Review: ‘Nightwing’ #80’s Villain Might Be Heartless But The Series Itself Is Bursting At The Seams With Heart
by Scott Redmond
Every single page of this book is just full to the brim with love. Love for the characters, love for the world they inhabit, and love for the medium itself. Dynamic gorgeous art and character development are a winning combination that never grows old. If this run continues this pace, it will undoubtedly go down as one of the greats.
It’s not unusual for any series or franchise to debut in a way that catches all the attention and garners all the praise, only to maybe lose a bit of that fanfare as it moves on. Not that the series loses something or that the creators missed a step, it’s just often the nature of the market and audiences. Sometimes though there is a series that seems to just keep getting better and better with each subsequent entry. Say hello to DC Comics’ Nightwing series.
It bears repeating with every single review of this run that this book is just tremendously gorgeous and a true delight to just flip through. Bruno Redondo, Adriano Lucas, and Wes Abbott are doing stellar work. Flipping back through just to look at brings attention to even more details than were picked up the first time around. A lot of books are trying to push beyond a lot of typical panel types that are seen in superhero comics, this being one of the ones doing it so well.
Last issue had pages like the one that took a trip through Dick’s entire past (reaffirming what is and isn’t in continuity now following the universal rearranging from Dark Nights: Death Metal last year), and this issue comes out swinging as well. There is a multi-panel double-page spread following Dick and Barbara traveling through the building Dick lives in and through his apartment. Everything from the variety of bright and dark colors to the layout and lettering placement makes the page just work.
Making things like this work takes great collaboration and communication, and it’s clear that this team has that. Editor Jessica Chen shared some behind-the-scenes info on Twitter which showcased this. She stated that Redondo made sure to give “Arf” dog sound placements on the page featured above so that the future lettering would fit organically with the storytelling flow of the pages. There is an immersion factor that stands out with these types of pages, that brings you right into whatever the action of the moment is and that’s the mark of some great comics right there.
When a series is clearly crafted with love for the title character(s) and concept, it radiates in a tangible way off every single page and brings joy to the fans. What makes it even better is when that same love and devotion is shown to any other characters and concepts that orbit the same world as the series main character.
After firmly proving that he has a solid grasp of who and what Dick Grayson/Nightwing is, Tom Taylor took the opportunity to showcase that he gets the relationship between Dick and Barbara (always the best of friends even if they don’t know where they stand romantically) and the relationship between Dick and Tim Drake. Hands down this is the best depiction of Tim since the James Tynion IV led Detective Comic run from a few years ago.
Often a complaint that can be found about books featuring these decades-old characters is that their relationships feel hollow and too new with all the constant continuity shifts and reboots and relaunches. That’s not the case here.
Taylor digs deep and these characters and their world feel truly lived in, and they have a history that we can see and feel. There are mentions to other old stories and concepts, like Dick’s time as a cop in the ’90s series, that are enough to make the world feel lived in while not being too much to throw new readers off.
There are some plotlines that were introduced in the first issue that haven’t fully been touched since that issue, but it honestly doesn’t matter. The deep and fun and loving character moments sell the book and the plots can go ahead and take time to roll out. As long as this level of character work continues, this book will remain at the top of a lot of lists.
Nightwing #80 is now on sale from DC Comics in print and digitally.