Nightwing #101


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Nightwing #101


  • Words: Chuck Dixon
  • Art: Scott McDaniel
  • Inks: Andy Owen
  • Colors: Gregory Wright
  • Story Title: Nightwing Year One - Chapter One: Only Robins Have Wings
  • Price: $2.25
  • Release Date: Jan 12, 2005

Chuck Dixon returns to the series with a look back at the Boy Wonder’s transition to adulthood.

As Nightwing thinks back on the circumstances that have led him to his current path, he recalls his last fateful flight as Robin. For weeks, he had been kept busy by college and his activities with the Teen Titans. Rushing back to Gotham City after a Titans adventure, Robin is almost too late to save Batman from his shape shifting foe, Clayface. As a result, Batman begins to question the young man’s commitment to their partnership.

Few writers know the Batman family of characters better than Dixon. In recent years, he’s combined revisionist history with character-driven drama in the charming miniseries Robin: Year One and Batgirl: Year One. Now, he is shooting for a trilogy by fleshing out Robin’s transformation into Nightwing. This opening chapter is a solid beginning that adds a few interesting new wrinkles to the story. The choice of Clayface as the enemy that finally drives a wedge between Batman and Robin is unusual, but Dixon makes good use of the character in his script. Clayface’s tactics for rebuilding his body mass were wonderfully disgusting and his reasons for committing the particular crime of this issue caught me by surprise. As ever, Dixon excels at presenting the tension between Dick Grayson and Bruce Wayne and gets inside Grayson’s head with relative ease. The interior monologue of this issue is one of its strongest points, mixing sadness, regret, wistful nostalgia and the occasional wisecrack. Dixon presents Alfred as a mediating force between his two volatile charges, trying to maintain order and civility in their little costumed "clubhouse." He also adds a few clever homages for the long-time fans, such as the use of Robin’s animated costume design and his "Earth-2" costume from the old pre-Crisis stories.

Also returning to the series is Dixon’s former Nightwing collaborator, Scott McDaniel. His art has a sense of frenetic motion that suits these characters well. McDaniel is very skilled at presenting the action-packed sequences of the story and sweeping us away in the Bat-Family’s adventures. Many of his figures have an interesting rounded quality that makes his style instantly recognizable. In other books, his work is sometimes hard to follow as things become so frantic or stylized; one can lose the sense of perspective in the art. Thankfully, that does not seem to be a problem in this story. How much of that is due to the inclusion of inker Andy Owens, I cannot say, but the two mesh well. Gregory Wright’s colors work nicely in the issue also, off-setting Robin’s brightness with Batman’s dark world and employing a sepia-tone technique in flashbacks.

Judging by this issue, "Nightwing: Year One" will prove to be another fun romp through Bat-history, courtesy of Mr. Dixon. Whether you’re a fan of the character or a relatively new reader wondering how he got his start, you should find something to enjoy in this tale.

-Eric Lindberg

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