REVIEW: ‘Nightwing’, Issue #80

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Nightwing #80

Nightwing #80 is a joy to read. Tom Taylor writes this issue’s words and plot. Bruno Redondo is its artist, with Adriano Lucas as colorist and Wes Abbott as letterer. This creative team keeps knocking it out of the box for DC Comics

This is more about simply carrying on the plot from the last issue. Heartless, the new bad guy in town, has killed a homeless man who happened to have been aided by Dick Grayson, aka Nightwing. Barbara Gordon, aka Oracle and Dick’s love interest (?), remains in town to provide support and humor. But the police are on the scene, the infamous Bludhaven Police Department well documented in the previous Nightwing series pre-New 52. The city of Bludhaven is corrupt from the top down, and the two officers portrayed this time around suspect Dick of killing the very man he helped. 

This sets up a dynamic scene between the hero and the law, with sly comments about Dick’s time as a cop and some fast talking by him and Barbara that adds comedy to the drama. This scene was a perfect representation of Dick’s coolness under pressure, how the city he operates in is so fatally flawed and does so with tongue planted firmly in cheek. The first look into Bludhaven in the 1990s  crafted the metropolis only in terms of bleakness, a fractured urban environment without hope, or a willingness to crack a smile. The newer version keeps the graft and grime but seasons it with variety, dazzle, and isn’t afraid to poke a little fun, especially at Grayson.

Speaking of fun, the fact that Dick was robbed and picked up a three-legged pup keeps up the roasting of Dick by Barbara, and things get more amusing with a guest appearance by Robin (Tim Drake). His introduction ups the comedic banter and really emphasizes the familial in the term ‘Bat-family.’ This team-up only improves in every way on every page.

Taylor brings us into the effects Heartless is having on Bludhaven’s homeless population, and it’s great to see comics tackling real-world issues; otherwise, heroes saving the day is practically pointless. Nightwing protecting the marginalized of society is great to see, a man using wealth and skills to benefit the downtrodden, not simply talk about it on social media or donate to faceless charities. Taylor is a lesson in balanced writing and dialogue. It’s just good, clean writing with a purpose that exposes the humanity of each character.

Redondo cleanses the visual palette with his artwork. There is nothing scratchy, out of place, or glitchy in a single panel. One might think the pencils were done by a thoughtfully programmed AI considering the faultlessness of every line. But in those lines, the faces and acrobatics, sneakers dangling from powerlines is unadulterated fun no computer could calculate an imitation of. And, every now and then, Redondo treats the viewer with a panel in another form: instructional art, cartoonish, you name it. The art suddenly dips into an alternate style that fits the dialogue and mood, and it is brilliant.

I wish the cities of the world had half the color and pizzazz Lucas puts into Bludhaven. Nightwing, once a neo-noir saga told in sordid blue and black against scandalous brick behind storm drain mists, is now a Hollywood blockbuster filmed in Technicolor. I have never enjoyed hues so much in my entire life, so kudos to Lucas for dilating my pupils in the nicest possible way. This issue shines, yet still knows when to make a creepy scene cringe or scale back the bold pastels to allow lengthier dialogue to take precedence.

Speaking of dialogue, Abbott weaves word balloons around motion scenes with ease. He manages to piece conversations across larger panels to follow the art flow, with no chunky box paragraphs or run-on monologues. And as before, he saves huge SFX letters for when it counts.

Read Nightwing #80. Suck it in. That’s it. Enjoy what this team is putting out and see why it functions with ease, and see how creators make art that appears as if it’s done with little effort yet has so much to offer.

Nightwing #80 is available now wherever comic books are sold

 

Nightwing #80
5

TL;DR

Read Nightwing #80. Suck it in. That’s it. Enjoy what this team is putting out and see why it functions with ease, and see how creators make art that appears as if it’s done with little effort yet has so much to offer.