It’s been a couple of months since we have seen an issue of Nightwing, and Mr. Grayson has been on some crazy adventures, including getting shot and losing his memories, then leaving behind Nightwing and becoming Ric Grayson. The comic book itself has also been on a roller coaster with creative changes, but I think Dan Jurgens is here as writer to help Mr. Grayson get his bearings back. In this issue he is joined by artist Ronan Cliquet, who brings the action.
Now it might be hard to remember what has been happening, so some quick recaps can help to catch you up to speed:
Previously, three cops and a firefighter have become the “Nightwings” and started protecting Bludhaven, which led to Ric joining up with them. The Talons came along and tried to reclaim Ric as their own with the aid of Dr. Haas and her memory crystal. Luckily, the Talons were stopped and Dr. Haas’ plan failed, but this put one of the Nightwings in the hospital, has two of them questioning their place as superheroes, and put one on a course right to the Joker. That encounter wasn’t pretty at all.
Back to this issue. Ric is having a heart to heart with Bea about his headaches, only to be interrupted by police sirens. This causes Ric to get into his makeshift Nightwing costume and help out, which to me feels like a good sign that Dick Grayson is starting to return as this could show his habits as a hero are returning. Once Ric is gone, we see someone coming down the stairs of Bea’s bar and they do not seem friendly. Ric does a great job handling himself while in action yet does manage to get tossed aside which takes us to a new clue: a joker card.
The scene changes to the hospital where Detective “Sap” Sapienza is and he is badly beaten and about to undergo surgery; Sap is the leader of the Nightwings, who had the confrontation with the Joker last issue. As he is about to have surgery, one of the other Nightwings rushes in and Sap manages to get out that the Joker attacked him, but sadly after that, Sap flatlines. Could this be another victim of the Joker, or is this just suspense till next issue?
The final scene takes us back to Bea’s bar in which we see that the Joker is there messing with Bea, and luckily Ric comes in before any harm can come to her. This is the best part of the comic as we get informed of how much the Joker knows, yet it is questionable enough that it might not be the whole story.
Joker does call Ric by all his names (Dick, Richard Grayson, Robin, and Nightwing) but that could also be left over from Nightwing’s identity being exposed in Forever Evil. Yet Joker does go into finer details and mentions Wayne but there is still a chance that Joker has not connected Wayne to Batman. Then for the last part of their “discussion”, Joker pulls out the memory crystal and begins to tell Ric a story of his past — of course, some of it is changed. No joking.
This issue felt like the story mattered and it had depth to it. Not to dismiss what has happened before, but Dick Grayson/Nightwing has been Ric since issue #50, so this feels like we are on the path to something big. Dan Jurgens taking over the book has been a great direction and helps to make it count again. This issue’s art is very smooth and clean, along with dynamic scenes of action. Nightwing might be the book that benefits most from the upcoming “Joker War” crossover. Pick it up today.