Nightwing 2022 Annual #1 – Tom Taylor, Jay Kristoff, CS Pacat, Writers; Eduardo Pansica/Julio Ferreira, Inaki Miranda, Artists; Adriano Lucas, Colorist
Ray – 9/10
Ray: For the first annual of Tom Taylor’s run, he’s brought in a pair of writers to share the issue with him—along with a full-length main story.
It starts with the origin of Heartless, by Taylor and Eduardo Pansica. It starts in an oddly familiar way, with Dick’s parents falling from the trapeze and a British butler approaching the home of a wealthy Gotham family—but this isn’t that story. It’s the story of a twisted con man, Gerald Chamberlain, who cons his way into the confidence of a rich family with the intention of killing them and taking their fortune. But when he meets their sociopathic, animal-torturing son Shelton, he bonds with the boy and helps him come out of his shell—and become the killer he always had the potential to be. It’s a dark, twisted tale that slowly reveals the secrets of Heartless’ beginning and calls back to the beginning of Taylor’s run in a very unexpected way. It nicely sets up Heartless as a massive threat with a surprisingly personal vendetta.
Jay Kristoff takes over as writer for the second story, which focuses on Haley, Dick’s beloved pooch. When Dick has a night off with Barbara, Haley is left alone—despite being a bit rambunctious lately. But when all of Gotham’s villains show up to kidnap Dick and Barbara, it’s up to the heroic Bite-wing to come to the rescue. At first this story seems to be playing it straight, but then it gets more and more cheerfully ridiculous until the hilarious climax. It’s definitely a blast for animal lovers everywhere.
Finally, CS Pacat and Inaki Miranda tell a story of Dick and Jon Kent through the early days of Jon’s book, as the young Superman struggles with his powers and how easy it is to hurt someone. Dick’s attempt to train Jon is bookended by flashbacks to Batman’s own training techniques—which, let’s put it lightly, are lacking a bit in encouragement. The characterization of Jon and Dick is strong, but its take on Bruce is maybe a bit too caustic. Still, it fits in nicely with the two ongoing titles.
Overall, all three stories are good, but you can’t compete with Taylor on his own book. The first story is a classic.
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GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.