Isn’t that a delightfully playful cover? Nightwing’s quick change is a refreshing switch from the admittedly wonderful dramas that usually play out on the front of this series. And the single line of dialogue is certainly a grabber so far as getting me to open this issue quickly is concerned. What is Dick going to do?
Before we find out, there’s an assurance from Dick’s newly discovered half-sister, and city mayor, Melinda Zucco…
… a reunion with old enemy Blockbuster…
… and old friend Superman…
… and a kiss.
Oh, I didn’t show you the kiss? I didn’t show a lot of this issue, because you need to buy it. Give DC your money so this Dick-defining run can continue. Better yet, give DC the cash so you can enjoy what’s probably the most assured, entertaining superhero comic around today (I don’t read ‘em all, so other nominations welcome!).
Like Dick as he provides an astonishing display against Blockbuster’s goons, writer Tom Taylor and artist Bruno Redondo are perfectly balanced as they start a new chapter for our hero. Basically, his plan is philanthropy to help the people of beleaguered Blüdhaven, and while familiarity with comic books means I can’t see his good intentions playing out successfully, I wouldn’t put it past writer and artist to surprise me. I would love to see one DC city become a much happier place.
Just so long as Dick continues to be that daring young man on and off the flying trapeze. And thumps Blockbuster. Lots.
Speaking of bad guys, super-creepy serial killer Heartbreaker still stalks the streets, and there’s an intriguing development on that front.
But I prefer the good guys and the scene with Nightwing and Clark is an instant classic, speaking to their long history as comic book characters, crashing continuities be damned. Dick even shows Superman’s influence with a classic shirt reveal.
OK, it’s not a rip, but Dick is giving his newfound wealth away, he can’t be throwing away good shirts for a cool moment.
Other great things about this issue: appropriate medical footwear; the lunacy of asking Lucius Fox for financial advice; a tearjerking photo; a background reaction shot.
Taylor’s dialogue remains top notch, and the pacing of the ongoing arc is just right, with satisfying quiet scenes alternating with soaring action moments whose success is as much about characterisation as showy displays of skill and strength. Redondo’s elegant art allows Dick to fly without wings and reveals the thoughts of players without the need for thought balloons (of which I am, admittedly, a big fan).
The colour work of Adriano Lucas is perfect for what Taylor and Redondo are doing, with the city lit for day and night by well-chosen and applied shades. Just look at the chiaroscuro here, for example.
And Wes Abbott’s lettering is beyond reproach.
The closest I came to finding fault with this issue was the placement of credits on the final panel. I can’t give details without spoiling a creepy image, but creator names and job titles are tough to read as placed on the image – this glitch will vanish when they’re lifted off for the collection, but cropping that last panel halfway across and boxing names and roles would have been fine. Or better yet, have the credits on page one or two – the only reason to save credits and story title to the final page is if said title is, say, dependent on a reveal, a la ‘The night Gwen Stacy died’.
If you’re not reading Nightwing, you’re missing out big time – it’s superhero comic book storytelling at its best.