Review: Nightwing #75

Overview: Dick Grayson searches for himself as he sifts through pieces of both Nightwing and Ric.


Synopsis (spoilers ahead): This issue opens in the hotel room Dick has been staying at since regaining his memories. It is Monday. Donna and Garth are there to visit their long lost friend. Nightwing remembers the shooting by KGBeast, his amnesia, and his memory returning. The bad news is that everyone expects instant magic.


All Dick can say is that it is good to see old friends. Donna expects Dick to be thrilled. Dick says that he remembers the earliest days of the Teen Titans. Garth says that those were the best times ever. Dick is low on funds and admits that Bruce is covering the hotel room. Garth asks why Dick doesn’t stay at the manor. Dick admits that Bruce asked, but he declined, saying that it felt weird to him. Dick is still adrift and is trying to figure out who he is. Donna pulls her phone out and shows a selfie she took with the then Teen Titans. She says that without Robin the Titans do not last.


Garth asks Dick to put on the Nightwing gear, and they swing by Titans Tower. The kids will get a thrill. Dick says that he is back, but that does not mean Nightwing is back; he has some stuff that he needs to work through.  The other voice deep down inside tells Richard that he is free to be whomever he desires.


Tuesday in Moscow, we see Anatoli Knyazev (KGBeast) at a bar. He wants another round and the bartender tells him no; any more and there will be trouble. Trouble is going to come anyway. Anatoli puts his claw arm on the bar and asks for two. The Bartender pours him two just as some passersby come over to start trouble. They mock Anatoli saying that he could not miss until his claw was torn off by children (the Teen Titans). He is supposed to be an expert marksman capable of hitting anything except he could not hit the American Nightwing.  He missed and just grazed Nightwing’s head. They tell Anatoli that he shamed his country and it is time for him to retire. They laugh until Anatoli plunges a knife into one of their chests. He stabs another in the bridge of the nose with his claw and then sinks his claw into the abdomen of a third. Anatoli smacks another in the face with a bottle and walks out of the bar. As he leaves, he says that their women will mourn their deaths and forever curse the name of the KGBeast.


Wednesday, Dick and Batgirl are swinging over Gotham.  The inner voice from before says that Dick should look to those who love him for support like Barbara. Dick is wearing the makeshift costume he has been using when he was going by Ric and not the Nightwing suit. The two are on a mission to round up the few stray acolytes of the Joker. As they fight clowns, the two argue about Dick’s suit, with Batgirl believing that he should be wearing his Nightwing attire. The two easily take out all the clowns while Dick affirms that he is here and always will be. After the fight, Dick says that while he was “away,” he was happy. Batgirl says that he could not be happy because he was denying his true essence.  In order to be truly happy, Dick has to be Nightwing.  Dick disagrees, thinking that he knows Barbara wants what is best for him, but the second voice finishes saying that he is concerned it might not be what Dick wants.


Thursday, two hundred miles northwest of Gotham City, the KGBeast is in a plane and preparing to jump. He parachutes in and walks out into the road saying that the fools in the bar were criticizing his aim as a car approaches.  An elderly couple sees the Beast on the road and thinks that the person might need help. KGBeast fires into the car, killing both occupants, and drives off in their car. His aim is fine.


Friday, Batman and Dick are continuing the mop-up operation. The voice asks that Bruce might have the answers Richard is looking for.  Batman and Dick handily take out clowns. Batman asks Dick what is with the outfit. Dick says that this is getting old. He says that it is all what he wears and what he calls himself. Batman just wants Dick to be whole. The two bicker as they chase clowns down the street. Batman wants Dick back in the game, and Dick says that he is but stops when he realizes where they are. He accuses Batman of engineering this; Batman chased the clowns in the direction of the cage where Joker forced Dick to fight Batgirl. Hanging over the cage is the Nightwing suit.  Batman admits that he maneuvered Dick to the cage. Dick tells Batman that he already has the life he wants.  Batman, however, says that if they are really being honest, none of them have the life they want, not without Alfred.  Dick touches his heart and says that he likes to think that Alfred has always been in his heart.


