After two long years of grueling limbo, Dick Grayson is back as Nightwing! Writer Dan Jurgens and artists Travis Moore and Ronan Cliquet create what should be considered a love letter to Dick Grayson fans. Until now, we haven’t seen Dan Jurgens write Nightwing. The closest we’ve come is his work in Batman Beyond, another title where Jurgens has been flexing his bat-muscles. And although we’ve already seen Travis Moore draw Dick as Nightwing, it’s sure been a while. From start to finish, it’s clear these two didn’t want to disappoint.
Throughout the issue, there’s a constant theme of identity, and what it means to remember one’s after feeling lost. After feeling lost for so long and not having a place in his book, it seems like things are looking up for Dick. There’s a strong sense of conflict in his mind that resonates with readers. He might have his memories back, but what does that mean? Do we disregard the last two years? Dick doesn’t want to. A lot has changed since he last put on the domino mask.
From the first page, it’s clear Jurgens wants to use Dick’s support system of loved ones as Dick tries to find his purpose. Friends like Donna Troy and Garth make cameos, as well as Bat-Family members such as Barbara Gordon, Bruce Wayne, and Alfred. In many ways, most of these characters seem to voice the thoughts of fans. Why shouldn’t things go back to normal? The Titans need him and being Nightwing is who he is; he’s his truest self when him. So why shouldn’t he jump back into the life?
It’s very interesting how Jurgens utilizes Donna and Garth in the first few pages to ask questions on everyone’s mind, to push the agenda that people need Nightwing and that his friends miss him. Aren’t those the stories we want? More of Dick running into battle with the Titans by his side to save the day? Similarly, Barbara and Bruce are written to push the idea that people need Nightwing. It’s true, his importance isn’t lost to anyone, in comics or out of them. Nightwing is arguably one of the biggest heroes DC has. It’s only natural he come back to the world; to us.
The problem that these characters keep running into is that Dick was and is happy. This is something he voices to a very important father figure in his life. Although his Titan friends may have somewhat understood this, it was clear that Bruce and Barbara didn’t. Although these are characters loved by fans, they’re human. As frustrating as it is, it makes sense that they want Dick to come back to the superhero life. But as human as they are, so is Dick. And he was happy. He has a life, a job, and a wonderful girlfriend. At the end of the day, it’s because of Alfred Dick decides it’s time to come back. Through the issue, Dick realizes that self-imposed isolation is unnecessary and isn’t a requirement for being a hero. You could have someone in your life, be happy, and still be a hero. This idea isn’t a new one for fans, as it echoes Alfred’s words in Detective Comics 1000, where he describes Dick as a better man than Bruce, “a hero forged in the light” who will find things like friendship, romance, and happiness easier to find then Bruce ever could.
In the back of all this, there’s still the rising threat of the KGBeast wanting to finish the job he never did. Now that the word’s out Nightwing never died way back in Batman 55, his reputation is ruined. What better way to fix one’s reputation than by solving some unfinished business? Dick better watch out, because he’s not the only one the KGBeast has his eyes on anymore.
Nightwing 75 has a lot of strong points that make it one of the best issues of Nightwing fans have had in years. Part of this is because of the artistic team of Travis Moore and Ronan Cliquet. The two make every page come to life with definition and life. This is only further complimented by colorist Nick Filardi, who makes the characters feel warm and detailed. Jurgens does his part as a writer to make one of the most awaited issues of Nightwing fans have been yearning for. However, despite all this, there are a few problems to address. The first being how Dick decides to become Nightwing again is very different than it was in Batman 100. It’s evident Dan Jurgens and James Tynion IV haven’t been on the same page, otherwise, this would have aligned with it better. Additionally, the other problem this issue faces is the sexualization of Dick himself. It feels like it wouldn’t be a Nightwing story without an ass joke from someone. This is a tiring trope that needs to be put to bed. Dick Grayson is a victim of sexual assault, and the continuous ass slaps, ogling, and jokes are unnecessary and leave a bad taste in the mouth for any reader. One can only hope they stop soon.
Overall, Nightwing 75 is a strong story about identity that is long overdue. Its artistic team hits a grand slam from cover to cover with the beautiful work inside. Outside of creepy sexualization and poor creative communication, this is a good issue.