Here we are at the last issue of the Rebirth era of the Nightwing series; it has had quite the change especially with Ric Grayson and the Nightwings but in the end the status quo returned Dick to the original mantle. Now we are on the verge of things happening with Nightwing in Dark Nights: Death Metal: the Last Stories of the DC Universe, which I would recommend after reading this issue and before Future State.
Overall, I was really impressed with Dan Jurgens’ tenure here at Nightwing — he provided the perfect course correction to give me hope in buying this series issue after issue, and really saved the book from the freefall that it found itself in. Jurgens took the controversial Ric era and made it a worthwhile story arc. Let’s see what he gives for this parting issue, which doubles as a holiday issue!
SPOILERS AHEAD for Nightwing #77!
Ronan Cliquet does a beautiful job opening this issue up with Nightwing and Batman swinging through a festive Gotham City while on the job for two cases. I like this version of Batman’s character as he is inviting and insisting that Dick come over to celebrate Christmas with the family; it does seem out of character for Bruce, but maybe after almost losing Dick and the events of Joker War, this has awoken something inside him to start cherishing family? I like it! The funny part is that Dick is the one who is very reluctant to come over, as he is still sorting through his feelings and trying to understand what would be his normal since the changes and even losing Bea. This is so awesome that there is still some emotion there from those times.
Back to the adventure, we see Batman and Nightwing separate to solve these cases quickly. Dick realizes that he doesn’t have the flashy, fantastic case, but instead has a simple ransomware case. Dick is played egotistical against a demanding victim who wants the better hero so those clashes are interesting for Dick to be in all the while forcing him to rise above it and be the better hero; which he actually does get to do in this case. Luckily, with some help from the IT guy, he is made aware that the tech villain is actually inside the building and that leads him on a wild goose chase all just to discover he has been had. Always a good thing to take the ego down a notch from time to time.
I love that Jurgens puts Nightwing in a place where he has to defend his honor, but learning about the criminal in this case, he really does have to decide how to “rise above it.” This is just one of those perfect “Christmas Miracle” stories that hits the heart in the right way at this season. I even appreciate the self-reflection that Nightwing undergoes about how the usual way he goes about these cases, but in this case he really has to think more towards the morality of what his actions can do.
In a very fitting way, Nightwing comes around to the idea of being with family at Christmas and uses Batman’s superpower of money to help in a great way to give that second chance and hope for a happy ending. Yes this is sappy, but it’s the holidays, and the hero did more than just fight the bad guys — he actually helped.
Nightwing #77 is great ending to a series that had lost its way, but returned to greatness. This issue showcases a perfect holiday miracle by showing a hero who uses his heart, and is a perfect example of why we and the DCU love Dick Grayson.
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