Monday, March 15, 2021

Nightwing #78 Review


Don't be a Ric

Writer: Tom Taylor
Artist: Bruno Redondo, Adriano Lucas, and Wes Abbott
Cover Price: $3.99
Release Date: March 16, 2021

If you are a Dick Grayson fan like me, you have been through some tough times lately.  Yea, Dan Didio is no longer around ready to drop the guillotine on our boy's head, but we still had to suffer through years of Ric Grayson.  YEARS!!!  I know that Wally West fans think they've cornered the "DC is out to screw us" market, but for a while there, it was a neck-and-neck race.  As the saying goes, good things come to those who wait.  Yea, I think that's a load of horseshit myself (I've been waiting for my jetpack to arrive for at least twenty Christmases), but lo and behold, Tom Taylor and Bruno Redondo are starting their Nightwing run!  It's a Christmas Miracle (in March), and I couldn't be happier.  I know I shouldn't spoil my review in the opening paragraph, but I am too damn excited!  This issue rocks, and I couldn't be happier.  On to the review...

The issue opens with a flashback to a young Dick Grayson stopping some school bullies.  Actually, he is second in line as a young girl already had jumped in to protect the bullying victim, and she sassy!  There are no spoilers here, but this first scene sets the tone for the book, and I think everyone reading it will have massive smiles on their faces.

Of course, Dick gets involved, and while he is doing the right thing, that doesn't always mean there aren't repercussions to be had.  In this case, though, it's all good.  If you have missed Alfred Pennyworth and who hasn't, this issue will give you some vast feels.  Hell, if you've missed the Bat-Family feeling like a family, this book is for you.

We then head to the present, and I know it's a trope to have a villain kick a dog to establish his evilness, but Tom Taylor one-ups that trope and then tropes the trope!  If it were possible to reach into a comic and slap a bunch of guys silly, I would have done that and more.  Luckily, Nightwing is on the case because these pieces of shit go all National Lampoon (Oh, poor Cheeseface) on the little mutt, which causes a chain reaction of kicks, punches, and escrima sticks to various body parts.

Now, if you've read any Tom Taylor books, the guy has the gift of making you fall in love with characters and then kill them.  I think it's because he's Australian.  I am speaking directly to Tom right now... Don't kill this dog!  If you do, I might lose it and never eat a vegemite sandwich again!  I will still listen to INXS because they are one of my favorite bands of all-time, but I will never listen to the Wiggles again!  Now that I've shown my limited knowledge of Australia (seriously, half of what I know is directly from Men at Work videos!), back to the review.

So, besides these punks, who are the villains of the book?  Well, we get an old Bludhaven classic and a twist on someone from Dick Grayson's past.  The first is Blockbuster, but before you start moaning that he's played out, this isn't your granddaddy's Desmond.  Seriously, he must be reading Chip Zdarsky's Daredevil (cheap plug) because he is positioning himself to be some sort of kingpin (pun intended) of the Blud.  I know this; he is scary as hell!  I won't spoil the second person, but it is a twist that I am looking forward to seeing play out.

Back to Nightwing, when he goes back to his apartment, he finds Barbara there, and Taylor doesn't go surface-level as we get so often with these two.  Sure, I always want them to be together, but she will be a regular in the book, so there is plenty of time, and the dialogue between them is perfect.
And then come the waterworks!

The ending will likely leave a lot of readers with something in their eye.  I am secure with myself (I'm really not), so I will admit that I cried.  A Lot!  Nobody wanted to see Alfred die back in City of Bane, but all this time later, Tom Taylor gives him the best, most emotional sendoff you could hope to get.  It also offers Dick a little spending cash so he won't have to rely on Batman so much, and with what's going on in Gotham these days, Bruce may be looking for a loan from Dick!  After that scene, the cliffhanger, while intriguing, is just something to deal with later.  You know, after I get that something out of my eye.

As a DC Comic fan, this issue is excellent.  As a Nightwing fan, this is one of the best issues I've read in years.  I had an ear-to-ear grin on my face, even through the tears, and it wasn't just from what I was reading.  It was because I know that my favorite character in all of comics is in good hands.  Somewhere right now, Didio has something in his eye too.  Now, when will Taylor and Redondo start writing a Wally West book?

Speaking of Bruno Redondo, way back when he was doing Injustice with Tom Taylor, I mentioned in my reviews that he draws the best version of every character in his books.  I have stuck with that over the years and I am sticking to it now.  Everything looks fantastic!  Big shoutout to Adriano Lucus for the colors and Wes Abbott for the letters, especially at the end in the part that made me cry.  It had great synergy to what we had seen in Tom King's Batman run.

Bits and Pieces:

It's been a long time since I've given a book a perfect score (Tom King's Batman #5 if you are keeping score), but as a Dick Grayson fan, I can't find anything wrong with this first issue of Tom Taylor and Bruno Redondo's run of Nightwing.  It's been a long time coming, but I think I will finally get my favorite character and my favorite book to be the same again!  Everyone should grab this one!