I am not going to sugar coat, it has been hard being a Nightwing fan over the last few years. Between the cancellation of the Titans comic, the terrible live-action Titans series and his controversial name change during the previous run, I was left feeling empty and hoping that my favorite member of the Bat family would get his time to shine once again. Luckily, Tom Taylor and Bruno Redondo have taken over creative control of the series and it might be easily the best Nightwing has been since Tim Seeley left the character. Spoilers for the most recent issues of Batman and Nightwing ahead!
The first issue of Tom Taylor’s run on Nightwing begins with a brief look into Dick Grayson’s past, showcasing the relationship he had with Alfred, the notorious butler of Wayne Manor. We see how loving and forgiving Alfred is toward Dick compared to Bruce’s tough-love approach. Thus, when we bounce to the present and learn that Alfred has passed away, it is heart breaking.
Nightwing has dived head-first into crime fighting in Bludhaven, seemingly to distract himself from his grief. Luckily, he is not alone, as anyone close to Alfred likely feels similar. This is most noticeable in how Nightwing interacts with Oracle (Barbara Gordon), as she meets with Dick to give him a letter Alfred wrote specifically to him as a part of his will. These few pages are some of the best I’ve seen in a main DC title in a while. The deep blue and purples used in the background showcase Dick’s grief while contrasting it by covering his face in red to show the happiness he shared with Alfred. The two page-spread gives off this warm feeling. Redondo, along with colorist Adriano Lucas and letterer Wes Abbott, brought so much emotion to Taylor’s writing through their artwork.
That is not to say that the action panels didn’t shine as well. Nightwing is one of the most acrobatic superheroes in DC’s large library of characters, which naturally leads to some of the most artistic fight scenes in comics. This issue is no exception, and while we don’t see him fight any supervillains, Redondo does an excellent job representing Nightwing’s unique fighting style.
The personality Tom Taylor brings to Nightwing shines greatly here as well. Dick is a fun, but tortured character and Taylor’s writing balances both seamlessly. I am excited to see where he and the rest of the creative team take the character throughout their run. I haven’t been this excited to read Nightwing in a while.