Despite the fact that we’re still having to endure this Ric Grayson nonsense, Nightwing #57 takes a number of steps in the right direction.  To make things even better, we have Travis Moore covering art duties! I was hesitant to say this, but… things are looking up, people!

It’s no secret that I’ve hated Nightwing ever since Dick Grayson was shot in the head. I’d say I blame King, but he had an awesome plan for Nightwing following the shooting, and instead, DC opted to go with this Ric Grayson trash. And yes, in my opinion, that’s exactly what all of this has been so far… trash. There have been a number of questionable decisions to change the status quo, and most fans have been begging for this whole experiment to end. No, really… Just go read the comments on any tweet DC Comics makes about Nightwing. Fans have been begging for this to end for months.

Anyway, Ric is still here, and despite my overall opinion of this run, I’ve made a point to praise ideas that I thought were good. I’ve even praised ideas that were good, but tainted by the fact that it was coming at the expense of one of DC’s most beloved characters. For instance, I like the concept of a cabi-vigilante. I like Bea as a character. I like seeing the citizens of Bludhaven try to cope without Nightwing. I even like the new “Nightwings” to a degree… But despite how much I like each of these ideas and characters, none of them feel fully realized. If anything, the execution of this arc has felt like nothing more than people throwing ideas at a board just to see what sticks. What’s worse is the talent is having to take the fall for the poor quality, when editorial really should be the ones receiving heat – or, at least, an equal amount of heat.

Thankfully, this issue helps correct some of the current problems by taking the time to invest in featured characters. Now that we’re past the anti-climactic Scarecrow arc, we have a chance to breathe. Yes, Ric does remind us (again) that he isn’t Nightwing anymore, and, as always, it is annoying. However, after everyone is reminded of what’s going on, Bea and some of the Nightwings get to take center stage.

Bea is the character that really gets to shine in this issue. She’s given a story arc that is completely hers, and it really lets us explore who she is beyond the nice, pretty bartender that’s been set-up as Ric’s love interest. While there will undoubtedly be people who dislike her because they’re shippers of Dick and Babs/Kori/Helena, there are many layers to her as a character and she’s incredibly likable. More than anything though, we get to see her enact heroic actions outside of being a vigilante. We also learn why Bea is so keen on volunteering at shelters or food banks, and it helps give her some gravitas. In fact, I’m beginning to like her so much, that I want her to stick around when all is said and done. Bring Dick back, but go ahead and keep Bea in Bludhaven. I can’t say I necessarily want Bea as a permanent love interest, but as an independent character, she brings a lot to the table. She also has a nice exchange with Babs in this issue. Some of the lines are awkward – especially on Barbara’s end – but Bea comes off looking poised, sympathetic, and nurturing. I mean, how can you not like her? (Just don’t make her a vigilante. I repeat, do not make her a vigilante!)

She’s not the only character to get some time to shine either. Sapienza has a really nice scene with Ric. In the grand scheme of things, their exchange may seem minuscule, but the conversation itself could carry a huge weight in bringing us back to what we’re all desperately wanting – the return of Dick Grayson/ Nightwing. Surprisingly, it’s Detective Edwards, that receives the most development out of the new Nightwings. We get to see more of her as a civilian as she works a case with Svoboda. The entire exchange is not only intriguing, but also helps create a connected city. Ensembles and supporting characters that feel real are needed, and her scenes prove that here.  Over the past year or so, Nightwing has had so many incredible supporting characters, only for new writers to step on-board and ditch them to create their own. At some point, someone will wise up and realize that there’s a goldmine in what’s already been established for Dick, and run with it.

Despite the improvements though, there’s still plenty of questionable choices. First and foremost is the inclusion of Joker’s Daughter. I planned on giving her the benefit of the doubt, but I can’t. I find the character grating. DC and/or Lobdell keep trying to make her a thing, and it just isn’t happening. Let it go. Just let it go. I do prefer her look here though, so maybe that’s something?

There are other moments throughout the issue that are questionable – such as Ric’s cab only needing a day’s worth of repairs to be up and running again – so I don’t want to pretend like this is a complete one-eighty. The entire Ric Grayson concept is still a slog, and the creative team’s need to spend pages recapping everything is exhausting, especially when most readers just want to forget any of this ever happened. Until we move on though, I’m just going to try to find the best in each issue.

Also, before I finish this review, I want to send a HUGE apology to Fabian Nicieza. Last month I blamed him for what I considered to be awful dialogue, and as it turns out, he didn’t write the pieces I called attention to. I wasn’t exactly kind in my review, and he was kind, respectful, and professional in response. So, if you’re reading this Nicieza, thank you for being a class act. You’ve forever earned my respect. Thank you.

The Art: Travis Moore covers the art for this issue, and man has he been the bright light throughout this entire mess. I honestly don’t know what to say about Moore’s work that I haven’t already said. Just the general aesthetic of his art is pleasing to the eye. The detail he puts into his characters, and his ability to make them emote is one of the reasons Moore is currently one of my favorite artists. He also creates wonderful, real sceneries/ backgrounds that help Bludhaven look and feel familiar. He’s definitely one of those artists that makes me wish I knew more about the art process so I could better speak to the work he’s doing, but I’m a loser and can’t. I just know it’s in the details, and he delivers – along with some incredible colors by Tamra Bonvillan.

Recommended if:

  • You don’t mind the Ric Grayson idea.
  • You’ve felt like the supporting characters deserve more development.
  • You’re a fan of Joker’s Daughter.
  • Travis Moore. Nothing else matters.

Overall: Don’t be confused. I still hate this entire Ric Grayson approach, however, Nightwing #57 offers some really nice character moments that I can’t really knock. Ric takes a back seat as Beatrice and the Nightwings take the spotlight, and there genuinely is some good work here.

SCORE: 6.0/10