Dick Grayson is the heart of the DC Universe once more as a bold new era begins for Blüdhaven’s defender.
Nightwing is not Batman. In fact, he’s better than Batman. He’s more fun, more personable, more empathetic, he’s more connected to the whole of the DC Universe and many would call Dick Grayson the heart of the DCU.
This isn’t a controversial opinion though, as in-universe it’s one that Batman himself fully endorses. Bruce Wayne knows the path he chose is shrouded in darkness and his limitations while being fully aware that each of his young charges and allies has the potential to be far greater than him.
While Nightwing has had a lot of parts to play over the years, his special place within the DC Universe has often become muddled or lost with many treating him as a Batman-lite instead of who he truly is and should be. The heartfelt version of Dick Grayson/Nightwing is one that the series’ new creative team has not only brought back to the table, but has given new life to within the pages of Nightwing #78.
Tom Taylor, Bruno Redondo, Adriano Lucas, and Wes Abbott have crafted a stunningly gorgeous and engaging first issue that brings readers new and old alike up to speed on who and what Dick Grayson is as a person. Past and present beats are used in succession, both dealing with bullying, to cement a through-line in regard to important traits and relationships within Dick’s life that have shaped him over the many years since the loss of his parents and entry into Bruce Wayne’s world.
Every single page flip is just a delight as everything is so detailed, bright, colorful, and gorgeous to behold. Every living being on the pages feels unique and has a life of their own, whether it’s newly formed characters or the far more iconic ones that make appearances throughout the issue. Everything is so fluid that character/dialogue moments slide seamlessly into action scenes and vice versa. These moments are enhanced and even elevated (especially one particularly brutal moment) by the lettering that is both serious and more fun when needed within the world just like everything else.
The title splash page, which has been circulated since the book’s announcement, is truly a sight to behold and should be framed & hung up on the wall just so it can be looked at each day.
They often say to show and not tell when it comes to storytelling, and that is what this team seamlessly accomplishes within the first issue, especially when it comes to setting Gotham and Blüdhaven apart. A caption mentions that Blüdhaven does not have the madness of Gotham and is just cruel, which is punctuated by the fact that all shots of the city even at night are still brighter and more colorful than most depictions of the darker and harsher realms of Gotham City.
While Gotham is dark and madness is seen at all times in the open, Blüdhaven is a place where the corruption and darkness are known, but are not always right at the surface. One of Nightwing’s chief foes of old is used to showcase this point in some brutal but effective panels that not only set up much of the ongoing plot, but are a reminder of how different things are in this city than the one Batman calls home. When used effectively, a giant strength of DC Comics is how totally different each and every one of their fictional cities are from one another.
Nightwing is fully back within the DC Universe with a stunning issue full of delightful action, heartfelt character moments, emotional weight, a fully defined Blüdhaven, and seeds of a great many plots to come. It’s a good time to be a Dick Grayson fan.
Nightwing #78 is now on sale from DC Comics at local comic shops and digitally through ComiXology.