Spinebender (remember #4) is back in town... well, in Gotham, creating all sorts of problems. Turns out he doesn't have much time left to live, so he decides to go out on his own terms... by taking Nightwing with him, but Dick manages to hook on to a passing car in order to get away from Spinebender before he overloads himself with electricity and explodes. Bye, Spinebender?
Elsewhere, Sonia Zucco is in Chicago, visiting her father, who has gone on all about his life, and how he's missed Sonia so much. Tony thinks there's a chance that he may get out, but Sonia tells him that she's going to do everything possible to make sure he stays in. He asks why she'd do that, so Sonia brings up the one thing that her father refuses to talk about... The fact that despite everything, he did kill the Graysons.
Dick walks back to his apartment, with the collateral damage caused by Spinebender on his mind (of course he blames himself for it). He sees Jen and her parents leaving, and chats with them a bit, and of course Jen gives Dick a bit of a look when they're leaving, because she knows.
The next day, Michael shows Dick the footage of Nightwing that his replacement got, but Dick reassures Michael he made the right choice. Just then, Sonia shows up to the bar, and asks if she can speak to Dick for a few minutes. Sonia apologizes to Dick for everything, as she was never exactly truthful to him. Sonia figures the ship of them being friends has sailed, but she just wanted to make sure Dick knew she was sorry. Dick appreciates it, but then soon learns that because of the media circus surrounding her, Sonia's bank let her go... So with his actions in going after Tony Zucco, while he doesn't regret them, are weighing on his mind, because once again, his life has had a less than desirable affect on someone else's.
Things go from bad to worse when Dick gets home to find Joey crying. Turns out Jen's parents were killed in a mugging. With no next of kin in the city, Jen is brought to Dick's apartment, where Joey and Michael speak with the police, while all Dick can do is see his past in Jen. Dick sits down to speak with Jen, who wastes no time making it clear she knows who he is, and wants to help him get the guy who killed her parents. Dick is taken back by this, and sort of stalls, which isn't the answer Jen wanted. He goes to get a glass of water for Jen, but when he gets back, he and his roommates find Jen missing. They look through her in the apartment, and Dick notices his hidden compartment has been opened. Dick mentions to his roommates that Jen knew who killed her parents and wanted to find the person who did it. Joey tells Dick that the police had a visual, and it's one Dick's not going to like...
Turns out the guy who killed Jen's parents is a bit of a nut job, carving notches into his skin and going by the name Mr. Zsasz.
Maaaan, why does this book have to get great art right when it's ending? Russell Dauterman's style really fits Nightwing well, and those opening fight pages with Spinebender were fantastic! Gah... Total bummer. I'd love to see Dauterman continue if Nightwing gets a relaunch or something.
On the story, I can definitely see what Kyle Higgins is doing with his closure to the series. What's gone missed by some is a general theme that has connected much of this title from #1 to now, and that's the relationship between Dick and his past. This issue sort of shows a domino effect of that theme, with Dick's past coming back and causing more issues, despite how much he tries to move forward. The theme consistency is something I've always liked about this series, and I'm enjoying the fact that Higgins seemingly gets to close out his time on the book with it, albeit having to fit it into Forever Evil #1.
Wasn't really a fan of how Zsasz was introduced. I guess they had to do something with Jen knowing Dick's secret, but I don't know... Just seemed mean, haha. My dislike for how things ended up with Jen's parents is enforced a bit more by the fact that I know at some point Higgins probably got a note that said "You need to use Zsasz in here." So it's just kind of forced, we've seen parents die so many times in Batman related books, and bleh. Yeah, just didn't really like it.
The Bottom Line:
Despite having some heavy editorial influence looming over this book (due to Forever Evil), I can admire the fact that Kyle Higgins is still able to close out his run on the series while staying true to the overarching theme involving Dick's relationship to his past, that he's laid in place since issue #1. It's also nice to see that despite this book's impending doom, DC got a very talented artist in Russell Dauterman to help close out the book, instead of just sticking it with one of DC's many mercenary type fill-in artists. These final two issues are definitely a "make the best out of a bad situation" sort of deal, and despite a few details I didn't like here and there, Higgins and Dauterman seem to be delivering a fitting finale, before we get into all this post-Forever Evil mystery.