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'Nightwing' #71 Review: Ahead of Joker War, Bruce Wayne could lose an ally who knows all of Batman's secrets

The Joker uses a powerful crystal to manipulate the memories of Dick Grayson, now known as Ric, one of Batman's closest allies
(Jurgens/Cliquet/Filardi/DC Comics)
(Jurgens/Cliquet/Filardi/DC Comics)

Spoilers for 'Nightwing' #71

The Joker has used many tricks and considerable resources in his fight against the Batman over the ages, but one ace he's been holding up his sleeve is his knowledge of Bruce Wayne's identity. The Joker finally plays his card, and takes advantage of a confusing situation to turn one of Batman's closest allies against him in preparation for the Joker War. 

After being shot in the head and losing most of his memories, Dick Grayson began life anew as Ric, someone who wanted nothing to do with his previous life. Distancing himself from the Bat-family and trying to start a new life for himself, Ric even gave up the Nightwing identity to a quartet of cops seeking extrajudicial ways of fighting crime in Bludhaven's streets. It wasn't until recently that Ric found out that his amnesia had been prolonged by the Court of Owls, who manipulated events to keep Dick's own memories from him.

What's more, the Court of Owls used a Memory Crystal, taking advantage of Dick's memory loss to implant false memories into his head that made him think that he had grown up a member of their ogranization. The Court of Owls has been trying to recruit Dick Grayson into their ranks ever since he was a child, but Ric managed to defeat their plans and restore his former memories. The problem is that both sets of memories remain in his head, and Ric continues to have a hard time telling which is which.

In DC Comics' latest issue of 'Nightwing,' the Joker takes advantage of this fact, and steals the crystal, promising to wipe away Ric's false memories of his life as a Talon. However, the Joker's actions are far from altruistic, as he begins to rewrite Dick Grayson's memories himself. The Joker forces Dick to believe in a world where Dick was not adopted by Bruce Wayne after Dick's parents died – but by the Joker himself.

With this simple move, the Joker may have just bought himself an ally who knows all of Bruce Wayne's tricks and secrets. With the Memory Crystal manipulating his mind, Grayson is not just hypnotized into being loyal to the Joker – he also believes that that is the way he's lived his entire life. This spells trouble for Batman, because if there's one thing we know about Dick (or Ric) Grayson, it's that he will fight with all he has for those he is most loyal to.