Rating: 4/5 – Dick Grayson as ‘James Bond in the DCU’.
by ComicSpectrum reviewer Shawn Hoklas.
There has been the on and off again talk of killing Nightwing since the 2005 mini series Infinite Crisis. Publisher Dan Didio felt that Nightwing’s death at the end of Infinite Crisis would have made sense, believing that he had become a redundant character since he was no longer Robin. The rumors surrounding the death of Dick Grayson have resurfaced every so often in the fan press since that time and reached a fever pitch with the release of Forever Evil. Before that series concluded, solicitations for the final issue of Nightwing were released, as well as marketing campaigns clearly hinting at Dick’s possible death. While he didn’t die, he’s no longer the character that he once was. Grayson number one is a new series from writers Tim Seeley and Tom King, along with artist Mikel Janin that explores Dick Grayson free of Batman and the Batman family.
Dick Grayson is now an agent of Spyral, an international organization that keeps tabs on superheroes, and makes you question whether they’re a force of evil or a force for good. At the end of Forever Evil, the world now thinks that Dick Grayson is dead. Batman has given Dick a new mission of giving up his old life and joining the Spyral organization to unravel them from the inside out. In this debut issue we see Dick’s first mission as he attempts to capture a Russian meta-human with some devastating powers. It’s a straight forward tale, but one that hints at a lot more smaller plot points and mysteries within the Spyral organization.
Mikel Janin’s art was a peasant surprise and may have stolen the show. Many readers may not have been familiar with Janin’s art from his work on Justice League Dark, but with a more popular character like Grayson that should all change. Janin’s style of clean and limited lines are a perfect fit for a book like this. There’s only one character in costume in this issue so Janin has to give Grayson and the other characters individual looks, and he does so flawlessly. Supporting character Helena Bertinelli stands out with a unique and realistic appearance, but with subtle touches that provide nods to her past. Janin’s set pieces are also believably rendered from the inside of Spyral’s offices to the exteriors of a moving train. It’s exciting to see Janin’s art on what should be a more popular title, and I’m enjoying watch him getting better and better with time.
Overall, Grayson was a pleasant surprise for a series that dramatically changes a long time DC character. Seely and King are showing us just what type of series this will be, which is different than what’s come before. Grayson may be more like “James Bond in the DCU”, but that’s something I haven’t seen yet which is fresh and exciting for me. Fans of Dick Grayson who are not necessarily fans of his superhero alter ego (since it’s changed so much over the years) but are just fans of the character Dick Grayson, should enjoy this book puts him front and center. Hopefully readers give this book a shot as DC may have found a great fit for this character, putting him in new and unfamiliar situations while staying true to who the character is.
Reviewed by: Shawn Hoklas
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