Nightwing’s first arc of the Infinite Frontier era has come to a close and the former boy wonder is in truly great hands as the book has brought Dick Grayson back to the levels he’s meant to be within the DC Universe. Truly a gorgeous, heartfelt, emotional, surprising, and just all-around fun book that retains a serious/sharp edge to it with the threats and real-world issues faced.
A lot has gone down in the first five issues of this new Nightwing run.
Dick Grayson is back as Nightwing, back in Blüdhaven, and back as the heart and soul of the DC Universe as he should be. Blockbuster is back and has a firm grip on Blüdhaven which brings him into conflict with Nightwing. Melinda Zucco is not only the new mayor of Blüdhaven, chosen by Blockbuster after he murdered the last mayor, but actually isn’t a Zucco because she’s the secret half-sister of Dick Grayson. Dick’s relationships with the rest of the Bat family, especially Barbara Gordon/Oracle and Tim Drake/Robin, are on full wonderful display.
Oh, and the late Alfred Pennyworth left money for Dick that has made him a billionaire.
With this concluding issue of the first story arc, a number of those plotlines come crashing together in a way that just expands them more for future issues. It’s more concluding in the sense that it brings things to a nice place before the book jumps over to its three-part ‘Fear State‘ even tie-in arc next month. Overall, the issue continues the previous five issues penchant for hitting all the right much-needed nostalgia/continuity/character beats while opening things up in grand new ways to be explored moving forward.
Tom Taylor truly gets this character, and those connected to him, and the world that he inhabits. Making Dick a surprise billionaire could have been a storyline that opened a lot of issues that spur on constant internet discourse (much like the repeated Batman/money one) but instead, it’s handled in the most heartfelt and 100% accurate Dick Grayson way. There hasn’t been a lot of time to really focus on the loss of Alfred in the Bat-line with so much going on but seeing the respect paid to the character and his legacy and Dick using the money to help others is wonderful.
At the same time the showcasing of Dick’s wealth of relationships across the DC Universe, fitting his status as one of the biggest hearts of the universe, was tremendous. Those pages of him and Superman, the hero that gave him his adulthood superhero name and was a father figure in a way, along with appearances by the Titans and others were superb. Not to mention some really great action beats showing Nightwing’s keen mind and ability to throw his opponents off with his quick mouth.
While Taylor does what he does best here with the character, that’s only one part of what makes this series and issue so good. Bruno Redondo, Adriano Lucas, and Wes Abbott are just truly amazing beyond words with the art of this book. Every single page is gorgeous in its own distinct way and just flows so beautifully.
There is a ton of depth and care given to each and every panel and character (love the large number of close-up shots), the emotions are wonderfully showcased and the characters are all distinct and feel real. There is an image of Batman near the end where just the small touch of having him have a bit of a 5’ o’clock shadow around the cowl speaks volumes about how busy Batman is and what stresses he’s facing in his own book without having to lay it out. Yet he still finds time to call his son and tell him how proud he is of what he’s done.
Another really neat thing is the bright and bold colors that Lucas brings to the book. Not only are they deep and enhance the images a ton, but they also provide an interesting comparison to Gotham. While Gotham is a city that is known as being dark down to its core, therefore much of the art and colors also embody that in books, Blüdhaven is a city that is just as or maybe even darker at its core but on the surface seems bright and peaceful and better. It might be that Lucas’ style just is this way and it works with this book, but sometimes one can find deeper meaning in even choices that seem simple on the surface.
This issue falls nicely into the half action and half talking, and Redondo and Lucas bring both to life perfectly. Those aforementioned Superman and Nightwing panels are not just heartfelt because of the dialogue between them, but the wholesome quality of their encounter and how things get even brighter just because of who they are and where they are (Metropolis).
Also doing both superbly is Abbott, who nails making all the dialogue flow and fit within the panels in the best ways to really showcase the artwork but also handles SFX great. There are many schools of thought when it comes to SFX in comics, and none are really right or wrong because it all depends on the book. Abbott does them spectacularly by going for the big bold ones in the action scenes and then hewing closer to use them when really needed in the quieter scenes (like a phone ring or such). They are also just really colorful and fun in their design which always makes things even better.
All together this is the perfect capper to a truly tremendous first arc for this new creative team.
Nightwing #83 is on sale now in print and digitally from DC Comics.