As you may have noticed, I’m a big fan of the big Bat (as are many of our reviewers here at NFNT.) There’s something about a superhero with that darker twinge of vengeance that appeals to me more than the wholesome Superman or the everyday good-guy Spiderman. In diving into Gotham’s cityscape, though, I’ve met a slew of interesting characters, and Nightwing certainly stands alone in this excellent tale.

Nightwing, a.k.a. Dick Grayson, once Robin to Bruce Wayne’s Batman, struggles to define himself as an independent superhero. Can you imagine trying to distinguish yourself compared to Gotham’s hero, let alone trying to step out of his shadow and become a superhero of your own? He’s determined to make it his own no matter the opposition (remind you of anyone?) Despite his skill, however, he may have reached a little too far. Chuck Dixon, a legend at work, writes great storylines and dialogue, with his black humor and talent for true-to-life dialogue in prime form.

The artwork in the Bludhaven series, as envisioned by Scott McDaniel, is dark and crisp. Bludhaven is moodily illuminated as a decaying city all its own, a kind of Nine Inch Nails decay versus Gotham’s more classical operatic drear. The balletic fight scenes are astounding  the visuals make you remember that Nightwing was once an aerialist as he swoops from building to building. Best of all, McDaniel’s combination of curves and shadow give Dick Grayson a face that is both adult and yet still reminds readers of the boy who was Robin, a subtle touch that comforts and provides continuity nicely.

  • Robin B.

    | She/Her Teen Librarian, Public Library of Brookline

    Editor in Chief

    Robin E. Brenner is Teen Librarian at the Brookline Public Library in Massachusetts. She has chaired the American Library Association Great Graphic Novels for Teens Selection List Committee, the Margaret A. Edwards Award Committee, and served on the Michael L. Printz Award Committee. She is currently the President of the Graphic Novels and Comics Round Table for ALA. She was a judge for the 2007 Eisner awards, helped judge the Boston Globe Horn Book Awards in 2011, and contributes to the Good Comics for Kids blog at School Library Journal. She regularly gives lectures and workshops on graphic novels, manga, and anime at comics conventions including New York and San Diego Comic-Con and at the American Library Association’s conferences. Her guide, Understanding Manga and Anime (Libraries Unlimited, 2007), was nominated for a 2008 Eisner Award.

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