Writer: Tom Taylor | Artist: Bruno Redondo | Colorist: Adriano Lucas | Editor: Jessica Chen
Publisher: DC Comics (Detective Comics Comics lol)
Series Compilation: Nightwing 2016 #78 - #83 (I’m a trade kinda guy rather than single issues so I may not add the series for the “Big Publishers” I read)
As a reminder, I’m only here to review books that I like, because it’s my blog. So every review is just a little book recommendation. Also note that I’m reviewing this as a trade and not as six separate single issues. Anyway, onto the words:
Nightwing: Leaping into the Light Vol 1 has become my favorite “Bat Kid” story, with the bias that it’s Nightwing-centric. The story really captures what I find so endearing (and more than likely most people find so endearing) about Nightwing. It’s a bold move, in my humble opinion, to have the focus be on the heartfelt moments rather than high stake tension. And what I mean by that is, the story is driven by world building and characters rather than becoming just another quick paced action story. Not to say that those kinds of stories are bad, but sometimes they can get a little predictable. After all, how many times can a guy try to ‘fix’ Gotham? How many times can an indestructible alien fight a human and not just one hit KO him for the better of humanity? Again, not to say that stories don’t have compelling character driven stories, I just 1) haven’t read that many and 2) don’t see it written as the first and foremost priority of the story. (But if you know of super stories like that, feel free to recommend some to me in the comments!)
The story’s foundation is that Dick inherited Alfred’s fortune and now he has to make a choice about what to do with it. It reminds the audience that Alfred was just as important in Dick’s life as Bruce was, and sometimes, even more so. (He was the first kid and the first Robin, we all know Batman did not know what he was doing. Alfred had no choice but to help.) And it’s nice to give that reminder that despite all of the universe redos, the million different storylines, and more, core relationships still matter. It’s hard to think anything really “matters” in the DC Universe considering heroes die and come back to life all the time or they get rewritten and made to be something completely different. And it’s not just Dick’s relationship with Alfred either. He teams up with his younger brother Tim to get information about Heartless (the villain of this series) and we get to see this brotherly bonding as Dick talks to him about his struggles with suddenly becoming a billionaire and figuring out what to do. The importance of family and those closest to you is also shown through Barbara and Dick’s relationship too. Granted, I’m personally not a Nightwing x Oracle fan (Starfire x Nightwing through and through) but she’s readily dependable and quick to take action for him. My favorite instance of this moment though, is when after Nightwing gets, essentially kidnapped, he has to inform not only his family, but the Titans (his Day 1s, his ride or die friends) that he’s okay. And I can only imagine the hell that they and Batman would have raised if they had gotten to him. Like, look at this and tell me they weren’t ready to go to war:
There’s even an instance where he talks to Superman, hoping to get advice - amongst other people both super and civilian. All of that to say, Tom Taylor showed a very integral and key element about Dick Grayson’s: Family matters. Community matters. And he relies on them just as much as they look up to him.
I remember reading an analysis on the series (before I started writing my own review) and saw that someone called it “hopepunk” but in a derogatory sense. But it’s funny because that’s kind of what Nightwing as a character is about. Superman was his idol as a kid. The alien that swears that the ‘S’ stands for hope and not Superman lol. Dick Grayson went from being an angry kid to being a hopeful adult. If he’s not hopeful then what kind of Nightwing are you hoping to get? Besides, in a world as hellish as the one we’re living in now, by god, “hopepunk” is definitely something we need more of. But also, it just reminded me not to read other people’s opinions on things I like because their opinions don’t matter to me lol.
Anyway! Storytelling aside, the Redondo and Lucas duo create a very beautiful story. There’s so much good stuff artistically. Paneling and composition? I love the scene showing Dick’s transition of a Flying Grayson to Nightwing (even including the Discowing era). The wide shots of him quite literally leaping into the light or the cover of issue 83 of him scrambling out of his hero costume into a suit are very good. There’s also the multi-action shots that show the scope of his acrobatic skills. All of this paired with beautiful color work? 100/10.
And I can’t forget this fun lettering detail by (Wes Abbott). I don’t have much to say about it, I just like it.
Through all of this, there’s a villainous plot brewing that the reader can key into as well. It’s only the introduction, we don’t get to learn too much, but I think it’s just enough for someone to pick up volume two (or the single issues if you’re about that).
Overall, if you’re a Nightwing fan, if you like character driven stories instead of the typical action packed superhero narrative, want a story to start you in comics, or you just want some artistic inspiration, Nightwing: Leaping into the Light Vol 1 is a good one to read.
OTHER BOOKS I’VE READ SINCE THEN:
Saint Young Men by Hikaru Nakamura
Mo Dao Zu Shi by Mo Xiang Tong Xiu
Both good books that I’d recommend, but I'm not going to do a review on them you'll just have to trust me.