Nightwing #76 – Dan Jurgens, Writer; Ronan Cliquet, Artist; Nick Filardi, Colorist
Ray – 7/10
Ray: The final curtain falls on the Ric Grayson era in a story that emphasizes Jurgens’ strengths as a writer—but also the overall weakness of the status quo he had to work with. When we left off, KG Beast had returned to avenge his one bad shot by killing Dick Grayson, and took Bea hostage in the process. Of course, this is the oldest trope in the book, and I was dreading anything happening to her to set Dick back on his path as a hero. Thankfully, that’s subverted—she gets one good shot in, escapes, and then steps back while Dick deals out some payback to KG Beast. The fight here is high-octane, brutal, and packed with anger, but Dick proves his heroic bona fides in the end by saving the villain from certain death at the end of the fight. A brief appearance by Hutch, the most competent and heroic of the replacement Nightwings, ends that story on a good note as well.
But then there’s Bea, and as soon as she and Dick reunited after the fight, I had a bad feeling. Sure enough, Dick decides to protect her from the life he lives by lying to her and saying he no longer has feelings for her. She reacts angrily and leaves, he feels terrible, and we get all sorts of flashbacks to Bruce telling Dick that people like them aren’t meant for that kind of stable relationship with a civilian. This is the kind of toxic thinking that Alfred spent years trying to drum out of the Bats, for the record, and Dick has always been the one who seemed to have the best balance of his superhero life with his civilian life. Bea never really established herself too much outside the standard tropes of superhero love interests, but she seemed like a decent enough character. Having her forced out of the title because “that’s how it has to be” when it seems pretty clear that Dick didn’t really have a reason for it was disappointing.
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GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.