Writer: Tom Taylor
Artist: Bruno Redondo
Color Artist: Adriano Lucas
Letterer: Wes Abbott
Cover Artist: Bruno Redondo
Publisher: DC Comics
Nightwing is a series that has, for quite a while, been in pretty desperate need of a reset. The current series kicked off pretty strongly under writer Tim Seeley, but after his departure with issue 34 the series stumbled through some fill-in arcs before arriving at Batman #55 and Nightwing #50’s abrupt shot-in-the-head-amnesiac status quo for the character. It’s been a long several years’ journey, but thankfully Dick Grayson is finally back in the blue-and-black suit, and, under the direction of a new creative team, next week’s Nightwing #78 is a near-perfect fresh start for the character and series.
Coming off of last year’s excellent Suicide Squad series, the team of Tom Taylor, Bruno Redondo, Adriano Lucas, and Wes Abbott bring a similar sense of fun and energy to Nightwing. After a pitch-perfect flashback that establishes the team’s firm understanding of Dick as a person, the rest of the issue expertly balances high-flying action, incredibly personal character moments, and important seed-planting for future issues. Nightwing #78 feels like a rewarding palate cleanser for long-time readers, finally pushing the character forward in a meaningful way without completely discarding the past that has made him so important to the DCU.
Taylor’s scripting is highly effective, with narration from Dick throughout that perfectly sets the tone for the issue. Taylor immediately captures the mixture of earnest seriousness and lighthearted fun that’s key to the character, with several laugh-out-loud moments coming both from Nightwing and from those with whom he interacts. To say that this issue both made me laugh and made me cry is not hyperbole, as the emotion of the issue’s final extended scene is powerful and conveyed beautifully both in the text and the artwork.
I cannot praise the strength of Redondo and Lucas’s artwork enough. Redondo’s Nightwing moves effortlessly across the page, and he draws an adorable three-legged dog to boot. His page composition is also gorgeous, helping further convey that movement that’s essential to this character. Lucas’s colors present a Nightwing and a Blüdhaven that are seemingly brighter than ever, and the darkness of the city’s underbelly as seen in a few scenes is a spectacular contrast in tone to Dick’s daylight action.
Abbott’s lettering is also effective throughout, guiding the reader’s eye across the page with ease. Of particular note is the final spread of the issue, a two-page encapsulation of the skill of this creative team as a whole that showcases Redondo and Lucas’s art while conveying important information and emotion through the text, presented in a script font that’s not a distraction as script fonts often are.
In a way, Nightwing #78 perfectly captures the spirit of what DC’s doing with Infinite Frontier. It acknowledges that everything that has come before happened, while not being beholden to it and instead pressing forward in an exciting and interesting direction. It’s a fantastic read from a stellar creative team that bodes well for the future of this series. You’re going to want to pick this one up.
Nightwing #78 arrives in stores and digitally on Tuesday, March 16th.