My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Another buddy-read with my shallow comic readin’ pals!
DC’s latest re-release of old the old Nightwing series starts here. This one collects the 4 issue Nightwing miniseries by Denny O’Neil and Greg Land and the first 8 issues of the original Nightwing ongoing series by Chuck Dixon, Scott McDaniel, and Karl Story.
So let’s get this outta the way. Denny O’Neil definitely doesn’t do it for me. Even when I was a lot less critical back in the day his stuff was bad. Dick calls a guy “Bucko”. I haven’t heard that shit since the Fonz. That said, I can see why it was collected here as it intros the then “new” suit (replacing the God-awful “disco” Nightwing getup) and explains why Dick makes the jaunt down to Bludhaven to set up shop. The dialogue is just painful. And Greg Land. Woof. Never been a favorite of mine and boy did he carve that into stone with Grayson’s polka dot shirt, Hammer pants, and mullet. Fugly stuff. Land fits right in with the rest of the “Liefeld” generation of 90’s artists. Sorry to all you Land fans. Bright side. The covers were nice and I like the new suit.
Now the good news. This is probably the best stuff Chuck Dixon has ever written. He really nailed the youthful, fun-loving, and optimistic attitude that sets Nightwing apart from Batman. Dixon got a brand new playground with Bludhaven and gets settled in quick. Chuck introduces a whole new supporting cast that provided the depth that this series needed to get a good foothold early. New villains (to Nightwing anyway), new haircut, and a mystery worthy of his mentor. The pieces just felt into place for me. Really enjoyed the visit from Tim Drake too. Their interactions felt natural and I really bought into their sense of brotherhood.
Finally, Scott McDaniel and Karl Story owned this title for 40 issues. I love the dark line work, acrobatic page layouts, and great use of perspective in these issues. While I definitely enjoyed McDaniel’s work on Daredevil: Fall From Grace, the addition of Story’s inks make this the best work he has ever produced. It still kicks ass 20 years later. I’m a huge fan of the work these guys put into this series.
So who should pick this one up? I would say that this book is a lock for Nightwing fans or admirers of McDaniel’s artwork. Both Dixon and McDaniel were at the top of their game with this series.