REVIEW: DC Designer Series Nightwing Statue Brings Jim Lee's Art to Life

With its Designer Series of statues, DC Collectibles has been translating artwork by some of DC's most popular illustrators into fully-realized statues. Previous releases have featured translations of Stanley "Artgerm" Lau's Supergirl, Jenny Frison's Wonder Woman and Ivan Reis' Green Lantern.

The latest offering brings the Batman: Hush-era Nightwing to life, as sculptor Alejandro Pereira translates artist Jim Lee's depiction of the former Boy Wonder into three-dimensions.

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When Hush, a collaboration between Lee and writer Jeph Loeb, was released in 2002-03, it was one of the first times Lee had ever drawn the Dark Knight and his cast of allies and enemies, including Nightwing. Since then, the storyline has been reprinted in numerous formats (including one edition that was shot directly from Lee's un-inked pencil art), adapted into an animated feature and immortalized as an action figure line. Now, Lee's art has been recreated once more, this time as a high-end statue, and the results are impressive.

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Standing nearly 13 inches tall, Pereira's sculpt successfully and faithfully recreates Lee and inker Scott Williams' artwork, while adding additional details of his own. The result is less of a literal translation of the comic's art and more of a collaborative effort, and the statue is better for it.

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Where Lee's Hush art relied on Williams' inks and Alex Sinclair's colors to give Dick Grayson dimension, Pereira's sculpt adds texture and depth to Dick Grayson's muscles and costume, down to the detail of the zipper running down the hero's back (and yes, attention has been paid to Nightwing's iconic butt). The colors are saturated enough to reflect Dick's more upbeat personality, but not to the point of gaudiness; you believe he could operate in the shadows of Gotham City while maintaining his inspirational aura rather than emulating his mentor's desire to strike fear in criminals' hearts.

One of the more fun aspects of the piece is how it deals with translating the movement in Lee's original artwork. While Nightwing's pose is dramatic, it's not exactly dynamic, save for the Escrima stick in his right hand, which the hero is nonchalantly spinning around. Pereira's solution for translating this is to present the stick in Dick's left hand as a solid, silver weapon, while the one in his right consists of several different sticks, each made from a transparent material. The resulting effect is that one stick is stationary, while the other appears to be spinning freely; it's not a perfect solution, but when you stand back a few feet, it works rather nicely.

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The statue avoids the main issue suffered by the line's previous piece, the aforementioned Supergirl. Where that piece attempted to bring its inspiration to life by translating the original artwork's shadows as painted accents, Periera's approach is to let his sculpt and natural lighting do the work. The costume's semi-gloss finish allows naturally occurring highlights and shadows to accentuate Dick's muscles, and the matte paint used for Dick's face effectively delineates the difference between flesh and fabric.

DC Designer Series: Nightwing by Jim Lee, sculpted by Alejandro Pereira, goes on sale August 2019. Limited to a run of 5000 pieces, it will release with a suggested retail price of $150.00.

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