Nightwing #77 review

Twas the night before Christmas and all through the city,

Nightwing was endeavouring to fight the self-pity

Much-needed distraction comes in the shape of two cases – the weekly break-out at Arkham Asylum, and problems at a computer company. Batman takes the former, while Nightwing accepts the Dexiturn Technologies job.

The blackmailer is asking for a ‘strangely specific’ ransom figure – $2.76m, but even though that’s peanuts to Dexiturn, the company won’t open the floodgates to other bad guys by paying. Dick wonders if ‘Nabstract’ is in another country, but according to the systems, they’re on the building’s ground floor, right now…

The chase is on.

Refreshingly, this is a done-in-one Christmas story, with a warm and fuzzy wrap-up. Imagine a Hallmark movie filmed in Gotham. It’s surprising that a non-urgent business crime gets the attention of the Bat Family – that ‘We’ve been requested at the Dexiturn Technology offices’ line is straight out of the Bronze Age, when Batman wasn’t so much the dark vigilante as the pal you could ring for help. Still, the ‘Arkham revolt’ is obviously just another Wednesday for Batman, and in Gotham you never know how a seemingly mundane crime could escalate.

The motive for the crime may ring a few bells with comic industry employees… writer Dan Jurgens may be engaging in a little justified commentary here.

I’ve not been following Nightwing but tell me Jurgens is writing a Christmas story and I’m there… remember ‘Metropolis Mailbag’ from his Nineties Superman run?

And he doesn’t disappoint. ‘Abstract Holidays’ is a nice showcase for Dick, reminding us that compassion is as fundamental to Nightwing as athleticism and brains. Nabstract has potential as a character for the Batman line, while there’s humour in the shape of a Dexiturn boss who could be a tad more grateful for Dick’s help.

The thing that immediately struck me on reading this issue was the relationship between Batman and Nightwing – they’re equal partners, there’s no tension, the love is evident in their exchanges. I really have had enough of the former Dynamic Duo being at odds, and hope the Batman line continues to present them as friends at all times.

The other thing that delighted me on opening the book was the art of Ronan Cliquet, which is super-slick without being soulless. There’s an elegance to his compositions and linework, and a pleasing humanity to his characters, whether in the streets or in Bruce’s swanky new townhouse (apparently he’s no longer infinitely wealthy, simply mega-rich). Colour artist Nick Filardi also deserves credit for finishing the art with his well-chosen tones, which range from blues and oranges for the city streets to, well, everything for Dick’s Christmas jumper. Credit, too, to Andworld Design for a sharp lettering job.

Illustrator Travis Moore and colourist Alejandro Sanchez’s cover isn’t the most Christmassy, but it’s extremely good, with Dick visiting one of his gargoyle chums. The rendering of the costume material is very impressive, there is no doubt at all that Nightwing is a guy who dresses to emphasise his physical assets, as noted by that Mom in the panel above. And if this is the final issue of Nightwing until after the coming DC Multiverse jump, it’s a suitably iconic image to go out on.

Holiday tales aren’t common in comics these days. Don’t miss this one.

8 thoughts on “Nightwing #77 review

  1. Love that line about the suit being ‘definitely real’. Jurgens and other writers have really leaned into the ‘Nightwing is a sexy beast and walking thirst trap’ angle over the past few years. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m not a big fan of the Dick/Babs business, having grown up with Robin as a Teen Wonder and Babs as a grown woman – but they’ve been flirting since Batman Family in the Seventies so I should stop resisting. Maybe a sustained period of actual dating would let them see if they can work as a couple, of whether it’d just a physical attraction. I don’t doubt Taylor and Redondo will do a brilliant job, whatever.


      1. I loved when they followed Starfire with Babs, even finessing the ages to make it better. I never minded Starfire as Dick’s girl when he belonged in Teen Titans. It was written well and worked with every member a different super hero genre. Solo Dick belongs with Babs though and I will fight anyone on this!


  2. Jurgens became the writer brought in to first make Ric work then clean up Didio’s latest hate crime on Nightwing. The run won’t enter his ten best list but he did great work with what they allowed. Even he couldn’t make Punchline credible though.

    This issue was okay by me, not bad and not great. The company ‘hiring’ Batman and how pat and heart warming the problem was solved was just too Denny O’Neil Seventies Relevant for me to enjoy too much. Why didn’t Bruce do something like this but actually substantial before? Why wasn’t Babs all het up on this very topic like she was in her book that was just mercy killed?

    Ugh. I do natter on…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. And I love you for it, comics chat is great. I’m rather pleased Barbara didn’t launch into a relevancy lecture here, as you note, this issue wasn’t short of Seventies-style people in need. What a shame these comics never cease to bedtime.

      I took a look at last issue, and find it a total shame Dick apparently dumped his latest girlfriend purely so the slate would be wiped clean for the upcoming romance with Babs. still, Bea wasn’t killed, so that’s a win, I suppose.


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