Genuinely, I was pleasantly surprised. NIGHTWING/MAGILLA GORILLA SPECIAL #1 is a great crossover between DC heroes and Hanna-Barbera characters. Heath Corson does an amazing job weaving Nightwing's backstory into this murder mystery. And the vibrant artwork is blinding bright and refreshing. Absolutely, an issue worth checking out.
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Here comes a new batch of crossovers featuring beloved Hanna-Barbera characters and DC heroes. When a Hollywood talent agent is found murdered, Nightwing must prove the innocence of the prime suspect: Magilla Gorilla. Written by Heath Corson, Nightwing and Magilla Gorilla have one night in Tinseltown to find the real killer. Check out NIGHTWING/MAGILLA GORILLA SPECIAL #1 to read about this unlikely team-up.

Nightwing Goes To Hollywood

Straight out of Gotham City, Dick Grayson arrives in sunny Malibu. While there, he meets none other than the famous, Magilla Gorilla. Along with Mel Peebles, the gorilla’s manager, the three of them discuss a possible movie about the Flying Graysons. Unfortunately, Dick Grayson isn’t on board with the film idea. Not yet anyway. With Magilla raging in disappointment, Grayson quickly leaves.

NIGHTWING/MAGILLA GORILLA SPECIAL #1 Page 3. Image Courtesy of DC Entertainment.
NIGHTWING/MAGILLA GORILLA SPECIAL #1 page 3. Image courtesy of DC Entertainment.

Later on, he hears about the sudden death of Peebles on the news. And Magilla Gorilla is the LAPD’s top suspect. Good thing he packed his Nightwing suit. When our hero helps the Gorilla escape from law enforcement, they investigate the scene of the crime. All signs point to Magilla, however, he claims he is being framed. But who could be framing him? Could it be his former apprentice, Grape Ape? That’s right, Magilla isn’t the only gorilla in Hollywood. Both Grape Ape and Beegle Beagle make an appearance in NIGHTWING/MAGILLA GORILLA SPECIAL #1.

I won’t spoil the who in this who-done-it. I will say, the ending left me with that warm, fuzzy feeling in my heart. Something I would expect from a Hanna-Barbera comic.

Nightwing Roots

In NIGHTWING/MAGILLA GORILLA SPECIAL #1, we revisit Dick Grayson’s origins. He reminisces about his circus days and performing with the Flying Graysons. It was so sweet to see Grayson go back to those memories and feel like a kid again. He remembers what kind of a man his father was before his untimely death.

NIGHTWING/MAGILLA GORILLA SPECIAL #1 Page 5. Image Courtesy of DC Entertainment.
NIGHTWING/MAGILLA GORILLA SPECIAL #1 page 5. Image courtesy of DC Entertainment.

You’d be surprised the parallels between Nightwing and Magilla Gorilla there are. Both talk about their relationships with their fathers and with their protegees. When the two sit on the Hollywood sign, Grayson reflects on his biological father and his adoptive father, Batman. And Magilla saw Peebles as a father figure, making his murder extra difficult to deal with. Even if they don’t always see eye to eye, both father-son relationships are very important in both characters lives.

The Bright Lights

Compared to the dreary, darkness of Gotham, the artwork in NIGHTWING/MAGILLA GORILLA SPECIAL #1 is incredibly bright. Each page is vibrant and shiny, a burst of popping color. Lots of light blues and yellows. Even during scenes set at night, the sky is full of mauve purple. Not at all like the harsh, looming shadows of Gotham and Bludhaven. The drastic change in color scheme is definitely refreshing.

Also, there are some awesome fight scenes in NIGHTWING/MAGILLA GORILLA SPECIAL #1. Seriously, that Magilla Gorilla is a giant beast of brute force and animal instinct in this issue. Fighting alongside Nightwing, he really packs a punch. For me, I’ll never look at the beloved gorilla the same way again. The visuals do a fantastic job at capturing that primal rage, in both Magilla Gorilla and Grape Ape.


All in all, this DC/Hanna-Barbera crossover is pretty great. Frankly speaking, I was skeptical at first about a Nightwing-Magilla Gorilla team up. However, I’ll admit, this partnership somehow works. Surprisingly, the two had more in common with each other than I thought. Truly, an interesting reimagining of classic Hanna-Barbera characters. Also, the artwork by Tom Grummett is awesome.

Unlike the darkness usually found in Gotham and Bludhaven, the bright colors in this issue are vibrant and refreshing. And the fight scenes seriously pack a punch, capturing the primal rage of a gorilla. In terms of a murder mystery, it’s not bad. There are some moments, like the fortune teller scene, that do distract from the plot. It’s a simple, straightforward kind of mystery story.

However, Heath Corson does a wonderful job weaving Nightwing’s history into this story. When Nightwing and Magilla talk about the importance of family in both of their lives, it’s a heartwarming sentiment. And it’s nice to see Dick Grayson reminiscing on his circus days. Overall, NIGHTWING/MAGILLA GORILLA SPECIAL #1 is definitely a crossover worth checking out.

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