Hey, you! Yes, you reading this article. Give yourself a pat on the back because you made it through the week. You’ve earned a weekend of fun comic book reading, and we’ve got the perfect storyline to recommend. Nightwing recently released its 100th issue, but really, that number is a bit misleading. Yes, the current Nightwing, as written by Tom Taylor and drawn by Bruno Redondo, may be on issue #100, but there have been far more than one hundred issues of Nightwing released since he nabbed his first solo comic nearly thirty years ago. That initial series—and there were more to follow—ultimately ran for over 150 issues. But it all started with a gritty 1996 crime drama called “Nightwing: A Knight in Blüdhaven.”
If you’re a DC UNIVERSE INFINITE member, then there are a few ways to read it. The storyline ran through 1996’s Nightwing #1-8, which can be found in this collection, or if you’re an Ultra subscriber, the issues can be read together in the trade paperback Nightwing Vol. 1: Blüdhaven, which is also available in print in the usual places.
The hero known as Nightwing is at a crossroads in his life. He’s no longer leading the Titans, and he’s outgrown his role as Batman’s partner, so where does he fit in with the world? When twenty-one corpses wash up on Gotham’s shore, Nightwing heads down to Blüdhaven to learn who their criminal kingpin is. It isn’t long before Dick discovers that Blüdhaven does things a bit differently than Gotham, and if he doesn’t watch his back, he just might end up drifting down the river like the corpses he was sent to investigate.
Let’s Talk Talent:
Nightwing couldn’t have asked for a better creative duo than Chuck Dixon and Scott McDaniel. Dixon was one of the premier Batman Family writers in the ’90s, and after reading this, it isn’t hard to see why. With “A Knight in Blüdhaven,” not only did Dixon craft an addicting crime drama, he established the setting of Blüdhaven along with a new status quo for Nightwing. In many ways, Dixon laid the foundation for Dick that other creators have been building off of for decades.
Scott McDaniel’s dynamic artwork went a long way into making this book the classic that is fondly remembered today. McDaniel had a special way of rendering Nightwing moving through the air, presenting Dick in multiple phases of his aerial parkour in a single panel or splash page. This gives the reader a sense that Nightwing is constantly in motion, even though we’re looking at a still image. Nobody draws a Nightwing action sequence quite like McDaniel.
A Few Reasons to Read:
- If you’re enjoying Tom Taylor and Bruno Redondo’s time on Nightwing, then this is a great way to see how the story began. Nightwing’s quest to clean up Blüdhaven and his rivalry with the crimelord Blockbuster are all introduced here. The fact that Taylor and Redondo are using elements from this storyline 26 years later is a testament to how much this run defined Nightwing.
- On that note, it’s important to emphasize how much this storyline reinvented Nightwing as a solo hero. Although Dick had starred in his own stories before, in 1996, he was mostly defined as the leader of the Titans and an ally to Batman. These stories went a long way in establishing who Nightwing was as his own man.
- “A Knight in Blüdhaven” is a serialized crime drama that will almost certainly grab your attention. It’s a street-level story with unapologetic violence, intense action and plenty of intrigue.
- Blüdhaven isn’t just the setting for this series, it’s arguably the most important character next to Nightwing. Dixon’s writing and McDaniel’s art give the city its own identity, making it feel like a real place—a real dangerous place.
- If you aren’t a Nightwing or Batman expert, don’t sweat it. This storyline is new reader friendly and isn’t tied to any major events. It’s a fresh start for the former Boy Wonder, making it the perfect jumping on point for anyone who is new to comics. Seasoned fans will enjoy it, while new fans don’t have to worry about being lost.
Why it’s Worth Your Time:
If you’re a fan of Nightwing, or you just like good comics, then “A Knight in Blüdhaven” is essential reading. Reading this storyline will give you the perfect understanding of who Dick Grayson is as a hero, the world he lives in, and more. Plus, it’s an entertaining read that will have you engrossed even more with every page. If you’ve ever found yourself endlessly consuming a television show, the experience of reading “A Knight in Blüdhaven” is similar. It’s a gripping story, and the perfect choice for a chilly Weekend Escape.
Nightwing Vol. 1: Blüdhaven, which includes "Nightwing: A Knight in Blüdhaven by Chuck Dixon and Scott McDaniel, is available in bookstores, comics shops, libraries and on DC UNIVERSE INFINITE.
Joshua Lapin-Bertone writes about TV, movies and comics for DC.com, is a regular contributor to the Couch Club and writes our monthly Batman column, "Gotham Gazette." Follow him on Twitter at @TBUJosh.
NOTE: The views and opinions expressed in this feature are solely those of Joshua Lapin-Bertone and do not necessarily reflect those of DC Entertainment or Warner Bros.