Bernard Brogan and Paddy Andrews were the scorers-in-chief as Dublin sent out a message of intent with an excellent display against reigning Allianz Football League champions Cork.
Aidan Walsh's 12th-minute goal drew Cork level before a brace of points each from Andrews and defender Jack McCaffrey gave Dublin a 0-11 to 0-04 buffer at the break.
A 43rd-minute penalty from Diarmuid Connolly edged them further ahead. Donncha O'Connor replied with a similar effort nine minutes later, but late scores from Brogan, Andrews and Cian O'Sullivan settled the issue, 1-18 to 2-09
In this clash between the All-Ireland champions of 2010 and 2011, it was the Dubs who got off to the brighter start.
They led 0-04 to 0-01 after 11 minutes courtesy of a brace of scores from a highly impressive Brogan, and one each from Connolly and Andrews.
Cork's initial point came from rookie John O'Rourke, but he was soon joined on the scoresheet by midfielder Walsh who burst through via a neat offload by Colm O'Neill before unleashing an unstoppable low shot past the stranded Stephen Cluxton.
The concession of that goal brought Gavin's experimental side back down to earth after a flying start, but they responded emphatically with three quick points in succession from Brogan (free), Michael Darragh Macauley and Andrews.
The pacy Paul Kerrigan was, as ever, showing the way for Cork in front of goal.
Two terrific points from his trusty right boot reduced the margin to the minimum.
The fare had been of a high quality up to this point, but an unfortunate injury to Dublin corner forward Paul Mannion, following a clash with team-mate Paul Flynn, disrupted the pattern of the play.
When the play resumed after a delay of six minutes, it was the Leinster champions who found the extra gear, with Mannion's replacement, St Brigid's Philly Ryan, and attacking half-back McCaffrey both finding their range.
O'Rourke fired over from distance in the early moments of stoppage time, but further scores from the increasingly influential McCaffrey and Andrews - his third - gave Dublin a 0-11 to 1-04 cushion heading into the second half.
The in-form Brogan fisted over his third point from play shortly after the restart, but scores for the Rebels either side of it through Fintan Goold and Walsh reduced their arrears to three.
One of the pivotal moments in the game for Dublin saw referee Eddie Kinsella award them a penalty after the lively Ryan was hauled down in the square by Eoin Cadogan.
Connolly made no mistake with his penalty attempt. Both he and a rejuvenated Andrews raised subsequent white flags as Dublin opened up a seven-point lead with just 20 minutes left to play.
Conor Counihan's side received a lifeline a couple of minutes later when they were also awarded a penalty as a result of foul by Darren Daly on substitute Ciaran Sheehan.
O'Connor finishing expertly to the net and there was now every chance that Cork could stage a dramatic comeback.
Yet Dublin did not allow the concession of a second goal to faze them and a couple of close-in frees from Brogan in the 57th and 58th minutes helped to settle any nerves some of their younger players may have been feeling.
It was 11 minutes before Dublin could add to those scores, but all Cork could muster in the same spell was a third O'Rourke point.
With the outstanding Andrews and Kilmacud Crokes clubman Cian O'Sullivan chipping in with late scores, Gavin's first league game in charge finished in a very satisfying win.
DUBLIN: Stephen Cluxton; Johnny Cooper, Rory O'Carroll, Kevin O'Brien; Darren Daly, Ger Brennan, Jack McCaffrey (0-02); Michael Darragh Macauley (0-01), Emmet O'Conghaile; Paul Flynn, Paddy Andrews (0-05), Paddy Quinn; Paul Mannion, Diarmuid Connolly (1-02, 1-00 pen), Bernard Brogan (0-06, 0-03f).
Subs used: Philly Ryan (0-01) for Mannion (32 mins), Cian O'Sullivan (0-01) for Macauley (46), Ciaran Reddin for Quinn (54), Darragh Nelson for Daly (63), Shane Carthy for O'Conghaile (67).
CORK: Ken O'Halloran; Eoin Cadogan, Tom Clancy, Jamie O'Sullivan; Paudie Kissane, Tomas Clancy, Damien Cahalane; Andrew O'Sullivan, Aidan Walsh (1-01); Fintan Goold (0-01), Pearse O'Neill, John O'Rourke (0-03); Colm O'Neill, Donncha O'Connor (1-02, 1-00 pen, 0-02f), Paul Kerrigan (0-02).
Subs used: Ciaran Sheehan for P O'Neill, Graham Canty for Cahalane (both 50 mins), Alan O'Connor for Goold (56), Barry O'Driscoll for Walsh (63).
Referee: Eddie Kinsella (Laois)