Hutch’s History In Nightwing #59

by Josh Davison

[*Mild Spoilers Ahead!]

We join “Ric” Grayson training with his fellow Nightwing, Hutch. He’s understandably suspicious about where the Cabbie (Ric) learned to move and fight like he does, but Hutch pulls back when Ric asks about his history with the Bludhaven police department. We follow Hutch to a scheduled visit with an old BPD associate in the hospital, but it’s interrupted by a fire that just broke out at one of the police departments in the city. Hutch goes to respond and finds the Cabbie responding to the crisis too.

Nightwing #59 cover by Chris Mooneyham
Nightwing #59 cover by Chris Mooneyham

Nightwing #59 begins Dan Jurgens tenure on the title, but it seems little is changing since the major status quo shift in Nightwing #50. Dick Grayson is still Ric Grayson, and Nightwing isn’t one hero but a team that operates throughout Bludhaven.

I’m going to put my cards on the table here and admit that I personally don’t like this change. Ric is pointedly more broody than the Dick Grayson we know and love, and the new Nightwings haven’t offered much on which to get attached. Also, I really don’t like Ric’s costume as a Nightwing.

It all seems to this weird self-consciousness that DC seems to have about Dick Grayson. In the past 10 years alone, we’ve seen him as Batman, as a secret agent for Spyral, and now “Ric” Grayson. DC seems to want Dick to be a darker hero, but his appeal lies in being the upbeat and chatty counterpart to the dark and broody Batman.

I linger upon all of this, because it’s the background to this comic book that frankly kneecaps a lot of the proceedings. Ric’s not an interesting character; amnesia is far from a new plot point in superhero comics. Hutch’s expanded backstory doesn’t give a lot to engage the reader either, especially when it becomes clear that his guilt is based upon something that really wasn’t his fault.

Nightwing #59 art by Chris Mooneyham, Nick Filardi, and letters from Andworld Design
Nightwing #59 art by Chris Mooneyham, Nick Filardi, and letters from Andworld Design

Chris Mooneyham’s artwork is the strongest point of the book. It provides a gritty style that harkens back to 1970’s and 80’s DC Comics in a very appealing manner. Nick Filardi’s color work compliments it well with a dim palette that accentuates the bleakness of Bludhaven.

Nightwing #59 isn’t a bad comic, but it’s not especially engaging either. This new status quo for Dick Grayson continues to frustrate, and the specific story of this issue is far from interesting. I can’t quite recommend this one, unfortunately.

Nightwing #59 comes to us from (the still very talented) writer Dan Jurgens, artist and cover artist Chris Mooneyham, color artist Nick Filardi, letters from Andworld Design, and variant cover artist Yasmine Putri.

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