A sentient fire monster threatens to burn Bludhaven to the ground. However, Burnback’s specific focus on police precincts suggests that there may be more to this monster than meets the eye. Will Ric Grayson and the Nightwings be able to solve this mystery and extinguish this threat before the body count rises?
“But, then again, I’ve always had trust issues.”
Nightwing #61 concludes the “City Ablaze” storyline with varying degrees of success. Jurgens does a good job building the backstory for each of the new characters. Unfortunately, the conflict’s resolution robs a central character of closure.
One of the struggles that each of the writers has faced since Dick’s transformation into Ric Grayson has been providing reasons for the readers to care about each of the new characters. Dan Jurgens has begun this process with the “City Ablaze” storyline. I think that this has been a strength of the storyline, as Jurgens spends a great deal of time introducing Ric’s perception of each of these new characters. With a conflict that is central to Hutch and Sap’s backstories, a great deal of time is dedicated to each of these characters is previous issues. The focus shifts to Collen and Zak this issue, allowing the reader to be reintroduced to each of these characters. In my opinion, this ruins any momentum the Jurgens built with the other characters for the sake of giving all of the team members something to do to fight Backburn.
However, Jurgens does an excellent job of using the action within the story serves as vindication for Ric’s perception for each character. Zak’s solution to stopping Backburn stands out here as he hotwires a car in order to ram it into a nearby fire hydrant. As cool as it is for each team member to have a job during this crisis, this almost robs Hutch of his resolution as someone is essentially solving his problem for him. Additionally, as emotionally evocative as it is to reunite the monster with his daughter in order to stop his rampage, it also feels as though it robs Hutch of some closure or resolution to a conflict he essentially started. However, it could also be argued that if the character was given full closure, he would no longer be part of the team.
“After all, he’s a walking, talking flame-thrower… who wants to kill me!”
The art team brings each of the characters to life through visual and lettering. Ronan Cliquet’s artwork with Nick Filardi’s colors is a major positive for this issue. Their work to bring Burnback to life on the page is excellent. Additionally, Andword Design’s work to provide each character with unique narrative boxes provides a different voice for each character. I love that Ric’s boxes are jagged, visually depicting the road to recovery in his voice. I also loved that Ric essentially assigned each of the Nightwings their own narrative color throughout this storyline which is immediately used for their respective boxes.
Ultimately, Nightwing #61 is a decent end to the “City Ablaze” storyline. Jurgens is doing good work to help the reader invest in each new character. Unfortunately, I feel that this conclusion robs Hutch of some closure for his narrative arc.