When Tom Taylor and Bruno Redondo signed up to lead the creative ship for Nightwing after over a year of unrelenting frustration from an ongoing amnesia story that was already time to end, fans rejoiced. Much like the new era for DC Comics, this was the beginning of a new frontier for Dick Grayson. Chief editor Jessica Chen helped foster a powerhouse creative team for this with writer Tom Taylor, artists Bruno Redondo. Rick Leonardi, and Neil Edwards, inkers Bruno Redondo, Andy Lanning, and Scott Hanna, colorist Adriano Lucas, letterer Wes Abbott. Nightwing Volume 1, Leaping Into the Light is a refreshing read for long-time and new readers alike.
Throughout the story, Tom Taylor wants to remind fans of two things. The first is that Nightwing is going to be put to the same level as heroes like Batman, Superman, or Wonder Woman. The second message from Taylor is that this series is being built from the creative love of the character and mythos. Despite Taylor having the habit of writing the acrobat’s death in stories such as Injustice and DCeased, he has no plans to do anything like that here. While Taylor might put Dick Grayson through a few trials and tribulations, this is the first time in a while fans can rest easy from any harm coming to the character.
From cover to cover, the art is nothing short of spectacular. Bruno Redondo. Rick Leonardi, Neil Edwards, Andy Lanning, Slott Hanna, and Adriano Lucas ensured that every panel is full of vibrance and life. The main artist Bruno Redondo has risen to all-star status in the comic industry. His attention to detail and ability to bring a vibrant energy to each panel he produces is part of what makes this story so amazing. Adriano Lucas is the right colorist for this series; perfectly blending the shadows and background of the story with the bright and energetic foreground.
The story itself has some familiar elements and faces that make it easy to follow for newcomers and enjoyable for long-time readers. We are soon greeted with Barbara Gordon re-entering Dick’s life both as Oracle helping him through crime-fighting and as one of the most important people in his life. Fans of how DC structured the Bat-Family in the 1990s will be pleased to see Tim Drake’s prevalence in the story. Long-time Nightwing villain Blockbuster is back in a very big way. Similarly, we are greeted by new friends and foes, such as a three-legged dog Dick adopts, the newly elected mayor, and the mysterious villain Heartless.
The overall theme of the story is about helping others in the best possible way. Dick Grayson and Bruce Wayne have sort of flipped in the last year, with the former now the billionaire. The late Alfred Pennyworth left his entire secret fortune to Dick, with the complete faith he will use it wisely. Dick decides to do just that in a very Nightwing way. Nightwing is a character often written as one who thinks with his heart first; however, Tom Taylor reminds fans of the character’s intelligence and versatility. By the end of the book, readers will understand why it’s time for Dick Grayson to save the city along with Nightwing.
The story has many enjoyable moments and a few frustrations. While it’s nice to see how many people care for Dick Grayson, it’s also nice to know he can take care of himself. Although there are many elements in play here to build both the story and the main character, they all blend. Each issue seems to pick up right where the other left off which makes it a very fluid story. Taylor often alternates with story progression and small fan-service moments to keep the pacing moving forward. It’s a strategy that makes for an overall great story.
The hardcover itself is amazing. under the sleeve is one of the most wonderful works of art to be made into a cover. The story is perfectly transferred from single issues into hardcover form, with great concept art at the end of the book.
Overall, Nightwing Volume 1, Leaping Into the Light is a wonderful comprehensive read that aims to elevate the character to new heights while also grounding him in his analytical mind and care for others. The entire team behind the story wants readers to know this is a new-yet-familiar beginning for the character. By the end of the first volume, it is apparent that Taylor, Redondo, Lucas, and everyone involved is creating one of the most memorable tenures for Nightwing through its reception and success.
Writing Rating: 4.5
Artist Rating: 5/5
Overall Rating: 9.5/10