With just two issues under its belt, this creative team continues to not only build a new solid foundation for Nightwing and Blüdhaven, but plants many promising seeds for the future. The true challenge of a city like Blüdhaven is laid bare through the writing and in the moody and colorful presentation that the art team puts their whole heart into. It very well could be Nightwing at the finest that he’s ever been.
A back-to-basics or returning to a previous status quo is very much something that is weaved into the fabric of superhero comics of Marvel and DC especially. Every so often they flip a switch and creators will return characters to some semblance of their most known state to clear the board. Often it’s debated whether this is needed and if this is actually more harmful than beneficial to characters, as it can play into the frozen in amber situation that can sometimes plague these long-running books. Sometimes though it’s a very necessary move, and Nightwing is proving that at the moment.
Dick Grayson has been a number of things and been a number of places since the 2011 New 52 reboot wiped out a lot that came before. DC’s Rebirth in 2016 had begun to bring back some familiar things, but a gunshot to the head induced amnesia that took all that away the last few years. Now he’s back, the iconic costume is back, the familiar corrupt characters and broken system of Blüdhaven are back and it works.
Despite killing him repeatedly in various alternate universe versions of DC, Tom Taylor has proven that he has a firm grasp on just who and what Dick Grayson/Nightwing is, and after hitting the ground running in the last issue, he keeps moving forward rapidly with this one. Taylor never forgets that Dick is the heart of the DC Universe and right now he’s more than wearing his heart on his sleeve as he tries to find a way to help the city through the billions left to him by Alfred Pennyworth. Helping feed and take care of the homeless and others who Blüdhaven has allowed to fall through the cracks is a very Grayson sort of thing to do.
There was the one small groan-worthy moment where the familiar internet-centered “Batman could do more for Gotham as Bruce Wayne” never-ending argument made a quick appearance. This was immediately made up for by a gag about the Bat-family’s use of group chat and how quickly the young siblings of this family were able to tease and poke their eldest brother.
All of that aside, this series is just gorgeous to look at. Bruno Redondo, Adriano Lucas, and Wes Abbott are doing some of the best work around hands down. Every single image or panel is full of glorious depth and detail as the world of Blüdhaven comes to life. The added colors are bright and hopeful when needed or darker and more menacing just a panel or two later. Yet, it all flows together almost like a perfect acrobatic routine that sets exactly the right mood. Lettering SFX is incorporated into being a panel of its own with the action right in the middle in a few cases which adds a whole other level to everything.
Not only is all the work detailed and gorgeous, but overall it’s hopeful and fun just like things should be in a Nightwing book. Even with an apparently heart-stealing villain arriving and tragedy striking in the book, things feel a lot more Dick Grayson than they have in a long time. Not to disparage other creators, they had their stories to tell and many were good themselves, but Nightwing is now fully back and it is great to see.
All that being said, while this creative team is turning back the clocks in some ways to bring back the fun and heart that Nightwing should have, they are also doing their own thing and moving him and the world forward. How far they plan to take that and where it will go should prove to be interesting.
Nightwing #79 is now on sale from DC Comics in print and digitally.