WRITER(S): CHUCK DIXON & Scott Beatty .
Penciller(S): Scott McDaniel.
Inker(s): Andy Owens.
Colourist(s): Gregory Wright.
Letterer: Phil Balsman.
PUBLISHER: DC COMICS.
FORMAT: Hardcover – Deluxe Edition.
RELEASE DATE: June 30th, 2020 (first published August 2005).
GENRE(S): COMICS, SCIENCE-FICTION.
MY OVERALL RATING: ★★★★☆.
Being a vigilante doesn’t mean that you have to go at it alone. When your vision of crime-fighting coincides with others, the unexpected can happen and allies are formed when you least expect it. This is all good as long as everyone is fighting for the same cause, right? For Batman, his help came in the form a child who had nowhere else to go. Acting both as a father figure, Batman mentors Dick Grayson into becoming the first Robin to swing through the night sky alongside the Dark Knight as they fought off the countless villains who roam the streets of Gotham. While their time together was filled with memorable adventures, their commitment didn’t match over time as Batman continuously bled for Gotham and Robin found himself splitting his time between the Caped Crusader and the Teen Titans. This is was the moment for him to spread his wings and fly away from his nest to become his own thing.
What is Nightwing: Year One about? Fighting crime in Gotham isn’t an easy task. Following a tragedy at a circus that cut the wings off the Flying Graysons, a child was orphaned until Bruce Wayne swept in to offer him a new purpose to his life. After years serving Batman as Robin, he is now fired from his duties and left to work out life away from his mentor. Seeking advice from other costumed heroes, he goes adrift and returns to the circus where his life took a tragic turn only to realize that fighting crime will always be in his heart. While he still believes in the Dark Knight’s crusade, it’s time for him to don a new uniform, a new name, and a new lifestyle. Collecting Nightwing issues #101-106, this story-arc presents the origin story of the first Boy Wonder turned into Nightwing.
“If I’m going to continue helping people… I’ll have to do it on my own.”
– Chuck Dixon & Scott Beatty
See how Batman and Robin formed the greatest dynamic duo of all time? Well, writer Chuck Dixon and Scott Beatty make sure to accentuate Dick Grayson’s ability to singlehandedly bring in the full force of dynamism on us. His odyssey also enlightens him as to how he wants to move forward now that Batman cut all strings attached to him. He thus seeks advice from heroes like Superman who coincidentally ends up being the one who will present the origin story of his new name. The story in itself doesn’t have a linear narrative with a main villain as it essentially focuses on Dick Grayson’s quest for self-discovery. Every issue explores Dick Grayson’s character and the allies he still has to help him out. Inevitably, Batman also ends up finding the next Boy Wonder who will end up facing Dick Grayson in a battle of ego. The story is also narrated by Dick Grayson, as if he’s talking to Batman, giving us key insight on his understanding of the Dark Knight’s way of life, himself, and how the world around him works.
Ironically, the artwork captures the explosive and vivid colours that would normally be associated with Robin’s character. This helps in reminding the reader that Dick Grayson doesn’t necessarily change as to who he is. He simply adapts to his newly-found independence and goes out into the world with all the lessons he’s learned from Batman. The penciling is a bit rough and remains the weakest element of this origin story. While the visual style can be easy to get used to, the character designs aren’t that impressive at all. The cartoonish artwork does, however, allow for some entertaining action sequences that are further complemented by the silly banter. Without any grit, gore, or vulgarity, this origin story is simply uplifting and inspiring at the end of the day.
Nightwing: Year One is a solid and entertaining origin story revealing Robin’s tale of independence and self-discovery.