Nightwing 74 hits shelves this week from DC comics, and with the Batman title reaching its climax in the Joker War, Nightwing finally joins the fray. This issue ties into the Joker War story line, and the war for Grayson’s soul comes to an end.
Nightwing 74 – A Family Feud
Grayson just cannot seem to catch a break these days. If we back all the way up to Batman 55, Richard Grayson was shot in the head by KGBeast. The wound cost Dick his memories and cost us our hero. He went from Dick to Ric and tried to give up on crime fighting, but when something runs in one’s blood, it’s not so easy to walk away from. Ric teams up with some of Bludhaven’s citizens to form Team Nightwing.
Now Ric has lost even that as his mind is now under the control of Joker. Dickyboy as he calls himself also plays for the other side now. After already having had one surprise tangle with Red Hood, Dickyboy comes out as a source of the Joker’s insanity. Instead of squaring off against Joker’s goons he turns on Robin and Red Hood. I don’t care how good you think you are Jason Todd, but you cannot stand against the martial prowess of Grayson, especially when Robin has to go defuse a bomb.
Thankfully for Red Hood, Batgirl happens to be in the area and gets the drop on Dickyboy, but her surprise does not last long. Not only does Dickyboy knock her back, but Batgirl loses the crystal she just stole from Joker and needed to defeat the brainwashing.
Nightwing 74 – The Super Without a Suit
All that is what is going on in this issue, but in many ways it is not the story here. The real story, the real hero, turns out to be Bea. When push comes to shove the winner is Ric’s girlfriend. This issue starts with her wandering the streets of Gotham muttering how she hates this city. She then stumbles onto the battle of the Bat-brats.
As I said this issue becomes a battle for the soul of Grayson. As Grayson holds a gun against Red Hood and Batgirl, the struggle ensues. Does Joker control Grayson? Or is there enough Grayson left in the brainwashed mind to not pull the trigger. Grayson begins to struggle with the decision to pull the trigger, but the true hero steps up.
No cape. No armor. No training. Just a girl who believes in the soul of her man. Bea steps between Batgirl and Grayson with the crystal. She pleads with, not Dickyboy, not Ric, but Dick Grayson to return.
Nightwing 74 – Memories and the Next Steps
I really love the next few pages. We get to follow Grayson’s mind as it struggles back through all the memories of his life. The use of the four panels that follows his mental journey are incredible. The panels start with a dark, shadowed outline of Grayson, but as you read left to right, he not only looks at us but light spills across his features. Richard Grayson is BACK!
The next few pages are quite touching and I’ll leave them for you to read through. The writers did an excellent job concluding this lost identity story line. Richard Grayson has been gone a long time, so for the first time in a long time things feel normal again….but where did Bea go? In his return did Dick just lose Bea?
We will have to wait for the future to find out, but first there is a War to finish!