Dogga Troy? Or if she’s not housetrained, echo another Teen Titan with Pee-dy?
But seriously, folks, I’d love to see a tribute to the person who made Dick the man he is. Name That Dog Alfreda – Alfie for short!