REVIEW: ‘Nightwing,’ 2021 Annual #1

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Nightwing 2021 Annual #1

Nightwing 2021 Annual #1 pairs the title hero with Red Hood for a wild night in Gotham City. DC Comics did right getting Tom Taylor in as the writer for the title character. Cian Tormey and Daniel HDR deliver on the pencils. Tormey, HDR, and Raul Fernandez handle inks while Rain Beredo and John Kalisz commit to colors and Wes Abbott lays down the letters. At first, I thought this was going to be some Fear State tie-in. But thankfully, it isn’t. This issue features Nightwing’s team-up with the controversial yet fan-favorite Red Hood. I at first felt his presence would dampen this annual. I’m happy to say I was very wrong. 

Nightwing 2021 Annual #1 gets right to the plot. A caravan of seemingly suspicious persons is gunned down by the Red Hood. Captured video of this massacre is watched by Barbara Gordon, Dick Grayson, and Dick’s three-legged dog, Haley. There’s a lot wrong with the video. The victims weren’t criminals. Mostly. And recently, Red Hood turned in his guns and swore off killing. Our man Grayson has an idea what might be going on, but first, he has to find JasonTodd and sort this mess out. 

This brilliant story comes with a flashback detailing the time a recently fired by Batman Dick Grayson met Jason Todd, who had also been sidelined from being Robin. The story showcased three significant points that not only come up later in the annual but also nail characterizations specific to the two vigilantes. First off, Nightwing’s easy-going nature, his compassion, shines through. Knowing Jason’s delinquent behavior doesn’t stop him from treating the new sidekick with equal respect. Second, we get to clearly see how different both characters are as people and as Robin. Third, and perhaps most important to me as a Robin fan, it is clearly marked out what Robin’s purpose in the war on crime is: empathy. Being a face people can relate to, plus a snarky distraction. Robin has merit and is a vital character in the DC mythos that was the foundation for Dick, Jason, and later on more great characters such as Tim, Stephanie, and Damian.

What follows through the rest of the story are some compelling action sequences, a personal motivating plot for Red Hood that made me feel for this character for once, and a solid comparison and contrast between these two Brothers of the Bat. Taylor has gotten nothing but praise from me since he jumped on Nightwing, and he continues to show his in-depth knowledge of the character and Gotham. He has made me have a passing like of the Red Hood, which is a feat. More importantly, he puts to the fore that Nightwing is a more capable and empathic leader of the Bat-Family than Bruce could ever be and deserves to run it. He can not only fight crime but is caring enough to want to heal traumas from friends and for alike.

Tormey and HDR have distinct art styles, with Tormey relying heavily on added lines for texture and HDR offering fewer lines and a fluid pen. Tormey has a certain darker edge, and they excel at action-packed, explosive panels. HDR has that ease of strokes that reminds me of Alan Davis back when he drew Excalibur for Marvel. Both visions made the annual a feast in two completely separate ways. Add in the use of thick ink by them and Fernandez, the fiery oranges and more brilliant colorations in the flashback by Beredo and Kalisz, and some fun SFX by Abbott, and we have a very adventurous comic in terms of words and visuals.

Nightwing 2021 Annual #1 is definitely worth the money and time. Nightwing is in top form; Red Hood is grim yet on the move forward. It feels like there’s no stopping at this point like we’re headed for a better set of Bat heroes and perhaps a better Gotham. Get this one for your Bat collection. Heck, get it even if you’re not a DC fan. It’s just plain great reading.

Nightwing 2021 Annual #1 is available wherever comics are sold


Nightwing 2021 Annual #1
5

TL;DR

Nightwing 2021 Annual #1 is definitely worth the money and time. Nightwing is in top form; Red Hood is grim yet on the move forward. It feels like there’s no stopping at this point like we’re headed for a better set of Bat heroes and perhaps a better Gotham. Get this one for your Bat collection. Heck, get it even if you’re not a DC fan. It’s just plain great reading.