Our pal Kit reviews comics for us! This is one of those reviews.
Warning: Minor spoilers.
“The Nightwing was the great rebuilder. The catalyst of change.” – Nightwing
DC have kindly given me another one of my favourite heroes back! First I got back one in Rebirth #1 (go and read it yourself to find out who!) now, I get Nightwing: Rebirth (written by Tim Seeley, art by Yanick Paquette, colours by Nathan Fairbairn and letters from Carlos Mangual). He wasn’t really gone in the first place I suppose, only the identity wiped away while Agent Grayson took over. The Grayson series was fine, but it never quite sat right with me.
The comic kicks off with Dick Grayson taking care of a few last things for Spyral. He’s finished there now. The first thing that jumped out at me, before I even read a word was the vibrant colours on the page. The first image is a full page short of Dick taking on four colourfully clad enemies trying to break into a bank. In the meantime we get his internal monologue, going over the origin of the name Nightwing and how the inspiration for the identity came from Superman, not Batman, first. Of course, like many of these Rebirth stories the Nightwing has connections to change and things beginning anew. We also get to pick up the Dick and Damian relationship again, which has always been a favourite of mine. This eases us back into the character of Nightwing, not Agent 37. His relationship with Damian has been pivotal to the character since his run as Batman in one of Bruce’s absences.
Grayson says his goodbyes to the key players of Spyral before he leaves, apparently they’re going to be good guys now, and he happens to have his secret identity back. This is the first of my two criticisms of this issue. Apparently everyone had their brains scrambled and now nobody knows Dick Grayson is Nightwing anymore. A little more explanation here would be nice.
The second for me comes in the reveal of who his enemy will be. The series is seeming to pick up on the events of We Are Robin, however having stopped that series myself I felt like I was missing something here, especially in an issue supposed to be about new beginnings an old plot thread feels out of place.
One thing I did appreciate, as someone who always felt Dick was better as a hero than an agent, was Steeley’s acknowledgement that the character perhaps wasn’t the best fit for this. Midnighter outright tells Dick he’s to go back to being a superhero as being a spy didn’t suit him, Dick in turn acknowledges to himself that Midnighter is right.
So, going back to the art, Paquette and Fairbairn presented me with a lot more colour than I was expecting, the art is bright and matches the optimistic tones within the comic, the feel of new beginnings and things starting a fresh, with the one exception of the series villain(s), but that simply drives home the point even more. But the most important question:
Can Paquette draw hands? Paquette’s art style involves a lot of detail in the hands, the wrinkle and knuckles are heavily emphasised. They always tend to be doing something, be it throwing a punch, holding an item or moving to carry out an action and are less used for gesture and communication, a little more of that and they would have been pushing a perfect 10. Without, 8/10 for hand drawing skills!
Nightwing is back. He has his independence back and I’m looking to see where things go. We’re dealing with a family villain and I’d love to see Dick go up against someone new and his rogues gallery develop. I really enjoyed the interaction with Damian as well.
Score: 8.5 Black Masks out of 10