Written by Tim Seeley and Tom King
Art by Mikel Janin and Jeromy Cox
The short of it:
Once he was an acrobat, and then he was Robin, after that he was Nightwing, but now he’s just Dick Grayson…and he’s a spy. Agent 37 of Spyral. Currently on mission up in Russia where he’s boarding a train the hard way (i.e. while it’s moving) as a mysterious figure looks on. The job is a Russian man named Ninel Dubov, who has caught the eye of a hot looking blonde that has interfered with Helena’s attempt at picking up. Thankfully, Dick is there to showcase some moves he picked up from Batman, like pretending to be drunk and pouring wine all over her chest. Seems she was a different spy, different organization, and that wine all over her chest is drugged to knock her out on contact.
Which is good, because Dick is busy throwing Ninel out of a moving train and trying to make sure that they both survive the fall…and then the automatic rifles fired at them once they do. There’s evasion, and they escape out to a nuclear silo, but then Ninel gets knocked out, and Dick finds himself in a fight…WITH THE GODDAMN MIDNIGHTER! YES! The fight is quick and awesome, and ends when we get to see that Ninel is a big fat living Russian weapon, and Dick makes him burn out his extra energy so he can get him back to Spyral.
Once he does we get a tease about what Dick is actually doing, we see Helena’s real power, and then finally…what is Spyral really up to?
What I liked:
The blonde hair is just a wig. Phew!
The art! I’ve seen Janin’s work quite a bit throughout the New 52, really just any time I went to see how Justice League Dark was doing, and I always enjoyed it. There’s some great face work, and some REALLY great acrobatics. His spreads of Dick doing stunts look absolutely phenomenal.
The Sypral art effects are also nice touches. From the hypnos waves to Mister Minos’s face.
This was the most fun I’ve had reading a book with Dick Grayson as the lead since he was Batman.
What I didn’t like:
I might be a fan of Dick Grayson, but there’s no chance in hell that Midnighter doesn’t destroy him.
I don’t get the feeling that Midnighter is going to be a regular in this book, and I want him to be because he’s awesome and Stormwatch is awful.
Secret Agent Grayson? I’m cool with this. More so now that I’ve read the issue, but I’m definitely cool with it. Dick needed something to set him aside from the pack, and while it seems that every other writer over the years has been like “I’m giving him a new city to protect!” this is the first status quo change to really feel like a shake up since Dick was Batman.
How many shady/spy organizations is too many? Checkmate, SHADE, ARGUS, Spyral…well, at least this one isn’t an anagram. Plus, it means that Dick is living in the boarding school were Stephanie went and kicked ass in the Batman Inc special before her Batgirl run never happened.
Why would Spyral be looking into the secret identity of Deadman? How would they have a picture of him?
And they’re reasoning for knowing Batman is Bruce Wayne is Leslie Thompkins? I’m alright with that, but I’d have just put something down about putting twenty minutes of research into Dick Grayson once he got unmasked, and then a note about how they’re baffled more people didn’t do it.
I kinda feel like Helena would be more interesting of a character if she wasn’t Helena Bertinelli. Like the fact that she both is and isn’t Huntress is actually hurting her. Though, that could easily just be that I’ve read a lot of Nightwing/Huntress stuff over the years and am already waiting for them to hook up and get it over with so he can be awkward with Babs again.
Seriously, the race swap doesn’t bother me, the fact that she should just be a new character does. There was a time and a place at Marvel and DC where having a new black character meant introducing a new character who was black, now it’s about rebranding existing characters with new races because that will apparently draw more eyes. Look, I get it, diversity is a great thing and there should be more of it, but look at characters like Jaime Reyes and Kamala Khan as examples of how to do it, not Wally West or Nick Fury Jr or Helena Bertinelli. Remember Barney Stinson’s one rule: “New is always better”.
Total transparency by superheroes? Interesting concept, and VERY interesting gameplan for a spy group like Spyral. I mean, yes, I was expecting something like world domination or preventing world domination, but a full listing of who the capes are because the public deserves to know? That’s going to be cool when the plot really gets going.
Tags: Batman, DC Comics, Dick Grayson (Robin I / Nightwing), Grayson, Mikel Janin, New 52 (DC Comics), Reviews, Spyral, Tim Seeley, Tom King