Blüdhaven is burning! Ric Grayson and the Nightwings are helpless against the rampage of Burnback. Will they be able to pull themselves together as a team in order to prevent Blüdhaven from becoming ash? Confronted with their most dire threat yet, Ric and the Nightwings must find a way to come together if lives are to be saved.
While the chain of events after Dick lost his memory to a bullet in the head has been bewildering to say the least, veteran writer Dan Jurgens has pulled this ragtag group of Nightwings together for a solid story with an emotional twist.
Let’s start with what works in this issue before we get into the shortcomings. The story is memorable mainly because of the emotional context that is revealed towards the climax. Dick, or Ric as he is currently being called, is acting as a guardian to the new team inspired by his former hero persona but he still feels like a man out of place in his own life. The dramatic reasons for Burnback’s rage turn this story from one of devastation to one of sorrow, but this concrete emotion is very welcome in a story filled with such doubt.
Establishing real ties to Ric’s current life is an obvious objective for the creative team, but the difficulty is how do you do that when the character has no memories of everyone who he should be tied to? At his core, Ric once donned the uniform as Nightwing to save the people he cared for. Burnback’s rage burning through Blüdhaven offered the perfect opportunity to connect this lost character to a purpose he has long known.
Being a hero.
While all of this is a pleasant addition to the current overarching narrative, the story continues to feel disjointed. Separated between wanting to focus on this up and coming team of Nightwings while also introducing Ric into the fray. Ultimately, I’m here for Grayson. Not Nightwing Gold or Blue or Red. As the series continues to juggle how to approach these various characters, its strength will be founded on its ability to eventually bring Ric Grayson back into the forefront without completing ignoring the team of Nightwings.
I wasn’t sold initially on the concept of a team taking over the legacy of Grayson as Nightwing, but now that we know more about the magnitude of Ric’s journey to becoming his former self, this team manages to keep the ball rolling in a satisfying way. Do I want them to permanently take over? Of course not. But their prominence in Ric’s journey of self discovery is uniquely interesting.
The artwork spearheaded by Cliquet’s illustrations is effective in what it seeks to accomplish, though it also isn’t particularly mind blowing. Some of the panels are great, thanks in part to Nick Filardi’s colors, but the facial expressions felt off on multiple occasions. Still, it’s a solid book.
As we shift into the Year of the Villain arc, it will be interesting to see how Ric’s importance continues to grow, and if these rather drastic events will usher him back into the role as the original Nightwing!
While Team Nightwing hasn't particularly been all that thrilling so far, 'Nightwing #61' pulls the ragtag group together for an emotionally engaging story that finally feels worthwhile.
Nightwing #61: A Man’s Hate for His Plight
- Writing - 8/108/10
- Storyline - 8/108/10
- Art - 8.5/108.5/10
- Color - 8.5/108.5/10
- Cover Art - 8.5/108.5/10