The Joker War is over. Joker fled for the hills, leaving only random goons to clean up. Ric returns to being Dick Grayson with his full memories and abilities as well, so what could be wrong? Nightwing 75 does exactly what you think it will do in a wonderful, oversized issue. Dick may be back, but after any major, life-altering event, the experience makes one sit back and contemplate life. Nightwing 75 devotes itself to precisely that. Everyone who knew Dick act happy he’s his old self, but is Dick happy to be his old self?
I love this issue. While the subject matter may be telegraphed, the writers do an excellent job executing the story. Donna and Garth from the Teen Titans swing by and express their thankfulness Dick has returned. Dick spends a night of fighting next to his life-long friend Batgirl, and then finally with Daddy himself, Batman. Even though they are all glad to have Dick/Nightwing back, the writers do an amazing job laying out the self doubt in Dick’s mind.
For starters, Dick refuses to wear the traditional Nightwing outfit while busting chops. He wears the odd and ugly uniform he wore as Ric with the white arms and red stripes. Everyone wants Dick back in his traditional black and blue, but Dick can’t do it. His soul remains torn between his original life and the life he lived as Ric where he could actually be happy. Batman even lays a trap that leads Nightwing and himself back to where Nightwing fought Batgirl. Batman hangs a traditional Nightwing suit from the supports in hopes Dick will switch into it.
Of course he does. The cover alone gives as much away. Then the writers give it a nice touch by sending Nightwing to Team Nightwing, telling them to stand down. When they doubt their worth without the Team Nightwing roles, Dick gives an awesome speech about how important each of them is in the roles they perform normally.
Nightwing 75 – The Real Full Circles
That starts the first full circle, but three more circles need to be closed. The first is a brilliant stroke of genius from the writing team. Throughout all of Nightwing 75, Dick confides in someone. Dick bares his sole throughout the entire issue to someone off page. All we know is that the responses come in gray boxes. The responses are honest, caring and heartfelt. It feels like Batman or someone close to Dick, but Bruce can’t be that open with feelings. Then Batman hits on the source of the problem. I will not spoil the rest of the interaction or the pages that follow. It must be read.
Circle three you know has to come – Bea. She became the center of Ric’s life, played the key, pivotal role in transforming Ric back into Dick Grayson, and then fled. You knew Dick needed to address her, and so Dick talks with Bea. Bea feels so small and insignificant in Dick’s new superhero, Justice League world, but Dick fiercely holds on to Bea and his love for her. Maybe they can make it work. Maybe they cannot, but they will do it together.
Then of course comes the final circle, the one who started this mess in the first place – KG Beast! Anatoli Knyazev sits in a bar early in this issue, attempting to drown his pains. Some Russian idiots tease him for not finishing Nightwing (and then pay the price), so we knew he would return from the beginning. This time Beast will not risk any screw ups and decides to kill Nightwing by hand even though he lines up the perfect shot.
Nightwing does not even get his kiss in before KG Beast crashes the bar and ends up with Bea in a stranglehold. You knew the face-off would happen. Like Bane and Bruce, it had too, but with Bea in the middle, Dick may need to make some hard choices earlier rather than later. We shall see how the showdown unravels when DC Comics brings us Nightwing 76!