Nightwing #74 – Dan Jurgens, Writer; Ryan Benjamin, Penciller; Richard Friend, Inker; Rain Beredo, Colorist
Ray – 4/10
Ray: It’s sort of fitting that the Ric Grayson era, which began as a disaster, would end as one as well. Dan Jurgens has built a pretty good run on this title, but it’s at its weakest when it’s bogged down in crossovers. Now that Dick has his fourth personality—the sadistic “Dickyboy,” in service to the Joker—his reunion with his family threatens to turn bloody. He immediately turns on Jason and Tim—who is back in the Robin costume, despite looking and acting a lot like Damian at different points in the story. While Tim tries to disarm a bomb that Punchline has set, Jason and the mad Dick fight as Dick hits all his brother’s weak spots and brings him to the breaking point. The only one who can potentially stop this before the family is torn apart forever is Bea, who has the crystal that was used to hack Dick’s memories and has the potential to fix them for good. It’s about time—this crystal macguffin has largely taken over the title for the last six months.
Unlike Ric and the Court of Owls version, this personality doesn’t really seem to have much to it beyond random sadism. I suppose that makes sense—after all, Joker isn’t known for his complex and nuanced personality—but it’s still not particularly entertaining to read. Barbara jumps into the fray, helping to fight off Dick’s attack despite her own trauma—which is mentioned but not really addressed, and she seems to be operating at 100% despite just having spinal surgery. By the end of the issue, this plot seems to finally be done with and Dick has his memories restored, leading to a reunion with the family that has some very good lines but seems more than a bit rushed. The ending writes out Bea, ending her story on a sad note despite her being one of the more promising parts of the Ric Grayson era. Dan Jurgens had one of the toughest jobs in comics over the last year-plus, and he mostly stuck the landing. But I have more faith in his writing once he actually gets to write Nightwing again.
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GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.