Nightwing #76 is the impactful story that I have been wanting from this series for quite a few issues. Wingnuts, get ready for a tear jerker that might make you angry or come to realize that a major change is coming to DC Comics. What a long, strange trip it’s been, between Rebirth, the head shot, Ric and the Nightwings, then it all coming together with the Joker War.
SPOILERS AHEAD for Nightwing #76
We were teased moments in parts with issue #74 bringing back Dick Grayson and his memories, while Batman #99 showed the costume and #100 finally gave us the full show. Last issue was all right, but it served as setup for what I felt was the payback fans wanted to see. Let’s jump right in and check out what goes on inside this issue.
The issue opens with a flashback to Batman #55 where Nightwing was shot, and artist Ronan Cliquet does a great job of recreating Tony Daniel’s art from that page. Ronan does such a great job of showcasing an angry Nightwing who is mopping the floor with KGBeast, which was what we needed to see. The anger inside Grayson shows up very nicely here as this was a huge cost to his life. Plus, KGBeast didn’t just start back up again by deciding to go after just Nightwing; instead, he begins with taking Bea hostage.
The thing that I loved about this issue was, just like Bea observes, is this “feel(s) like I’m seeing Dick Grayson…for the first time.” That was spot on because for too long we’ve see Ric in his makeshift costume all while buying a comic called Nightwing, so that was very refreshing and the moment I have been waiting for. A true return to form.
Dan Jurgens really did an awesome job coming in and course correcting this comic book series. Sadly the “hero remains alone” trope gets played here, but I do wonder how much of that was due to the upcoming DC Future State? Yes. it’s a common trope, but I do like the way Jurgens plays it here. It really does invoke emotion, as when I was first reading it I was angry about this decision but when I saw Dick Grayson’s reaction I felt that it wasn’t an easy thing to do, which helped make that pill easier to swallow. That moment when Bea tells him off and walks away was very powerful, and those thought boxes really helped to paint out Dick’s decision. Plus, the flashback panels to Bruce telling him that life won’t work that way hammers the point home to Dick as he removes his mask and has a human moment before jumping back into the night.
It’s a shame — while the Ric era was too long, that isn’t to say that some good didn’t come from it. For instance, the new Nightwings characters were a fun group, and we get to see Hutch again, which gives me hope for their future. Next issue seems to be the last (for a while?) and it will be interesting to see more of the fallout from this. I have to say it has been a bumpy ride, but issues like this make it worthwhile. It’s great to see Dick Grayson back as Nightwing again, but it’s a bitter reminder of the toll that it can bring.
Nightwing #76 is a much needed issue where we finally see Nightwing let loose on KGBeast after all that fallout from the shooting. This was such an emotional roller coaster — it did utilize a classic lone hero trope, but it was played very nicely by the creative team to make it worthwhile.
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