Nightwing #59 is published by DC Comics, written by Dan Jurgens, illustrated by Chris Mooneyham, with colors by Nick Filardi, and letters by AndWorld Design. If you were hoping the whole Ric Grayson story arc was over and Dick was back to being the on true Nightwing again, you’ll be one upset fan. However, this issue is much better than Nightwing #58 in a few ways.
For starters, writing chores have turned over to Dan Jurgens and Chris Mooneyham makes his return to the art after a four-issue furlough. And with the start of a new storyline, “City Ablaze,” what we get is a familiar Bludhaven, but a tonally different story.
Ric is still Ric, recovering from being shot in the head and has decided to be a part of the Nightwings. However, these ex-cops have no idea their latest recruit is the real deal. This rag-tag team has taken on menaces such as Scarecrow and the Joker’s Daughter, we get a bit of downtime before the next disaster strikes poor, rundown Bludhaven.
Much of this issue is a character study of Malcolm Hutch, one of the Nightwings, and that fact alone greatly boosted the likability of this book. I mentioned in my review of Nightwing #58 that little is known about these characters and making them all cops, to me, seemed contrived. But as we delve into Malcolm’s life, his strengths and failures, discussions with Ric, we get a fleshed out individual that I now not only like, but hope he sticks around. Though, I’m still not too keen on there being a bunch of Nightwings. I have awaited the day when Dick Grayson would get his own kid sidekick. But Malcolm seems more a hero in his own right, concerned for Bludhaven, very well trained and motivated.
As for Ric, well, I’m getting more used to the idea, but not how it’s presented. Readers are still forced to see a perspective of Ric as a person who has been told who he used to be and now accepts it though refuses to take the bull by the proverbial horns. He runs off to every emergency in the city, becomes a Nightwing but never steps up to be the main guy and lead the team to new heights. It’s like he’s playing nine-tenths the hero and it throws off the idea that Ric has ‘accepted’ the role.
In other news, we are given something else good that Nightwing has been lacking: its own rogues gallery. Burnback, the newest villain in town, looks like standard fare. But I am now eager to want to learn his origin and his motivation for taking on Bludhaven. Plus, human-level characters versus metahumans makes for a challenging battle.
Dan Jurgens has been in comics for a long time, and I’ve been a fan of his words and characterizations. He paints Malcolm Hutch as a real person and has slowed down much of Nightwing #59 to make it a good start to a new arc. Additionally, he has kept the Ric angst drama to a minimum. Chris Mooneyham has created a gritty and sketchy Bludhaven.
It has a smooth transition from Travis Moore’s style last issue but evoked some of my favorite artists ever: Denys Cowan, Lee Weeks, a smidgen of Ron Frenz. The same goes for Nick Filardi, who carries on from Tamra Bonvillain to saturate Nightwing in those dull brick reds of the dilapidated East Coast industrial cities, so that even during the day, Bludhaven looks beaten.
Nightwing #59 made me like this story arc. But as a huge Dick Grayson fan, and a fan of Bludhaven, I really want this book to shine and get more readers and the depth I think it deserves. I think we’re moving there, I just wonder how much longer it will take.
Nightwing #59 is available in comic stores everywhere now.
Nightwing #59 made me like this story arc.
William J. Jackson is a small town laddie who self publishes books of punk genres, Victorian Age superheroes, rocket ships, and human turmoil. He loves him some comic books, Nature, Star Trek, and the fine art of the introvert.