Nightwing Issue 80 Review: “Introducing Heartless”

Nightwing Issue 80

Nightwing Issue 80 once again proves that Tom Taylor and Bruno Redondo really are the best creative team out there for Nightwing. You would think that the momentum would start to slow down three issues in, but no, the series is only picking up steam and I’m loving every minute of it.

There will be some spoilers below.

I’m probably starting to sound like a broken record at this point, but Tom Taylor and Bruno Redondo really know what they’re doing with Nightwing. They know the character and they have an immense respect not only for Dick Grayson, but for the fans as well. This series continues to feel like a love letter to the fans in a way that the series has not felt like in some time. Issue after issue brings continued well-deserved accolades and result in reprints with awesome new covers.

Nightwing issue 80 begins with Dick’s adorable dog aptly named Haley (voted on by fans via DC Universe Infinite) barking incessantly. She doesn’t have much regard for Dick’s nightlife. The reason for her barking are a couple of policemen at the door. It seems like they are pointing at Dick as the prime murder suspect of Martin Holt who was killed in issue 78.

Thankfully, Dick has an alibi in Barbara Gordon and the two of them eventually do succeed in getting the police officers to leave. But, now that Dick knows that Martin is dead, he of course is taking it upon himself to find out what happened to Martin’s son Elliot. To do that, he enlists the help of one of his brothers, Tim Drake. (Who is also one of two Robins in current canon.) Tim is perfect for the job as he is younger than Dick and can interact with street kids a little easier. Unfortunately, it doesn’t take long for some bad guys to show up, and the new Big Bad himself – Heartless!

Nightwing issue 80 was just so much fun to read and as one of my friends said to me this morning, it was, “…really, really cute.” I mean sure, there are some pretty nasty villains and a murder, but there are also great Dick and Babs moments, great Dick and Tim moments, and of course, Dick’s new adorable puppy.

Seeing Dick and Tim interact how they did in this issue was a direct throwback to the original series. Tim teasing Dick and the two of them going train surfing felt like old times. And seeing how their relationship has been bumpier in recent years and definitely not as close, this was really a joy to see. I’m definitely hoping to see more interactions with Dick and the rest of his family in upcoming issues!

I also greatly appreciate that Tom Taylor took the time to address Dick having been a police officer in the past. He handled it in a way where he acknowledges Dick Grayson’s actual past in the comics while also having him explain that he is no longer with the force because there were, “…too many criminals.” For those who remember the original 1996 Nightwing series, Dick became a police officer to fight corruption from the inside. Taylor tied this all together in a way that is very relevant to current events.

Tom Taylor just continues to bring so much passion and joy to the characters and the story. I don’t think DC Comics could have offered the series to a better writer. Taylor was exactly who was needed to bring Dick back into the spotlight, a place where the character has always belonged. I know we are just at the tip of the iceberg on what Taylor is planning and I cannot wait to see where he takes the character.

Bruno Redondo continues to bring his ultimate A-game to the art. His action sequences are amazing. Not just when Dick is doing acrobatic moves or when Nightwing and Robin are fighting crime together, but even in the softer moments where Dick and Barbara walk around Dick’s apartment after walking the two police officers out. Redondo definitely excels in character movement. His characters are very active and his panels come to life because of it.

I mentioned enjoying how Tom Taylor makes callbacks to the original series, but I also love how Bruno Redondo makes callbacks to classic comics in his style. The dot matrix fill used on the characters and backgrounds throws back to the old comic printers. It’s the perfect mix of classic and modern. I also enjoyed the use of movement markings and arrows along with his use of a chibi Barbara Gordon when she hears Dick and Tim talking about her over the communicators. Redondo doesn’t let you forget that you are reading a comic and I love that about his work.

Of course, Redondo’s art is only enhanced by Adriano Lucas’ amazing colors. Now, it may just be because I’m partial to pink and blue, but the coloring in this series is absolutely gorgeous. I can appreciate that it is different from the darker Gotham that oftentimes uses fewer colors overall. The shading used makes the brighter colors pop in a way that is very pleasing to the eye. I really can’t say enough about how beautiful Adriano Lucas makes this comic. It makes me want to live in Bludhaven! Okay, okay, I won’t go that far!

Overall Nightwing issue 80 continues to be such a feel-good story. Yes, trouble is brewing on the horizon, but I have a feeling that Tom Taylor will keep those light-hearted moments around. Dick is a character who is full of heart, so it’ll be interesting to see what happens now that he has come face-to-face with the new villain in town: Heartless!

Author: Jessica Rae

Jessica has a BA in music with an emphasis in voice and spends her day typesetting, editing, writing, and moderating webinars. Jessica primarily reviews anime and comic book series. She also offers insights on various movies, books, games, and other geeky topics.

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