The big moment is finally here in Nightwing #74: the return of Dick Grayson! I am very surprised that the change happened here and not in the next big, anniversary numbered issue, but it helps as this will give us more to celebrate and experience in issue #75. So what about the current issue? Let us take a look at the end of the Ric and “Dickyboy’s” stories.
The issue opens with the real hero of this story: Bea. You can’t help but feel so bad for her by the end of this issue. How brave of her to choose letting a person be who they are meant to be instead of keeping them the way you want them to be — really speaks volumes of her character. Her intro puts her right in Gotham City where she sees “Dickyboy,” Red Hood, and Drake in action, and this is the part of the issue that I struggle with: crossover tie-in syndrome.
In one panel, Red Hood finally decides to notice that Grayson is off-kilter, and then recognizes the costume from a battle in Red Hood #48. What gets me is why didn’t he notice last issue? Why wait till they’re at the hospital and then realize the truth? For the sake of story and I get it, but I wish it would’ve been a better reveal instead of a short dialogue and editor’s box.
Once that reveal happens, the main drive of the story begins with Grayson taking on Red Hood and Drake to help stop them from defusing the bomb. Luckily, a divide and conquer tactic is used to help the heroes win. These issues all haveto be a tie-in to “Joker War” over in the Batman books, and while they have held up pretty good, now that we are getting close to a conclusion there will be some rushed plot and editor’s boxes to tell you where to go. I didn’t really notice in the previous issues as they drove along nicely, but this one does feel shoehorned in to meet the deadline of issue #75 and the “Joker War” conclusion. Sadly, some of the characters will suffer from “guest star weakness” — Red Hood gets it in spades by showing what a weak detective and fighter he is, and Drake seems like a Damian Wayne knock off here.
Luckily, in the action pages, we are treated to Batgirl and Bea using the crystal to get Grayson back in the right state of mind. I really enjoyed these pages, and it reminded me why I like this character and how big a role he plays in the DC Universe. There are some beautiful moments from John and Mary Grayson along with the rest of the Bat-family. Once Grayson gets his head on straight, Batman appears out of nowhere to confirm the mental status return. It was a nice touch to use his last lines as Nightwing back in Batman #55.
It was great to see the Bat-family together before the big “Joker War” conclusion. It really does leave Bea, the true hero, out in the cold, but that is what it’s meant to do. I can’t wait to see how Bea and Dick Grayson handle their future in the next issue.
Overall, this is a good issue that hardcore Wingnuts will be excited to read as the surprising return of Dick Grayson happens here. The story is decent, but does suffer due to crossover tie-ins, but this is really about the return of Dick and Bea’s heroism, which make this worthwhile.