Tuesday, September 8, 2020

Nightwing #74 Review

Dickyboy No More?

Writer: Dan Jurgens
Artist: Ryan Benjamin, Richard Friend, Rain Beredo, and Andworld Design
Cover Price: $3.99
Release Date: September 8, 2020

It's Joker War tie-in time once again, and while my podcasting co-host, Eric Shea, has been enjoying this Dicky-Boy story more than myself, I warmed up to it a bit last issue with the inclusion of Tim Drake and Jason Todd. Besides a cool setup that puts those two and Batgirl in big trouble, I still hope it leads to what all Nightwing fans want and deserve, Dick Grayson back as Nightwing! I usually say more in these intro paragraphs, but screw it, let's jump into the issue!

The issue opens with Bea searching for Dick/Ric/Dicky-Boy as the three former Robins are about to face some Joker goons. On our podcast (here if you've never listened), we laughed at the idea that Jason Todd didn't recognize Dick after fighting him with a clown mask on in the Red Hood Tie-in and Dan Jurgens fixes that right away. Jason realizes that Dick is not himself and the fight is on! While they fight, Joker and Punchline look on and give a bit of situational recap, which is fine, but I don't love the Joker's dialogue throughout this issue.

Tim finally breaks free to deal with the bomb (remember, Punchline set a bomb to blow up the Alfred Pennyworth Children's Hospital), and Batgirl tags into the match by swinging in and kicking Joker in the face. Now, Jurgen's again tries to make another tie-in work in the timeline setup in this book, but Cecil Castellucci made such a mess out of it in the Batgirl book that Jurgens probably should have just left it alone and called it a day! I don't care at all about that, though, since Babs grabs the memory crystal from the Joker, and I can see the light at the end of this shitty two-year Ric Grayson tunnel! It's just in time, too, as Dickyboy is about to shoot Jason in the face!

I don't think it will surprise anyone that a Children's Hospital (filled with children, by the way) does not blow up here. Yea, Tim defusing the bomb happens off-panel and is a bit anticlimactic, and really, the whole Joker War tie-in story that Jurgens set up ends up not mattering much by the end. The Joker and Punchline just run off to cause murder and mayhem elsewhere, and nobody seems to notice. Why is that? Well, that's a spoiler! I will talk about it below, but you'll have to highlight it to read it...

Dick Grayson is back! Yea, I got emotional just typing that out! Ric Grayson is no more! The Gray Son is no more! Dickyboy is no more! Two years of this bullshit is no more!!! I am not going to say it was the most incredible bunch of scenes, and I wish the art were better for such a big moment, but it is over, and I am sure that fellow Nightwing fans will breathe a huge sigh of relief with me. A shoutout to all those who stuck it out with me through all of this! I feel bad for Bea, though, since she stuck it out with us, so I hope she continues with Dick.

Besides that, the issue ends with the Bat-Family ready to kick some Joker ass while I am just looking forward to what's next with a big smile on my face!

As a Joker War tie-in issue, Dan Jurgen's fumbles his cool setup here. The fight between Jason and Dickyboy wasn't great. The Joker was just a color commentator until he and Punchline bail and the whole "bomb in the hospital" resolved off-panel. Ryan Benjamin's art was inconsistent throughout the issue, and I did not like his character models for any of the former Robins. Though, my score is a "thank you" to Dan Jurgens for getting this book out of the rut has been in for far too long ago. It wasn't perfect, but yet, it was.

This is something that I have never done before, but I thought I should:

Joker War Tie-In score: 5.0/10
Nightwing fan score: 9.0/10

Bits and Pieces:

How you feel about this issue will depend on why you are reading it. Those reading it for the Joker War tie-in might be disappointed by the quick resolution to the cool Dickyboy vs. Jason, Tim, and Batgirl setup, but Nightwing fans probably won't mind one bit! I sometimes go to the "Reviewer 101" book and say, "I can't wait to see what happens next," but I may never have meant it this much!


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