Written by Tim Seeley
Art by Javier Fernandez, Chris Sotomayor, & Carlos M. Mangual
Published by DC Comics
Release Date: July 27, 2016
Nightwing always swings back.
Dick is trying to regain his life as Nightwing while also working undercover to dismantle the Parliament of Owls. One to stick to his morals, he’s willing to “fight” for their cause but unwilling to cross the line to murder. His relationships with the Bat-family both drive him and challenge him as he continues his mission, only for these poignant lessons to kick him in the back in the form of his new partner, Raptor.
Despite the compassion his compatriots have for him, Dick still has some misgivings about his own abilities. This dynamic helped make Nightwing #1 thoughtful and entertaining, as these relationships provided a backdrop for the climax of this issue and a context for the start of this arc.
Dick is a character encapsulated in his relationship to many others and his steadfast though still flexible morality. Through the issue, he lays the foundation for understanding him with regards to his family and what it means for him to relate to them after going from superhero to spy to superhero again. What I find endearing is that while I don’t feel one can appreciate Dick without the impact he has on others, it doesn’t take away from his presence as an independent hero.
Tim Seeley’s framing in this issue drives home how important Dick finds his family and where he fits among them. Dick’s motivations are plain and clear, and it’s profound the effect that training with Batman has had on him. He’s witty, charming, but still sometimes emotional, drawing on Dick’s complex relationship with being a hero. Seeley’s use of Dick’s past and his driving forces to begin to break him in the final pages of the issue create a striking change of pace in storytelling, making future issues much more intriguing.
Javier Fernandez and Chris Sotomayor’s art demonstrates Dick’s emotional situation, and even his wit can’t betray the heavy atmosphere around him. So much of this issue is seedy and the environments are dipped in shadows that reflect Dick’s own issues with self-assurance and setting his life straight again.
To match the narrative, Fernandez gives most of the visual clarity to Dick’s supporting characters, mirroring their significance in his life. Dick himself is less often as detailed, save for his introduction in earlier pages of the issue. Working within this effect, Sotomayor uses a dark pallet to demonstrate Dick’s clandestine affairs, while also using colors on the supporting characters that give them an ironically eye-catching presence.
For me, any good Dick Grayson story addresses his journey through independence and his affection for those around him. Nightwing #1 accomplishes with character introspection that uncovers the nuances of Dick’s life as a hero and former-spy. In a return to a nostalgic DCU, Dick’s place in the universe is wonderfully captured in his recognition of the many moving parts of his past and present. For a good Nightwing story that turns some of his history on its head thematically, check out this issue.
The Verdict: 9.0/10