One thing that has been clear in this Nightwing run is how much the creative team loves the character and his world. Not just Dick Grayson and the Bat Family, but the DC Universe as a whole. Even more importantly, they love the relationships that make this universe such a delight to play within.
After the big New 52 reboot in 2011, there were a ton of long-term friendships and relationships built up over decades (and hundreds of issues) that were lost. Some of them were sort of rekindled with 2016’s DC Rebirth initiative, but 2020’s Dark Nights: Death Metal brought everything back and led to a new spark of energy being released in the DC realm.
The issues collected in Nightwing Vol 2: Get Grayson focus heavily on those renewed relationships, and how much they affect the life of Dick Grayson. Chiefly among them is his relationship with Barbara Gordon/Oracle/Batgirl, his best friend status with Wally West/Flash, and his relationship with both versions of Superman (father and son). We see a very emphasized return to how deep Nightwing’s connections go as one of the handful of characters that can claim the title of the heart of the DC Universe.
One of the biggest things in this collection though is the inclusion of Nightwing #87, the Eisner-nominated issue that was presented as a story told through a 22-page continuously connected image. Page by page we are essentially panning the camera across Blüdhaven itself as we watch the characters ‘move’ across the pages toward the destination. Bruno Redondo has outdone himself at the level of detail that is showcased on each page, bringing this part of Blüdhaven to stunning realistic life. This is an issue that needs multiple reads because outside of the main action, there is so much life and things to explore going on around the city streets. Graffiti to check out, characters going about their lives, little extras hanging from fire escapes, and just so many awesome things that 100% make this a lived-in feeling place.
Redondo knocked it out of the park in bringing it to visual life, which allowed Adriano Lucas to soar in and take that life to a more vivid colorful place. Each of the buildings has a different look because of the levels of light that might hit it, the colors of the building, and just other natural elements that can change how something appears to the eye. At the same time, the right levels of light and color, as well as shadows, are brought to the scenes that take place inside compared to those that are outside. This is a continuous issue that takes place during the evening hours and one of the really cool things is how well Lucas makes sure that the change in the skies is gradual and mixes together.
After pulling off such a stunning historical type of issue, it would have been easy for both artists to take it easy with the following issues but that’s not their style. Their very next issue kicks off with Nightwing standing on a roof with a foggy Blüdhaven before him, with the colors dimmed to fit the foggy nature with striking blues and blacks, which is breathtaking. I would frame that page and put it up on my wall to stare at every day in a heartbeat if it was offered as a print or poster.
That’s because everything that Redondo and Lucas do with this book is beyond words. There is so much life and personality within the world as they bring it to life, with Blüdhaven and Metropolis looking nothing alike other than both being cities.
The addition of Geraldo Borges to this series, thus allowing Redondo time to get ahead on other issues, was an inspired one. There are some similarities in their styles, so the artwork overall keeps a lot of the same energy, which is always nice. Where Redondo’s artwork has a smoother quality to it, Borges has a bit of a rougher texture which fits with some of the rougher events of some of the stories in this collection. There is a great weight to what we’re seeing, the speed effects and the bits of speed force lightning just really sell the whole thing really great. It feels like a man running and moving faster than any of us can fathom, from the body movements to the way it all moves across the page toward the eventual conclusion of any given action sequence.
Lucas’ colors are fantastic in any given issue, and not a bit of that is lost as they are tweaked a bit to really compliment Borges’ style and make things pop even more. While the colors are brighter and slicker with the smoother work of Redondo, they take on a more muted and toned-down look to fit the rougher look of Borges’s artwork. It works perfectly, while still achieving that colorful superhero look that this book has enjoyed since the run began.
Tom Taylor writes these characters so well because the care and love he has for them are visible in every single issue. This book is not just a celebration of Dick Grayson/Nightwing but about the DC Universe as a whole, through the connections that Dick has to so many characters. From the inspired teaming up of Dick Grayson/Nightwing and Jon Kent/Superman, paying off on Dick’s promise to Clark/Kal-El so many issues ago to keep an eye on the younger Superman, to the wonderful interplay between Dick and Wally (and Wally’s family) that we get in these issues.
In every issue there is a ton happening within the same number of pages and none of it feels rushed or shortchanged. Just in this volume alone, we have the various attempts on Dick Grayson’s life, a new costume, Dick’s home being destroyed, a team-up to mentor Superman that leads to a superhero murder investigation, rekindling of relationships, the Titans showing up to protect Dick, a team-up with the Flash, rescuing of people close to him, some more Blockbuster stuff, and tons more things moving all the plots forward. Every bit of the story and the characters behind it are given space to breathe and move within the confines of a single issue without any other constraint.
Each of the story hooks might come off as quite simple on the surface, but Taylor fills them in deeply with great character moments and connections that give the story a thriving life. It speaks to the idea that despite there being a number of story focuses that have been done time and time again, it’s how you execute those tried and true ideas that can make them stand above others. No matter how much the audience likes action and big beats like those, it’s the characters that we come back for time and time again in these comics, and when that is tapped into it’s easy to strike gold.
Wes Abbott has a deft ability to make the dialogue flow so easily within the panels, never intruding too much on what is going on but also making sure it has a central space where it can easily be digested. Alongside that is how much effort is put into making sure the various bits of dialogue have the same energy or personality flashes that one would expect from these characters, along with that more realistic air that comes from altering font sizes or shapes to match volume and tone perfectly. This is a thing that I bring up in reviews a lot when it’s clear a letterer has done it because it’s a very appreciated thing. It allows our minds to instantly know how a sentence is being spoken, rather than having to fill those blanks in ourselves on top of everything else.
Andworld Design brings the same glorious energy of the other artwork to the lettering, which shows around the panels perfectly. While a lot of the font and bubbles look similar, there is still this bit of magic at play that makes you able to feel the personality and voice of each character in those words as you read them. The intense seriousness of Starfire and Donna Troy, the joviality of Beast Boy and Flash, the rage of Blockbuster, and so on. Alongside the slew of big fun or powerful SFX that is along for the ride at the right time.
Nightwing Vol 2: Get Grayson is now available from DC Comics.
One thing that has been clear in this Nightwing run is how much the creative team loves the character andCOMICONRead More