Nightwing is finally good again. For months after the announcement Tom Taylor and Bruno Redondo would be taking over the title, fans have been chomping at the bits to find out more information about their first issue. Now, two previews later, and Nightwing 78 is available in stores and it’s amazing. The title “Leaping into the Light” is a worthy title for one of the most energetic, life-filled, and proper writing Nightwing has had in a decade.
The premise of this fresh start for DC’s Infinite Frontier era is that anyone can pick up this issue and be well off. The familiar for old fans is just as you’d expect it, things are exciting and ominous for newcomers, and for fans of all lengths, this is the perfect issue. The night before the issue’s release, Tom Taylor excited fans even more so. After so very nicely replying to my question as to what to expect in his run on the character, Taylor said “[Dick Grayson’s] one of the world’s greatest detectives and one of the best fighters in the DC universe. That shouldn’t be ignored just because he’s humble and a little self-deprecating.”
For Nightwing fans everywhere, this was news worth more than gold. It seems that the run will be reminding many fans what makes Nightwing so important to the DC Universe while also bringing him to a new level.
That being said, the issue itself opens with a young Dick Grayson beating up some school bullies (with the help of Barbara Gordon and her father). The importance of this isn’t lost on anyone as Dick narrates, reminding readers about his dislike for bullies. When fans were told a main factor of this story would be Dick Grayson’s heart, some raised an eyebrow. Too often has Dick been shown recently as act first-think later, but that’s far from the case here. In the words of the late Alfred Pennyworth to a young Dick Grayson, “Master Bruce may feel you should only be a hero when wearing a costume. But I’m glad Dick Grayson steps up when someone is in need. It takes a different hero to help without a mask.” And just like that, the blueprint behind the plans for Taylor’s Nightwing run has become clear. This will be a run on the character that showcases Dick’s innate will to do good, his ability to be a driving force of nature, and his intelligence.
As the story progresses, we see the familiar preview pages of Nightwing saving a three-legged puppy from some low-level criminals. It’s a very meta moment that shows all of Nightwing’s abilities at once. His acrobatic skill, hand-to-hand combat, and short temper are all on display here. Meanwhile, Blockbuster has been working in the shadows while Dick was away. This Blockbuster is different from the Rebirth version. By all accounts, he’s become as powerful in Blüdhaven as Wilson Fisk has in New York. The parallels aren’t lost through his three-piece suit, secret meetings with those in power he controls, and crushing of faces in his huge hands.
Meanwhile, Dick has received some huge news. Barbara Gordon, the executor of Alfred Pennyworth’s will, has come to deliver the reading to Dick. While Alfred was doing the dishes, stitching wounds, and being the linchpin of the Bat-Family, he was also secretly rich. And although Bruce Wayne isn’t a billionaire anymore, Dick Grayson is now. It seems Alfred left Dick just about every penny he had. Why? Well, that answer can only be found in the most heartwarming letter I dare not spoil here. As the issue closes, things seem to be looking up for Dick Grayson. So it’s just about time to introduce the other villain who’s got her sights on Dick Grayson (not Nightwing): Melinda Zucco, daughter of Tony Zucco (who killed Dick’s parents for those who might not remember).
Everything about this issue is a dream come true. Tom Taylor’s track record with writing heroes speaks for itself. Everything he touches turns to gold. His comprehension of what fans value about the character, what editorial wants to be executed, and what makes Nightwing so important all come together in his vision for the character. Along with him is Bruno Redondo, one of the best artists in the industry. His ability to bring a story to life is constantly getting better. His vivid art style, defined facial expressions, and ability to have the story flow are what make him so great. What makes this all so much more wonderful is the coloring from Adriano Lucas and Wes Abbott’s lettering. Together, this entire creative team released the most anticipated comic in months and didn’t just deliver but exceeded expectations.
Writing review: 5/5
Art review: 5/5
Overall Review: 10/10