REVIEW: ‘Nightwing 2022 Annual,’ Issue #1

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Nightwing 2022 Annual #1

Nightwing 2022 Annual #1, published by DC Comics, delves into the chilling origin of Heartless. There are three tales in this issue, with the first written by Tom Taylor and illustrated by Eduardo Pansica, with inks by Julio Ferreira. The second is penned by Jay Kristoff and illustrated by Pansica. The third installment is written by C.S. Pacat, with art by Inaki Miranda. Adriano Lucas provides colors, and Wes Abbott does letters for all three.

The bulk of the annual showcases the origin of Heartless, and it begins with a startling revelation. Before he became a supervillain, Heartless was at Haley’s Circus the night Dick Grayson’s parents were killed. So Bludhaven’s newest crimelord has a connection to Nightwing in more than just a previous battle. The story here is vicious, cold, and creepy, but gosh, is it well told. Heartless is aptly named. His origin is disturbing, parallels Nightwing’s life, and even comes with a few surprise callbacks from earlier issues of the series that fans will readily know. This was a perfectly chilling villain tale from Taylor.

Next, we get “Night Out,” which, despite the fact Dick and Barbara go out, ends up being a cute Haley the Dog story. It is humorous, imaginative, and fun—nice to see the dog take center stage. Now, the artwork by Pansica in these first two stories is lovely, with a few more lines in the faces and some terrific looks from Heartless’ mask. Ferreira’s ink work is phenomenal and makes these tales look more shadowy. Lucas varies the color schemes more than in Nightwing, with not as much blue. The hues are solid and darker in the annual. Abbott’s letters throughout are exemplary and give each story order. I would love to see Kristoff handle more Nightwing stories in the future.

Nightwing 2022 Annual #1 last turns down a seemingly well-traveled road in “The Lesson.” Jon Kent, the current Superman, comes to Nightwing after hurting a person while on patrol. Nightwing agrees to train him to be more disciplined, and this begins and ends with flashbacks to how Batman trained Nightwing. We not only get some perfect differences between Jon and Dick but also shown how Dick is different as a mentor from Batman. This story really hit home for me, and I found myself loving it even more than the origin of Heartless. There’s so much being built up in Bludhaven that this annual is key in revealing. I loved this issue.

I’ve never read a single work by Pacat, but after this, I will soon. Pacat nails Jon, Bruce, and Dick. But what’s better is they encapsulate the gap between a human being and a godlike superhuman. In the same proverbial breath (courtesy of Abbott’s great lettering), we also see why superhumans need training and how training vastly differs for them over someone without powers. As if that wasn’t enough, we see Nightwing again as the mentor other heroes can come to, and why he’s different, more humane, than the Batman. Lastly, Miranda’s art is gritty, rain-soaked, and anatomically smooth. Maybe Dick has a little too much hair in some panels, but that’s minor. There’s a lot of motion in the training sessions that come off nicely.

With DC setting up Nightwing to be big and lead the Titans to new heights, this story becomes ever more critical. I never thought we would get a Nightwing Renaissance, but this annual is a dose of reality for the foundation of the next great set of Nightwing stories. So stay tuned, and grab this title!

Nightwing 2022 Annual #1 is available now wherever comic books are sold.


Nightwing 2022 Annual #1
5

TL;DR

With DC setting up Nightwing to be big and lead the Titans to new heights, this story becomes ever more critical. I never thought we would get a Nightwing Renaissance, but this annual is a dose of reality for the foundation of the next great set of Nightwing stories. So stay tuned, and grab this title!

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