Writer Tom Taylor, artist Bruno Redondo, colorist Adriano Lucas, and letterer Wes Abbott are back! After their brilliant work on DC Comics’ Suicide Squad, they’ve set their sights on Dick Grayson. With DC Comics’ Nightwing #78, they kick off a new era for the spandex-clad acrobat. And if this first issue is any sign of what’s ahead, this is going to be a fun ride.
Taylor wastes no time in pulling on your heartstrings. It’s not abnormal to cry while reading a Tom Taylor comic. In fact, that’s a response he often hopes for. But to cry during the first issue of a run? I mean… I’m not saying I cried but… Shut up! You’re crying! *Ahem* Moving on…
Taylor shows us a brief moment in Dick’s past. It’s a memory that seems kind of forgettable. He stands up for someone who’s being bullied at school and, when he gets home, he and Alfred debrief. But Taylor’s understated writing makes this small moment shine. It’s a memory that makes Nightwing who he is. But as the story continues, we see that this run won’t just be about small character moments. Heads are crushed, apartments are invaded, and deadly plans are made. Taylor shows us that this is going to be an eventful series that’s joyfully all over the place. He’s just as comfortable writing action as he is writing heartfelt conversations.
Redondo is equally versatile. There’s so much movement to this comic. In one panel, we see Nightwing jump over some goons he’s beating up. Redondo doesn’t show the jump as several different panels. Instead, he shows each turn and twist in the same panel. This makes Nightwing look lightning fast. But later, when Nightwing is shooting his grappling hook off into the sky, Redondo shows us each tiny beat. We see Nightwing pull it out, aim, shoot, and zoom off. It feels like a laid back moment that adds a little fun to the read. Redondo is a master of time on the page, and he’s constantly switching up the pacing to create a rhythm to the plot.
Lucas does a beautiful job of setting a scene. When we see Nightwing’s memory, each panel looks like it’s in a pale blue haze. It’s the feeling of a bright morning. And even though the scene progresses throughout the day, the memory maintains that feel. When we cut to a modern day Nightwing, Lucas changes the colors. The pinks and yellows of every scene make it feel more like a sunset than a morning. Maybe it’s just a nod to the passage of time, or maybe there’s a dark night ahead for Nightwing. (“Leaping into the Light” would be an ironic title for this first arc, if that’s the case.) Either way, Lucas’s colors are a stunning visual cue of time passing.
Abbott’s lettering is tons of fun. We see the familiarity between Dick and Barbara when they talk. As kids, Barbara has huge gaps between his lines of dialogue where Dick interjects. She seems enthusiastic about talking to him, but worried she’s not giving him room to talk. When they grow up, the gap shrinks. These are now two people who know each other well. They know the pauses that they need to leave for the other to interject. They’re relaxed and at home around each other.
But lots of the fun in this comic comes from Abbott’s sound effects. Every sound has its own unique font. The “CRK” of Dick headbutting someone in the jaw is as thin as the hairline fracture he undoubtedly caused. The click of a gun being cocked is barely noticeable compared to the big “TOK” of Nightwing punching someone in the face. But it’s the action lines around these moments that make them feel fun. They’re part of the scene, involved in the movement of the characters. Abbott makes each sound feel alive.
It’s good to have this creative team back. Nightwing is going to be a fantastic ride and DC Comics’ Nightwing #78 is a brilliant start. Expect lots of heartfelt drama, a healthy dose of laughs, and some incredible action. At least for this first issue, you definitely won’t be disappointed. Pick up Nightwing #78, out from DC Comics March 16th, at a comic shop near you!