Nightwing #79 review

How to spend billions. It’s a problem we’ve all had to contend with at some point in life, and today it’s Dick Grayson’s turn. He’s been left the savings of Alfred Pennyworth, manservant and, it turns out, man of means. Dick knew his other father, Bruce Wayne, was loaded, but that Thomas Wayne had left Alfred a lot of cash to help raise Bruce, and that frugal Alfred had invested it very shrewdly, came as a surprise.

So what do you do with a lot of lolly in a backwater like Bludhaven?

Feed people in need. Dick also books a hotel room for a man named Martin, whose request for loose change prompted the ad hoc dinner party, and his young son.

Realising that despite his kindness, someone has lifted his wallet, Dick suits up, and eyes an unexpectedly outdoor business meeting.

New series writer Tom Taylor and artist Bruno Redondo make Bludhaven one of the more attractive cities in the DC Universe. Which is bizarre, as it’s renowned as a magnet for scumbags. But it’s also a place where good people try to get by, a place that needs a hero, and that’s where Dick comes in. He’s lived there, off and on, for years, but after his recent memory loss is looking at the city with fresh eyes. He’s figuring out his place in the process of making Bludhaven a better place. This issue, as well as that pizza stand with rather familiar owners, we see a monument to the city’s past as a fishing port, and it is wondrous.

I don’t doubt Barbara Gordon will have her own comic book again before long, but for now I’m good with her being Dick’s co-star. The chemistry between Babs and Dick is off the scale, and in the wee dog Dick has adopted, they even have a kid to fuss over together… I bet Dick’s sewing her a cape even now.

As well as longtime Bat-gangster Boss Maroni, ‘Leaping into the Light Part 2’ features a mystery villain, armed with the world’s most terrifying potato gun. We don’t get a good look at them, but when they do step into the light next issue, you can bet they’ll be striking.

Because Bruno Redondo is a master craftsman and stylist. Just look at that clever, self-coloured cover. Marvel at this opening page.

Dick literally diving through his past, in a series of frames reflecting that notion of a safety net; the idea is carried through to the following spread, showing more of Dick’s life, in a perfect piece of graphic storytelling. The layouts are attention grabbing, but are never showy for showy’s sake, they always serve the story. Likewise, if a more traditional layout is called for, Redondo nails it. And while young Master Grayson is as dashing as ever, Babs has never looked better. Seriously.

Then there’s the way clothing details tells us about the street people, and the minor mystery of why kids seem to keep their mouths covered by scarves – should Dick be funding a free dental clinic?

While the overall look of the pages is pretty naturalistic, Redondo isn’t shy of using classic bits of comic book business, such as a Ben-Day dots-style pattern or Looney Tunes lightbulb. And they look brilliant.

Adriano Lucas adds an extra layer of glamour with notes of neon, while letterer Wes Abbott’s understated approach is equally perfect for the story.

Slick, smooth but full of heart, that’s Nightwing by Tom Taylor, Bruno Redondo and friends. And if someone did leave me a billion quid, I might spend it on keeping them at DC Comics forever.

5 thoughts on “Nightwing #79 review

  1. So far, this book and the Flash have me back into the monthly DCU reading habit! If the new Robin title is as fun as it looks, I may be on for that one, too. And you’ve made the new Wonder Woman sound pretty great, too….

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  2. This is what Nightwing should be: Helpful, hopeful, and willing to do whatever is needed to protect. I kinda want a Supergirl guest issue just to see if Taylor can reach Bendis levels on her character since I won’t be reading King’s Supergirl series. I’ve been burned by King so many times I can’t.

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  3. Hey, I’m chiming in late this week. It seems the fewer books DC publishes, the slower I read them, which is the opposite of what you’d expect.

    I was sorry the Taylor / Redondo Suicide Squad was cut short, but I am a big fan of their work together. Redondo tried out a number of drawing styles on Suicide Squad, and I liked all of them. He’s always experimenting with different looks – and you are right, this is one good-looking Barbara. I hope we continue to see HER face and not Oracle Green Computer Face.

    But I do think Taylor is using her as a narrative device – it’s much more natural for Nightwing to be talking to someone in his earpiece, than to be narrating the story to himself for no reason, which is what we see too often. Or even worse, reading some omniscient narrator, which at its worst turns a comic book into an illustrated novel.

    Another technique I’ve seen Taylor use is a voiceover that turns out in the end to be someone telling a story. Sometimes the identity and setting of the narrator turns out to be a delightful surprise.

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    1. Late is fine, not everyone is nutty enough to read these things with their breakfast. I fully expected the Taylor/Redondo Suicide Squad run to transition into a Revolutionaries series. Hopefully we’ll see those characters before long.

      Thanks for the rather fascinating insights into Taylor’s storytelling style – I love this kind of thing!

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