The 70th issue of Nightwing wastes no time bringing in high stakes.
Previously, Ric Grayson had been brainwashed by the Court of Owls to fight as a Talon on their team. He had left the involuntary employment of this evil cult, and has since been trying to remember who he is and his relation to the Nightwings.
This issue does a fantastic job in dealing with the struggle of Ric’s battle to remember who he is, while figuring out who he wants to be as a person. He has vague memories of Barbara Gordon, but doesn’t know if he can trust her. He doesn’t know who he can trust, and Dan Jurgens seamlessly writes the inner battle Ric faces with himself. DC has rebooted a few times at this point, and Nightwing’s titles have suffered as a direct result – but this particular story of Ric being brainwashed into an enemy by the Court of Owls is believable and well written.
We also have the return of the Joker, who is wandering the streets of Bludhaven searching for the real Nightwing among several people posing as Nightwing. If a Nightwing holds a gun, we can assume that is not Ric Grayson. The Joker doesn’t care who he has to kill in order to find Ric, and he is relentless in taking out anyone who gets in his way. He is on a killing spree until he finds the “real” Nightwing.
At one point, the Joker is gathering information from somebody named “Slappy” (Yes, that really his name), and hands him a cigar to smoke on which explodes in his face, killing him. This iteration of the Joker is just killing, no jokes. It just doesn’t seem in character for the Joker. He tells jokes, and then does something evil and manaical. But we will see where this goes as the story continues.
In terms of storytelling, there is not a whole lot of content here. It is not a bad story – I am here for anything related to the Court of Owls – but don’t come to this issue to see a lot of plot beats happening… yet. I am emphasizing the “yet” because I do think this is going to piece itself together in a very interesting way as more issues connect the dots.
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