Nightwing’s creative team continues to create one of the best books on the stands as they delve even deeper into the title character and the rest of the Batfamily and what makes them so fun and special. Tons of action and character moments all in service of the overall narrative and bringing various story threads closer together with a possible endgame in sight.
Comic books that are jam-packed full of major levels of action, from street-level fights to universal extinction-level battles, are great and can go far but nothing is as good as comics that match that action with major levels of character development/relationships/moments. This is the thing that is clear every single month that Nightwing hits the stands.
We’re well over a year into this new run and it will never stop being amazing to see what Tom Taylor, Bruno Redondo, Adriano Lucas, Wes Abbott, and all of the other artists they’ve invited into the room have created. Just looking at the first handful of pages displays the care and love for the entire Bat-mythos that they are putting out there every month.
What has been fantastic in this run is how much heart is put out there focused on Dick Grayson’s place within the DC Universe, as its metaphorical heart, and reestablishing the deep relationships of the Batfamily while showing snippets of their history that were returned to canon thanks to Dark Nights: Death Metal. In this issue that heart shows itself in a few places, chiefly in the aforementioned first pages. There is a fantastic scene with Grayson as Robin with Batman, Batgirl, and Alfred that further cement their long relationships and gets to the center of Grayson’s desire to save everyone that he can always.
Taylor nails all the voices and continues to make the absence of Alfred mean something as we are reminded of how the man was the overall father/mentor/keeper of the entire family and his death has left a still healing hole in them all. Redondo and Lucas have created gorgeous art together over and over every issue with the present-day scenes, and then they keep doing things like these first pages where they turn up the dial and change their art so that we get something that feels ripped straight out of past comics.
This isn’t the first issue where we’ve gotten them using the Ben-Day dots to flash time backward, and it continues to impress and bring all the perfect energy. There are hints of their art and coloring styles that we see in the modern-day scenes but washing out the colors a bit and the retro costumes and look for Gotham instantly take us all back in time.
Even the caption sort of boxes take on an old-school look, while the modern Grayson narration boxes retain their usual look without seeming out of place. Abbott is a fantastic letterer and does such a great job at making sure all the dialogue has weight to it and exudes all the personality and energy of the characters in question. Making changes to the font to make sure volume and tone are clear is helpful for the reader but also just makes things work better to reach some of that realism.
Any readers of my reviews know that I love me some SFX, especially when it gets varied and super fun, and we have a ton here. Keeping that sort of old-school theme going the SFX through various pages instantly reminds me of the 1966 Batman introduction, and there is even a whole panel in the modern-day section that is nothing but those energetic SFX and it’s great.
All the sentiments about the writing, art, coloring, and lettering said above about the past set pages are the same way that is felt about the modern-day. Seeing the mature versions of the Batfamily and their back-and-forth relationship is heartwarming and powerful, alongside the tense confrontation between Grayson/Blockbuster and then Blockbuster’s latest attempt to destroy Grayson’s world.
Then there is the slick and gorgeous artwork that brings it all to life, giving so many iconic shots, such as Nightwing leaping off a building with the moon in the background (I need this as a poster), and making Blüdhaven feel like a fleshed out lived in place time and time again. Also, the page where Nightwing unmasks the Haven attackers, the use of all that white space, and the spiraling smaller and smaller reveal panels were a nice touch, so different and it stood out a ton.
On the coloring side, I wanted to note that I really enjoy how Lucas does the little thing of lighting scenes with specific colors for some characters. By that, I mean how there are always lots of blues in many of Nightwing’s solo scenes, greens for when Oracle is doing her Oracle thing alone, and pinkish hues in the scenes at the end with Blockbuster and then the return of Heartless.
I could go on for days about this title because it remains one of my top favorites and I can’t wait to see what else this team brings to the table.
Nightwing #92 is now available.