It’s Nighwing and his amazing friends as one of DC Comics’ best titles continues doing what it does best, as the creators pour their entire hearts onto the page every single time. This is a book not just for fans of Nightwing or the rest of the Bat-family, but for those that are fans of the DC Universe and the deep strong character relationships it has long been known for.
There are a great many things that can be said about the current run on Nightwing, a whole ton of very positive things, and one of those things that is very big is that this is a creative team that truly loves not only this character or the Bat-family but the DC Universe as a whole. Even more importantly, they love the relationships that make this universe such a delight to play within.
After the big New 52 reboot in 2011, there were a ton of long-term friendships and relationships built up over decades (and hundreds of issues) that were lost. Some of them were sort of rekindled with 2016’s DC Rebirth initiative, but 2020’s Dark Nights: Death Metal brought everything back and led to a whole new spark of energy being released in the DC realm.
One of the big things hyped about this issue was Dick Grayson’s new costume, which sees the return of features from costumes of the past, but really what stood out the most to me here was the return to emphasizing how deep Nightwing’s connections go as one of the characters that can claim the title of the heart of the universe. Having the old Titans’ history restored and seeing them all rush in to protect their friend brought giant bits of glee to my comic book-loving heart.
Bruno Redondo and Adriano Lucas have made this book gorgeous from day one, and it remains so here. After pulling off a story told through one continuous connecting image in the last issue, they lose no steam here. It would be easy to not go as hard after such a feat, but that’s not this creative team. Just the first image of Nightwing standing upon a roof with foggy Blüdhaven before him, with the colors, dimmed to fit the foggy nature with striking blues and blacks, is breathtaking. I would frame and put that page up on my wall to stare at every day in a heartbeat if it was offered as a print or poster.
Just like the last issue where we got to explore more of Blüdhaven, we see the city given such life and energy through the pages. While Gotham City takes all the spotlight often, Blüdhaven has all its own personality and energy that make it just as interesting because of how the corruption/darkness of the city is showcased in different ways than its cousin city.
Lucas’ use of flashes of colors that represent various characters, such as panels with Oracle taking on a green filter/tint, is also such a fun touch. This is a gloriously colorful comic book, but in a way that feels real and weighted, that just revels in that fact.
AndWorld Design brings that same glorious energy to the lettering, that slows around the panels perfectly. While a lot of the font and bubbles look similar, there is still this bit of magic at play that makes you be able to feel the personality and voice of each character in those words as you read them. The strong seriousness of Starfire and Donna Troy, the joviality of Beast Boy and Flash, the rage of Blockbuster, and so on. Alongside the slew of big fun or powerful SFX that is along for the ride at the right time.
There is even SFX that takes up whole panels, with the art of the panel actually being within the SFX itself, which no lie is one of my favorite things to see on a page. We get it so sparingly in the context of how many comics are on the shelves, which makes it feel like a nice tasty treat when we get ones that are as spectacular as these.
As one can see from the solicitations of upcoming issues, Tom Taylor is very invested in focusing on Dick Grayson’s deep relationships across the DC Universe right alongside the hero’s fight to reclaim and help his city become better. Honestly, I would not be put off at all if we got a whole slew of issues to come that was Nightwing teaming up with various heroes (like the forthcoming ones with Superman and Flash). Because these relationships (and ones we’re seeing showcased more in other books again too) are one of the major things I love about this universe. And Taylor pays them off beautifully.
Another thing to note that I think was done well is the aforementioned new costume. Characters change costumes a lot, and often the change is just a fleeting mention or sometimes not mentioned at all. When a creator finds a way to weave it into the plot, that’s one of the best routes. This is what we get here, as the new costume comes from work done by Oracle and the Titans and Mr. Terrific to protect Dick from the bounties put on his head after his decision to use his inherited billions to help people of Blüdhaven.
Every issue of this series from this team just seems to get better and better, and the love that they put on every single page is clear and brings a smile to my face every time. This is one of those “cannot wait for next month to hurry up and get here” types of books, easily.
Nightwing #88 is now on sale in print and digitally from DC Comics.