Tom Taylor – Writer
Bruno Redondo – Artist
Adriano Lucas – Colors
Wes Abbott – Letters
If I had to describe Tom Taylor’s current DC output, it’d be like the equivalent of fast food. You read it, maybe have a good time, forget about it, and move on. Every so often, he and a collaborator will come out with an issue that has a unique gimmick, something that makes it stand out – like the limited menu item at a fast food place, something different for once that you’ll remember for longer, but at the end, you’ll forget all the same.
This month’s issue of Nightwing is exactly the latter, mediocre writing wasted on a unique gimmick that could’ve been utilized so much better.
In Nightwing #105, we’re treated to an issue where the reader takes Nightwing’s point of view, seeing everything from his eyes as he goes to stop Double Dare – a criminal duo of twins who have apparently stolen a biological weapon.
Getting the good out of the way, I love just how effectively Bruno Redondo tackles the POV aspect, with Adriano Lucas’ gorgeous colors to complement it. Within that aspect alone, this issue is phenomenal. Every panel is horizontal, aside from the occasional splash page in order to fully get you immersed in Nightwing’s shoes, and it works perfectly. Every panel is like the immediate follow-up of the previous, creating that illusion of movement like you’re watching an animation play out.
The POV angle also never feels awkward, it always looks right, and even within that, we never lose out on the little quirks Redondo throws into each panel or Wes Abbott’s spectacular sound effect lettering. It’s so cool that we got an issue that played with this and made it work…
Which is why it’s a damn shame that the writing can’t keep up with it. It’s a ‘fun’ issue, in the most basic meaning of the term. You can pick it up, and you won’t be lost in the context for the most part, but that’s as far as it goes. As I said at the beginning, the story isn’t what will stick with you, but the art will – in the sense that you’ll remember that this book did a POV story, but not the contents of that story in particular. It’s the same problem I had with #87 – the issue where the entire book was one continuous page.
I understand that the gimmick is the draw, but a comic is the dance of a creative team, where every cog in the machine is supposed to be important. This is a $4.99 comic, so when you’re purchasing it, you should expect the full package, not a story that’s half-baked – with no moments of character growth or any developments whatsoever, whether it be on a macro or micro level.
Is fun the baseline that we should be happy with? Can comics, even corporate ones, not be more? Of course they can, there are books within DC’s ongoings that are, even within just the Batman section of books. Detective Comics, Poison Ivy, and Batman certainly try to delve into deeper themes, even while having fun in the middle of that. It’s possible.
So why can’t Nightwing be that? Why must Nightwing be chained to mediocrity when it can clearly be more? Even within this issue, it’s bursting with the potential to be so much more – to be memorable. The idea itself is an all-timer, just pair it with a good story! Nightwing #105 is another disappointing issue in a run of disappointing issues, carried hard on the back of fantastic art and lettering.