Dick Grayson is back in action in his eponymous series, Grayson. Since being outed by the Criminal Syndicate of America in Forever Evil and now thought dead by most of the DC Universe (in fact the notion he might be killed, even though it was disproved, drove fans into a frenzy), Dick Grayson is now an agent of SPYRAL, the spy agency that first appeared in Grant Morrison’s Batman Incorporated. However, he is also a mole for Batman, who wants to see what SPYRAL has planned for the superhero community. When the series was first announced, it was met with a range of responses from enthusiasm to dread. The sight of the former Nightwing using a gun sent people rushing to the Internet to condemn it before the comic was even out in stores. So, how is this first chapter into Dick Grayson’s new life?
WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD!
After a quick recap of Dick’s life so far, we see a blond Dick (don’t worry folks, it’s a wig) leap from a cliff in Russia to land on the Trans-Siberian Express. After knocking out a guard with his gun, wing-ding style (that’s right, he doesn’t shoot the gun, he throws it!), he infiltrates the train. His target: Ninel Dubrov, who harbors a dark secret. Presently, Ninel is being seduced by a Russian spy in a more modest Emma Frost outfit. After getting some up-to-date information and banter from his partner/handler Helena Bertenelli, Dick gets Ninel away from the rival spy and acrobatically leaps off the train with the unconscious Ninel in tow. However, they’re soon under heavy fire, and Dick uses an implant device called a Hypnos (more on that in a bit) to convince Ninel he’s a friend. They dash into an abandoned nuclear silo, only to find a guest star lying in wait, and Ninel’s secret about to explode….
Seeley and King get Dick right straight off the bat. Dick is still charming, chatty, and full of acrobatic flair and adventurous zeal. He’s still the good guy we all know and love. Helena Bertenelli is an excellent foil for young Mister Grayson, with a dry wit and unafraid to cut him down to size if need be. Their boss, Mister Minos (given the themes of SPYRAL’s first appearance, the name fits) is paternal and caring, but does have a dark ulterior motive. Ninel is hilarious, even when he’s a threat. The special guest star is well written, but he feels a bit forced into the plot and those who are unfamiliar with the character will be left scratching their heads a little. The Hypnos device, which allows Dick to trick targets, etc, also acts as a handy plot device/deus ex machine as it also makes characters forget him and his face, which does come in handy given his present situation. However, the story overall is well done, and shows that Seeley and King have a perfect grasp of the character and are prepared to take us on an adventure worthy of Dick Grayson.
Janin’s art is superb. He gives Dick Grayson plenty of strength and an acrobatic grace that is needed for the character. Helena Bertinelli is attractive but Janin shows her intelligence and deviousness as well. Ninel is practically Falstaffian in his look and behavior; there is a very hilarious panel from Ninel’s drunk point of view. The action is dynamic and energetic, with some punches that feel as powerful as they look. This is definitely one of the more beautifully drawn books out on the shelves today. Janin’s wonderful pencils are matched by the colors done by Cox, who makes this one of the most vibrant books out there as well. Every page is colorful and matches the energy of the story.
Grayson is off to a great start. Fans who were afraid of what might happen to their favorite hero should cast off that fear and rush to the store or DC’s digital site to pick up a copy of Grayson right away. It is a new chapter in Dick Grayson’s life, and we should be along for the ride.
FINAL SCORE: 9 out of 10