FROM THE PUBLISHER: Blüdhaven is burning! Ric Grayson and the Nightwings are helpless against the rampage of Burnback. Will they be able to pull themselves together as a team in order to prevent Blüdhaven from becoming ash? Confronted with their most dire threat yet, Ric and the Nightwings must find a way to come together if lives are to be saved.
Dan Jurgens “City Ablaze” arc comes to an end in issue #61 and I’d be a liar if I said I wasn’t glad that this particular storyline is done. He’s been a background character in his own title. The Nightwing formally known as Dick Grayson that we all know and usually love may finally be able to return to status quo soon with this story out of the way. I’m getting ahead of myself though, let’s talk #61.
In the final pages of #60, the fire monster shows up as the Nightwings are about to question the daughter of the a police officer who has been in a coma during this particular storyline. There’s fire and a hint of chaos coming, then the issue is done. This one picks up with Richard Grayson, I mean Ric I guess, having a monologue moment while rushing to aid the Nightwings. There are two new characters that this issue focuses on, a brother and sister team. We don’t learn too much about Colleen Edwards. We do learn a little more about her brother, Zak, who is a detective and apparently great at hot wiring cars. The latter skill is very important especially if they ever remake Gone in 60 Seconds. As it plays out, this issue is actually more split evenly between the whole team though. It was a nice to see the Nightwings kinda work together. I say kinda work together because it isn’t X-Men level teamwork or anything but it’s there more than before I suppose.
The pacing is quick and that’s cool with me, Jurgens makes it clear this is a finale. Most of the book is just the characters versus Backburn which is the charming moniker gifted to the fire creature by Sap who Richard Grayson affectionately calls Nightwing Prime. So, it’s mostly action and it’s not bad in that area really. There’s also some good moments sprinkled in between the hectic scenes. The origin of Backburn is also revealed and it didn’t hit me the way I’m sure the writer intended. It’s very by the numbers in my opinion.
Overall, I’d say this issue is the same quality as the rest of this arc. But! There’s one thing that has improved. The art! Mooneyham has been replaced by Ronan Cliquet who nixes the gritty look of the previous issue. It’s much cleaner and streamlined in some spots, I dug it for the most part. His work here is easier on the eyes and guaranteed not to make them melt. So, that’s a huge plus. Sorry Mooneyham.
Although this arc is ending, the Ballad of Ric Grayson will continue into the next issue which is part of Year of the Villain. I think it’s safe to assume we won’t see Nightwing returning to status quo for a bit longer but until then, you’ve got Ric and the Nightwings. It’s a decent book but at this point I don’t think it’s really going to attract a ton of new readers. Maybe the next issue will change my mind but I’m sorta doubting it. Take that for what you will.