Nightwing #72 is a very dark issue — Dan Jurgens really gets into the headspace of Ric/Dick and Jokerizes it to the max. Before I get ahead of myself, let’s recap and remind ourselves that we are on the verge of some anniversary issues and also a major crossover with the upcoming Joker War.
Nightwing was shot in the head by the KGBeast over in Tom King’s Batman run. Since that happened, Dick Grayson is gone and all that is left is Ric Grayson. Luckily, we now have Dan Jurgens to bring in some consistency and story to the Nightwing series. This book will be something to watch as we are approaching issue #75, and Joker has been heavily involved. So let’s take a leap into this issue and see what awaits!
Artist Ronan Cliquet brings some fantastic art this issue. At first, it’s mostly traditional long horizontal panels with a lot of discussion, but as the book progresses, the panels start to get wild and the action really takes over. I like that as it really helps to elevate the danger that is present and also gives the story an element of suspense with all the shifting of panels and layouts. Also, Ronan’s rendition of Ric with a smile is very creepy and plays nicely to the story.
Colorist Nick Filardi does a great job with the flashback scenes by adding a hazy layer to the art and the palette really pops, especially with Bea’s self-made Bat signal.
Speaking of story, this starts off with the women in Ric’s life getting together since Bea is expressing concern over Ric’s actions from last issue. Bea was knocked out early on and didn’t get to see how the Joker used the Memory Crystal to steal the Boy Wonder over to his side, so she has to trust Ric’s word that he stopped the Joker and everything is fine. Fine enough to even make pancakes, but you better not question Ric about his manners or feelings or he’ll snap. The two panels with him snapping and going back to happy is eerie and well played, which lends a lot of credit to Bea’s suspicions.
Now that Barbara knows all this she decides to track down Ric, and this is confrontation that Dick/Babs fans won’t forget. We first see Ric in his new “Nightwings” costume and he is telling Barbara that he is totally fine and is feeling like an “awesomely true me.” Next, Punchline comes in to break up the moment and I have to say I love the fact that Barbara calls Punchline out as “a Harley wannabe”. I just wonder how many people are thinking the same thing.
Punchline gets in a good slash and things really take a turn when Ric steps in to which we see the turn. Ric lets Punchline paint a bloody smile on his face and he is ready to kill Barbara. Ric knocks out Barbara and then Joker comes along, really calling out the fact that he knows Bruce is Bats and this all ends with the Joker family posing together. I am so glad to be excited for the next issue of Nightwing again.