Review: Grayson #1 – You Don’t Know Dick
Forever Evil was a game changer for many heroes. Lex Luthor became a hero, Cyborg got a makeover and the Anti-Monitor has made his presence known. Most notably, it exposed Nightwing’s true identity to the world. Dick Grayson was unmasked and because of this he can’t go back to being Nightwing. Batman came up with a plan for him to fake his death and join the mysterious organization Spyral as a mole.
As seen in the last issue of Nightwing, Batman has sent Dick Grayson to infiltrate Spyral. This organization first appeared back in Batman Incorporated so once again, we’re seeing how important Grant Morrison’s run on Batman was on the bigger Batman universe. Grayson, now known as Agent 37, is on a mission to retrieve a man named Ninel Dubov who has had something implanted in him. Spyral needs to bring him in to harvest whatever was put into him. What follows is an introductory espionage tale that feels very James Bond-ian.
This is a very action packed story. Only a few pages have any pure exposition. Most of the talking takes place during the actual fighting which you would think makes this a fast read but on the contrary it is not. Tim Seeley uses the pages perfectly and gets in all his story telling within the fight scenes. It’s really amazing how much Seeley covers in just this one issue. We get a good grasp of the world Dick Grayson now inhabits, the people he works with and the bigger picture of Spyral’s plans.
Grayson #1 is an almost 1960’s spy thriller. The James Bond comparisons are going to happen and for good reason. It’s not a spoof but very spiritually feels like those movies. It doesn’t take itself too seriously either. Dick still has his sense of humor and all the other qualities that make him who he is. Despite the misgivings many people had about this series, it’s off to a strong start. Dick Grayson as a spy is a huge change. Something that most people have some hesitation about getting into. But when a book is good, it’s good. That much cannot be denied with Grayson #1.
More importantly though is that this series is not going to be self contained. Some very large things are happening in the Batman universe with Batman Eternal. Not only does this series indicate that it will be tied to what happens in the Batman world but it’s also tied into what’s happening in the DC universe. Spyral’s bigger mission is going to affect much more than Dick Grayson and Bruce Wayne.
Mikel Janin is quickly becoming one of my favorite artists at DC. His art in Grayson #1 is so clean and crisp. His action panels are so perfect. You can see every punch and where it lands. When Dick Grayson jumps, Janin draws his shadow in every motion he takes and it’s simply beautiful. He gets how Dick Grayson moves. Janin knows his acrobatic skills so well and it’s a lot of fun to look at how he moves. Jeremy Cox’ colors are very good. He adds that 1960’s retro feel to the book without it being overbearing and causing it to not look modern. As great as the story is, the art is even better.
Overall, Grayson #1 is a very good start. It’s a very self contained mission that may not come back to be important but it does what it needs to do. It sets up the story very well, including the world Spyral inhabits. Dick Grayson still retains who he is despite this new direction. Janin and Cox also put together one of the more artistically beautiful books from DC all year.