Nightwing #59 – Dan Jurgens, Writer; Chris Mooneyham, Artist; Nick Filardi, Colorist
Ray – 6/10
Ray: The good news is, Nightwing is finally in the hands of a competent writer again. Dan Jurgens may have his ups and downs, but he’s rarely delivered an actively bad comic over a twenty-five-year career. The bad news is, this is still the Ric Grayson era of the character in Nightwing #59 and there’s only so much even a talented creator could do with that nonsense status quo. Jurgens wisely ditches some of the dumbest flourishes, fast-forwarding Ric’s rehab again to the point where he’s near his normal skill levels and is just missing some memories. More akin to the damage from a blow to the head rather than a hole in it, but I’ll take it. The story pairs Ric with fireman Malcolm Hutch, the most level-headed of the new “Nightwings”. Hutch is trying to train Ric to set him up for his new affiliation with the Nightwings, and it’s kind of interesting to see Ric restrain himself just enough to get Hutch off his back.
Hutch’s backstory, though, is much less interesting. It feels like it’s straight out of a middling TV procedural, and explains why he left the Bludhaven PD. His commanding officer was shot during one of his earliest ride-alongs as an academy trainee and has been in a coma ever since. It’s not clear if he actually has any responsibility for this tragedy, but the officer’s daughter sure does and makes clear she hates both him and the entire BPD. I’m not sure if we were supposed to sympathize with her or not, but she was written sort of over-the-top. The mystery, involving a series of arsons targeting the police, ends in a strong action segment involving Ric and Hutch trying to evacuate people from an inferno. But the reveal of the villain – some sort of mutant cross between Clayface and Brimstone – looks good but falls flat because this is a mystery with only two suspects. It’s definitely a marked improvement over the previous creative teams, and Hutch is the best of the Nightwings but there’s only so much to do with this status quo.
Corrina: I remain baffled as to the point of this whole Ric thing, especially since, as a person who did suffer a traumatic brain injury, Ric shouldn’t be engaged in sparring or fighting of any kind at all.
So now the bullet through the head is an afterthought or something. I like getting past this mess but it doesn’t make the whole plot any better. (Of course, DC Editorial is making some odd decisions lately, like changing how Krypton exploded.)
Such a hot mess of a book.
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Disclaimer: GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.