It seems rude, I try not to, but I can’t help it. Usually, when reading a new comic, I find myself stopping to make notes. A word here, a sentence there, just in case I decide to give it a shout-out here.
Not with the new Nightwing. Since writer Tom Taylor, illustrator Bruno Redondo and colour artist Adriano Lucas came on board, that doesn’t happen. There’s such a smoothness to the stories, a flow from panel to panel, carrying me through the book, that notes can wait.
I simply enjoy.
And this latest issue has so much to recommend it. It begins with new mayor of Blüdhaven Melinda Zucco being welcomed by the man who would be the power behind the throne.
Meanwhile, Dick confronts Heartless, the monster who’s been preying on the city’s homeless community.
There’s a threat to the local street kids that calls for Dunkirk spirit.
And strong support for Dick from Barbara Gordon and Tim Drake.
And lots, lots more, including a certain adorable puppy, a new trick from Nightwing’s baton and a second superb fight sequence. Oh, and a rather massive last-page revelation.
Or lie. Let’s leave that one off the table until next time, as Taylor has asked folk not to put it out there.
The level of craft in this series is astonishing. Taylor and Redondo have been working together for years now, at least as far back as 2013 when Redondo was drawing chapters of Taylor’s Injustice: Gods Among Us series. Since then the collaboration has become ever stronger, with their 2019-2020 Suicide Squad showing just what they could do as partners. And now we have Nightwing, a series with the visual style of a Sixties film caper but doing things only comics can. Comics in the hands of experts, that is. The way graphic design is part of the storytelling is delightful, while the script builds on decades of character interaction without demanding audiences have read all the old stuff.
For example, Dick’s near-terminal head wound of a couple of years back is referenced, and we see its lingering effects, but there’s no suggestion we go back and read all the ‘Ric Grayson’ issues. No, it’s simply part of the hero’s history; what Taylor and Redondo are interested in is moving Dick forward – his character, mission and relationships. And I feel privileged to be here to enjoy Nightwing’s new life.
It’s impossible not to notice the contribution Adriano Lucas makes, his colours lighting up the night, and the emotions, on every page. Wes Abbott, meanwhile, lays down the script with a variety of fonts, always appropriate, never attention seeking… it’s a balancing act of which the Flying Graysons would be proud.
Redondo’s cover is blurb free and all the better for it – who could pass by such a striking image?
Nightwing gets better every issue, so I hope the current team stays a long whole. Surely they have plans for a big 100th issue blowout?