The scene switches to the cemetery, Dick is talking to Alfred at his gravesite. Dick apologizes to Alfred for the way he treated him on the last day he saw him alive. At the time, Dick had amnesia and did not remember that Alfred raised him. As he talks, he starts to cry. Behind him, we see an apparition of Alfred.  His was the second voice we hear throughout this issue. He knew Dick was fond of Bea in Blüdhaven. Alfred says that he thought it was healthy for Dick to walk his own path free of Bruce’s influence. His only objective was his happiness. With his memory back, the only roadblock to complete restoration is himself.  Dick tells Alfred that he fell in love with Bea. Alfred knows he wants to build a life with her and that is all he ever wanted for Bruce, but Dick is not Bruce; he can make a relationship work.  In the end, Dick believes that Alfred understands, and we see the apparition put his hand on Dick’s shoulder.


Bruce shakes Dick out of the dream. Dick tells Batman that he can have a happy life. Batman disagrees, telling him that it doesn’t work that way for anyone. Batman believes that it is Bea that is holding Nightwing back. Dick is afraid that being Nightwing will cost him Bea.


Saturday in Blüdhaven, Hutch is fighting a gang looting a museum. The crooks ask him who he is, and he says that he is Nightwing. The real Nightwing jumps in and takes out the last of the crooks before they can shoot Hutch.  Nightwing tells him that he and his team did a great job in his absence. Since he is back, it is time for him to meet the others. Hutch takes him to Colleen, Zak, and Sapienza. Nightwing tells them that he had a medical issue, but he is good to go now so the others can stand down for their own safety. Hutch tells Nightwing that he feels he is contributing in a way that he can’t from a truck. Nightwing tells Hutch that he admires Hutch for what he does as a firefighter.  Sap says that Nightwing is right. He says that it was a mistake to pull the others in; they were not ready. He says that the Nightwings will stand down, but if Nightwing ever needs help, they will be there.


Now Nightwing arrives at the Prodigal Bar.  He enters and Bea is waiting for him. She likes the costume saying that it highlights his glutes. She asks him what she should call him, and Nightwing removes his mask and tells her that he is Dick now. Dick admits that his memory of their time together is foggy, but it is coming together.  Outside, KGBeast is watching the bar. He will kill Nightwing, but this time it will be close.


Bea and Dick continue to talk. Bea admits that when she saw Dick with Batman and the others she realized that Dick was not the man she knew. She ran because she saw Dick as a totally different person, and she did not know how to handle it. Dick tries to tell her that he is exactly the same man she fell in love with. What he is asking is that she trust him. He hugs her from behind and turns her for a kiss when all of a sudden shots smash through the window. Nightwing tackles Bea and takes cover. He puts on his mask and tells Bea to stay put while he goes outside.  He makes it outside but is intercepted by KGBeast. KGBeast has Bea, and he will kill her first.


Analysis: This was a very enjoyable issue.  It is designed to clean up loose ends. I particularly liked the idea of keeping a relationship with Bea. It was good to see Dick back with Batgirl and Batman, and I particularly liked the emotional monologue/dialogue Dick has with Alfred throughout this issue. It is almost as if Alfred is acting as a conscience for Dick throughout the issue up until the point Dick realizes that he does love Bea and is afraid that Nightwing might get in the way.


I liked the end scene where Dick tells Bea that he is the same person she knew all along.  In earlier issues, Bea even makes that observation by saying that Dick cannot violate who he is deep down even though he has no memory of who he really is or his past. You cannot take the essence of the person from them. I am also thrilled that the relationship is interracial with Dick being white and Bea being African-American.


The last page, however, I have major problems with. This looks like this might be another case where the woman experiences great pain in order to motivate the male hero, and frankly, I am tired of that storytelling trope. Where we get some progression with the race issue, we go back numerous steps with the damsel-in-distress as the ultimate motivator trope.


I really was not a fan of the art.  Bea and Batgirl looked good and so did Alfred, but Dick looked off the entire issue. I am not sure what the problem is, but it may be that he looks younger than I think he should look. I liked the costume designs; it is just his face seems younger than I think it should.


Final Thoughts: Overall I liked the issue, but the ending and the art are downers for me.


Editor’s Note: DC Comics provided TBU with a copy of this comic for review purposes. You can find this comic digitally and help support TBU in the process by purchasing this issue through Comixology

Liked it? Take a second to support The Batman Universe on Patreon!