Nightwing #60 from DC Comics features a new creative team including writer Dan Jurgens, artist Chris Mooneyham, colorist Nick Filardi, and letters by Andworld Designs. Jurgens continues his second issue with the “City Ablaze” storyline. In the last issue, new Nightwing Malcolm Hutch and the true Nightwing, Ric Grayson (still under the effects of amnesia) encountered a new supervillain, Burnback.
Nightwing #60 picks up with their first encounter with Burnback, in the middles of an arson fire. And like issue #59, there is a focus on one member of the Nightwings. Enter Alphonse ‘Sap’ Sapienza, another of the Nightwings group that took up where Ric left off. Alphonse is the elder statesman of this new gang of vigilantes, and swoops in to help out his allies. Burnback is an eerie enemy, beyond their abilities, nothing these new heroes are used to.
This issue switches up the narrative. The most notable is Alphonse’s thoughts on Ric. It’s a neat twist, for thus far, Ric’s insights into others has been the focal point of character development. That makes sense. Nightwing #60 is really his book. But it’s a nice reversal to see a cop study how good Ric Grayson is, but questioning just why he hangs around the Nightwings. For the last year, fans have waited for this storyline to end. But there is more to this comic than the memory loss of Dick Grayson and when he might return to his old self. Nightwing is also about the city he protects.
Nightwing #60 builds characters. There are equal bits of dialogue among the Nightwings, Ric, supporting characters and even another flashback to fill in backstory. There is a richer police drama genre feel to this storyline. Despite the extended Dick Grayson/amnesia storyline continuing, this book is picking up. Bludhaven is presented as a gritty Northeastern city blighted by real hard problems, with supervillains added in.
Jurgens is not ending the Ric Grayson saga which may sting for diehard fans. However, what he does is dig into the existing structure and mine it for depth. Each one of these police officers is growing in characterization and depth, making what was once a regrettable story arc broader and at the very least, interesting reading.
Mooneyham compliments the grimy Bludhaven drama with an appropriate sketchy art style. Characters appear weathered as if they’ve been through one tumult after another, fitting for the setting. Heroes are worn too, but also bold within their stance and action, and the fight scene against Burnback is short but sweet. He gives just a hint of anime art in the eyes. There is a good amount of ink on the page as well to darken the mood, heightening the fire sequence and all that comes afterward.
Filardi makes Bludhaven real. His colors bring to mind old brick cities worn down but impossible to break. Nightwing’s blue is abundant in this issue, playing off on dark, steaming rooftops and blackened alleyways. Andworld Designs’ lettering stands out and is very clear with wonderful lettering special effects.
For the fan of Nightwing, who was angry at the direction the book has taken, seeing it go on is understandably frustrating. Any fan wants the best for their favorite hero but Jurgens, Mooneyham, Filardi, and Andworld Designs are dialing in on Bludhaven good and hard. They offer a hard edge story with what are becoming worthwhile heroes and well-rounded characters. And for arguments’ sake, despite the ‘Ric’ name, Nightwing is still Nightwing.
While he may not be the exact same masked hero, the outcome is the same. The main difference is an additional cast this book needed. And, with them comes a better understanding of the city they inhabit, and why it deserves to be fought for.
Nightwing #60 is available everywhere comic books are sold now.