Dick Grayson is back! With more resources than ever, he’s determined to get Bludhaven in shape. But fate has other plans. As Blockbuster pulls the strings of Bludhaven’s elite, Dick learns a surprising secret from his past and must face off against a serial killer who is used to collecting people’s hearts. Nightwing Vol 1: Leap into the Light is the first collection of this edition directed by writer Tom Taylor, artist Bruno Redondo, colorist Adiano Lucas and letterer Wes Abbott. It collects the heartfelt stories found in Night wing # 78â83.
Taylor’s script is just magic. It brilliantly balances hope and fear, joy and despair. Instead of plunging readers into madness, Taylor gives us a cheerful debut issue. We see hints of the danger that looms over Nightwing, but we also see him enjoying being alive. So when things get darker in this series, readers have something to look forward to. And even when this series gets dark, Taylor still fills these pages with little moments of light. Whether it’s a new pet, a touching letter from an old friend, or even a good joke, Taylor makes us smile.
Speaking of things to smile about, the art of Redondo puts a smile on your face. And he’s never been more versatile or experimental than in this series. We see hilarious plays of a character’s faces, watching their reaction to something slowly unfold. We see Nightwing do a somersault through the air, with each turn and turn displayed in the panel to mark its path. And we see educational footage of Nightwing assembling his staff, like something in an airplane info booklet. Redondo shows figures through a door peephole in a round panel, their image distorted by magnification. It takes a tour through the history of Nightwing, mimicking the Ben Day points of each era. There are simply too many examples to give of Redondo’s brilliance. He’s constantly changing his layouts and visual language, but he’s always at the service of the story. It’s incredibly entertaining and more than a little breathtaking.
Guest artists for this volume include pencilers Rick Leonardi and Neil Edwards as well as inker Andy Lanning and Scott Hanna. Leonardi, Edwards, Lanning, and Hanna do a great job of bridging the gap between Redondo’s incredible style and the more traditional approach to Golden Age comics (that’s where their segment falls.). celebrate this era of comics, while imbuing it with a modern flare.
Lucas gives the impression of having lived these scenes with the characters. It gives every moment a real sense of time. So when we see the bright rays of the early morning sun smoothly transform into the soft coloring of a late afternoon, we feel like we are there. You’ll experience full days with Nightwing, as if you were perched on the roof next to him at night, tinged pink by the city lights. And when the storyline takes a quick detour through the past, Lucas’ color palette becomes totally flat. Each shape is colored in a single tone. It immediately sounds like a story from an old comic book, because Lucas looks like it. Lucas makes each panel both beautiful and immersive.
Abbott’s lettering is playful, even hilarious at times. He uses his letters to guide us through the page, like any good scholar, but he also helps us feel the impact of every sound. When Nightwing throws his baton at someone’s head, he emits a “TOK” sound in thin white letters. The letters almost seem to explode in the character’s face, knocking him over. And later when the same thing happens with a bigger character, we see those letters used in a very different way. “TOK” appears in the background, in a huge yellow font. You can almost feel the bang on your head and the ringing in your ears. Abbott is having a blast. His letters virtually chase the characters on every page, playing an equal role in the merry chaos.
Nightwing Vol 1: Leap into the Light is a love letter to Nightwing fans. He takes stock of Dick Grayson’s past, going through his many years on the page. But it also takes this character to exciting new places. Pick up the first volume of this fantastic series, released on DC Comics on December 14, at a comic book store near you!