Nightwing Annual #2 – Dan Jurgens, Writer; Travis Moore, Artist; Nick Filardi, Colorist
Ray – 8/10
Corrina: I Smell a Retcon
Ray: The Ric Grayson era of Nightwing has been troubled, to say the least – starting with a status quo that made little sense, and then partially sidelining Dick to focus on a group of replacement Nightwings using the costumes to engage in some casual police brutality.
But under Dan Jurgens, some hints of promise have emerged – and Nightwing Annual #2 pulls them to the fore, with a flashback story that makes the whole run fit together a lot better and introduces a larger plan that poses a threat to the entire Bat-family. The months after Dick was shot have been a blank for the reader, but now we see what happened right after he woke up out of the coma. Bruce had hired a brilliant neurosurgeon and therapist, Dr. Isabella Haas, to oversee Dick’s recovery, and she guided him back to health – but couldn’t restore his memories, and Bruce’s attempts to reconnect to his son only seemed to make things worse.
Honestly, this isn’t a comic that makes Bruce look great. He and Damian (for whom acting like a jerk is nothing new) attempt to repeatedly force Dick into remembering, and an attempt at shock therapy goes particularly poorly. Dick spends more time with Haas, and a memory from his childhood when he spent Thanksgiving with some distant relatives while his parents were still alive holds extra importance – as does a specific book with a familiar bird motif. What starts as a psychological study of a recovering brain injury patient becomes something very different, as we get a better idea of who’s been manipulating Dick all along, and who is invested in making sure he doesn’t remember anything. We said all along that brain injuries don’t work that way, and we may have been right. Jurgens has made this whole era somewhat more compelling, and now it looks like he’s going to bring it home with a major story that will hopefully restore the Nightwing we all love.
Corrina: This is not a great comic. As Ray said, the entire Bat-Family seems out-of-character. And the creative team is still stuck using a character who seemingly recovered just fine from a bullet to the head. (No dealing with any fallout from traumatic brain injury.) And Nightwing Annual #2 recaps, once again, how we got to the Ric era.
What it does do is set up a retcon that makes it easy to undo the “Ric” era by “revealing” that Dick’s doctor basically erased his memory because she was a member of the Court of Owls. It there’s also a suggestion that Dick recovered specifically because the Court of Owls have some means to heal his body as well (I mean, they create immortal Talons, so…) that’s all fine too. Perhaps that can be used to hand-wave away the lack of physical fallout from being shot in the head.
In other words, the setup in Nightwing Annual #2 will clearly lead to Dick Grayson being back, with all his memories and physical skills intact. Which is a good thing as the entire concept of “Ric” Grayson never worked at all.
To find reviews of all the DC issues, visit DC This Week.
Disclaimer: GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.