I was anxious. While I was excited and looking forward to Nightwing #78 which debuted March 16, I was trepidatious. I’ve been burned before. Dick Grayson is probably my favorite comic book character ever, but it’s been a long time since I’ve seen him characterized right.
But the new creative team of writer Tom Taylor and artist Bruno Redondo hit the ground running with a book that feels new while looking backwards towards Dick’s past and still simultaneously grounding him in a hopeful present for what looks to be a great future.
Taylor hits all the boxes effortlessly, we get character development and some new history that feel like Dick. The last time I’d enjoyed him this much was as an agent of Spyral in Grayson.
That’s no easy feat. But he feels like the same character Marv Wolfman wrote in New Teen Titans, ironic since the issue where he became Nightwing hit the stands almost 37 years ago to the day, in Wolfman’s legendary “The Judas Contract” story in Tales of the Teen Titans #44 back in 1984.
Taylor gets everyone right in this: Dick, Barbara Gordon, even Alfred whose posthumous correspondence is the trigger that gets the tears flowing.
There’s a lot to the issue and I don’t want to give away any spoilers except to say that Alfred has always believed in Dick Grayson.
I’m not sure where things with Barbara are going and will always lament that the Dick Grayson in the comics gets further and further away from his relationship with Koriand’r/Starfire, while the live action Titans series is just beginning to depict their romance.
Bleeding Cool’s Hannibal Tabu says of the issue: “This is some of the best Dick Grayson characterization in years, with all of the derring-do of the Agent of SPYRAL era and all of the simple charm that created a legion of fans only partially looking at his butt. There are two fantastic sequences with the aforementioned old friend in two time periods that are again some of the best interactions between them. Tom Taylor remains the king of characterization as his dialogue sparkles in virtually every panel. The visuals from Bruno Redondo, Adriano Lucas, and Wes Abbott — Taylor’s partners in crime for the pre-Future State Suicide Squad— are in turns breathtaking and tugging on your heartstrings. The title sequence alone is a poster-worthy of booth displays (back when we had conventions) and bedroom walls with its spectacle and clarity. The new take on Blockbuster clearly owes a LOT to Krondon’s portrayal of Tobias Whale, with less of a sense of humor and all of the sense of menace, adding in a nice hook towards Nightwing’s past.”
By Tom Taylor, Bruno Redondo
Nightwing is back — and his drive to keep Bludhaven safe has never been stronger! But his adopted city has elected a new mayor with the last name Zucco. When Nightwing enlists Batgirl’s help in investigating the politician bearing the same name as the man who murdered his parents, she unearths details that will shock and fundamentally change the hero. The New York Times bestselling team of writer Tom Taylor (DCeased, Injustice) and artist Bruno Redondo (Injustice, Suicide Squad) are about to take Nightwing to the next stage of his evolution as a hero!
(Above: the June gay pride variant of Nightwing #81)
Last year, on the 80th anniversary of Dick Grayson’s debut in Detective Comics #38 in 1940, Nerdist called Nightwing “DC’s greatest hero.”
Now we finally get to see it. I’m excited for the future.