Nightwing is Back! Or is he? (He is…)

The Ric Grayson saga is over.

A special anniversary edition brings the Dark Knight’s first protege back into his favored costume and ties up some loose ends from the last two years.

Nightwing 75
Written by Dan Jurgens
Pencils and Inks by Travis Moore and Ronan Cliquet
Colors by Nick Filardi

Now that JOKER WAR is behind us and the control the clown had over Nightwing has been broken, Dick Grayson finally has his rightful memories back. He’s no longer a loner cab driver in Blüdhaven, and he’s welcomed back by the heroes he’s had as part of his family nearly all of his life.

It should have been a fairly simple wrap; after spending 2 years (or “months” as it’s explained in the issue) fighting against the life he’d built because he didn’t remember it, everything goes back to normal and the adventures of Nightwing continue, right? Excuse me, but this is an extra-sized anniversary issue, so we needed something to pad out those loose ends being tied up.

The 75th post-Rebirth issue of Nightwing begins with Dick Grayson fighting an existential battle of whether or not he should go back to being Nightwing, or wearing his old costume. He still plans on fighting crime, protecting others, doing good deeds, but how he does that is a question. He’s still wearing the suit Joker made him wear when Grayson was under Joker’s control as he bristles against Batman and Batgirl telling him that they want him back to the way things were. Thankfully, a graveside conversation with Alfred, who was killed in Batman’s war with Bane (while Dick was Ric), helps clear Grayson’s head.

The opening half of the issue felt kind of tacked on as padding. It gave Grayson a chance to privately say goodbye to Alfred, which was nice as a framing device, but all the vignettes within it felt forced. And before you know it, Nightwing is back in his costume. At least they didn’t stretch that decision out over a few issues, I suppose.

The rest of the issue is about those loose ends. First, it’s the crew of Nightwings who started patrolling Blüdhaven in Grayson’s absence. He gets them all together, politely tells them to knock it off (without admitting that he was the mysterious cabbie who was helping them out) and this collection of beleaguered civil servants agree. They let Nightwing know they’ll be there for him if Nightwing ever needs backup. I assume we’ll never see any of them again.

And then Grayson heads off to find Bea, the woman he started dating as Ric. The bartender only knows him as a down-and-out cabbie and now, all of a sudden, she’s dating a superhero who is also the adopted son of Bruce Wayne. Grayson tells her he wants to continue dating, but their tender moment is broken up by KGBeast, the man who shot Grayson in the head. He’s been publicly shamed for not actually killing Nightwing, so he’s back in Blüdhaven to finish the job.

Maybe Grayson had the right idea when he considered not becoming Nightwing again.

Everything is back the way it should be, for the most part. I am eternally grateful that writer Dan Jurgens took over this title midway through the Ric Grayson arc. He made this mess entirely readable. Hopefully, he gets some time to play with the one, true Nightwing.