When the announcement was made that Tom Taylor and Bruno Redondo were coming over to Nightwing as the creative talent, I was very excited. Going back to 1989’s Batman Year Three, this arc is one of my favorite stories and my introduction to Dick Grayson. That tale had it all for me, with dynamic illustrations by Pat Broderick, flashbacks, and character struggles by Marv Wolfman, all wrapped up in amazing George Perez covers. I feel that is where this primary focus on character comes from, and has been my expectation for Nightwing as a hero and a comic book series. I’m pretty lucky to be a fan in current times as Tom and Bruno deliver those fantastic elements of story, art, and character every month with a hero I love.
This issue will be significant, and I will avoid spoilers as I don’t want to take the joy away from you. Dick Grayson has been a DC Comics hero since 1940, and there isn’t much you can do to him in this modern age that could come as a surprise, but Tom Taylor is going to toss his hat in the ring for that challenge. This new story point has been made before with one of Marvel’s top heroes, and I have to say that I didn’t like how it played in the stories. I felt like Marvel knew this was a wild idea and would be polarizing, so they didn’t commit to the permanence of the change — I hope Tom learns from that and sticks to a firm decision on how to conclude this new element.
In my opinion, this development could be concluded in two ways: as truth or manipulation of Dick Grayson’s goodwill. Both of those have me hooked to return for the potential conclusion, and I am very excited because this can create such a rollercoaster of emotions for Dick Grayson and his inner circle to go on. Within this issue are some great moments from Dick’s inner circle as we see how Barbara and Tim are concerned for Dick after the beating he received from this and last issue. I appreciate Dick’s mannerisms in listening to his friends and taking their advice, but I also love the duality of such angst that Dick must investigate the situation — excellent character play!
Shifting over to the art, every time I think I have Bruno’s art down, I realize I’ve only seen the tip of the iceberg. Please don’t disservice yourself and mistakenly rush through this comic — instead, take your time and appreciate the panels. Let your eyes dance from panel to panel and follow the motions of body movement as a character graces the page. Enjoy the art’s dance partner in Adriano Lucas’ colors, as they add to the body language to tell a deeper story in the panel. Laugh as you look in the background and hidden elements of the scene, especially Barbara’s shirt; take in how Nightwing uses his escrima sticks as versatile tools as he investigates.
If you have gotten your copy of issue #81, you should be good, and if you haven’t, then get to your local comic shop. With this issue’s revelation, I feel this will be soaring on the secondary market due to its impact on Dick Grayson. Issues #78 and #79 have sold out and went to a second printing, and I think this will join their ranks — it might even make issue #80 harder to find to complete the set. So if this comic is on your pull list, you know my joy and if you’re on the fence, well, I hope my words help make you a believer. Issue #82 can’t get here fast enough!
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