Nightwing 1: Leaping into the Light
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Nothing feels like too much, but it’s still outstanding in detail and I am always excited to see what he’ll do next.
And in the end, we are supposed to be really moved when Dick gives a speech we hope our current spate of billionaires would listen to, as if they would give most of their money to healing the world (okay, a couple billionaires are in fact giving a ton of money to charity). I was going to hold off until maybe this got turned into an omnibus, or something, but with all the rave I just got the urge to jump in. The use of warm tones really added to the emotional and down-to-Earth feel of this volume and Nightwing’s character as a whole. Rick Leonardi and Neil Edwards draw the handful of pages that make up the flashback sequence, which aren’t bad but aren’t that special either, and I wasn’t that impressed with Heartless’ character design.Unfortunately, Taylor resets Nightwing's status quo all the way back to 1996, with Dick Grayson taking a new swing at rehabilitating Gotham's even worse neighboring city, Blüdhaven, by wrenching it from the hands of crime lord Blockbuster.
Melinda Zucco seems more promising although that storyline ends up playing out in a soap opera-y way. It’s about sacrifice, putting yourself before others, and showing the world that standing up for what’s right is worth fighting for. Even the more comedic moments nail the landing due to Redondo’s expert ability in rendering character “acting” and portraying a sense of ease and comfort between Dick, Barbara, and Tim as they investigate the various criminals of Blüdhaven. It’s an important message to deliver and more importantly, a major key to what makes Dick Grayson who he is. Dick Grayson’s big heart has protected those persecuted by bullies in his youth, combated evil alongside Batman as Robin, and pledged his newly inherited wealth to enriching Blüdhaven as Nightwing.In Blüdhaven, kindness is a rare virtue and Heartless is there to take Dick’s “heart before he gives it to the city”. It also has hilarious details like that Dick hangs around his apartment in a Black Canary concert t-shirt.
Many readers won’t even see this as a problem and understand that the first volume in a longer run is often just an introduction, a promise, for bigger (although not necessarily better) things to come. And the overall storyline introduced here is interesting as well and ties into Nightwing’s arch-enemy Blockbuster and Dick’s tragic past.However, I’m willing to go along with the surface level investigation into the average person’s problems Taylor’s scripts have Dick delve into. Those willing to hitch a ride to Tom Taylor and Bruno Redondo will very likely not regret such a decision. And to top it all the mid-volume reveal that Mayor Zucco is actually Dick's half-sister actually worked for me. This is honestly going to be a modern classic I highly recommend reading it because it will blow your mind. On top of that, the serial killer is stalking the streets, taking from people who have nothing to lose.
This was very much a love letter to this character, and the entire Batfamily, by an author who knows how to yank on your heartstrings without making you feel like they're trying to give you diabetes. He’s a young man, perpetually stuck in that nebulous transition into adulthood where living on your own and forging your own path is only the start to becoming who you are meant to be. I had my problems with Tom Taylor and Bruno Redondo’s Nightwing as I read their single issues when they first came out. The strongest part of this series is by far Tom Taylor's writing, as he nails the character of Dick so well, and also does a good job of writing the bat family.Nightwing has to get to the bottom of this Heartless character whilst also snooping on the new mayor Zucco, but the info he’s going to find is the last thing he’d expect. I don’t usually touch on editors in my reviews, but in this volume Jessica Chen’s input and notes were noticeable from the outset, something which I thought was great to see and very helpful for new and old readers alike. This book promises an attempt to address the root causes of street crime, and to render villainous the powerful people who benefit from chaos.