Wednesday Comments – Praisin’ Grayson

I guess you could call me a long-time Nightwing fan. I’m actually trying to remember when I became aware that Dick Grayson had become Nightwing. I want to say it was Crisis on Infinite Earths, but it may have been just before that.

(Actually it was Crisis on Infinite Earths. After some quick research I’ve discovered that I actually picked up Jason Todd and Killer Croc’s first appearance off the newsstand, but Nightwing wasn’t around yet.)

I know that one of the things that I really liked about the character was that Nightwing represented growth. Dick Grayson used to be Robin, but now he was Nightwing. New costume and new identity.

What’s crazy is how long it took Dick to get his own title. He didn’t get a Nightwing one-shot until 1995, with his first miniseries coming later that year. I eagerly snatched them up, because it was Nightwing in solo action.

But when his solo title debuted I was completely onboard. It was a book that I actually subscribed the minute I saw the house ads for it. It was a book that exceeded my expectation. Chuck Dixon’s run on that book has got to be one of the best plotted extended runs of the past few decades.

I even enjoyed Devin Grayson’s controversial run., the majority of which has gone uncollected.

And I’ll admit that from there my passion for the character waned. I though it was absurd that Dick Grayson would be on Dan DiDio’s “kill list” during Infinite Crisis, especially given how long the character’s been around. I can kind of understand the case for killing him, especially how his death would affect a ton of characters, but I didn’t think it would have been a sound decision.

The New 52 Nightwing title was firmly in the adequate category. It didn’t blow me away like say Wonder Woman, but it also wasn’t head-scratching like Justice League of America. So when it looked like Dick Grayson was going to be killed in yet another huge DC event, I wasn’t as against it as I had been previously. The book felt like it’d been in a holding pattern for a while and Dick Grayson wasn’t as important in the New 52 as he’d been Pre-Flashpoint.

I also wasn’t surprised when Grayson was announced as a replacement title for Dick to star in.

What did surprise me was how good Grayson ended up being. Tim Seeley and Tom King have made one of the most enjoyable reads for DC in recent memory. It’s shocking and inspiring.

Grayson manages to have weight, be fun at the same time, which is something that’s not easy to achieve. It’s a book that lives up to it’s name, because while Dick Grayson is a character who has suffered his share of tragedy, but isn’t weighed down by it.

There hasn’t been one issue of Grayson that I haven’t thoroughly enjoyed. The first couple of issue sent up the new status quo of Dick Grayson as an undercover agent in Spyral for Batman. The plot is that Spyral is trying gather intel on the superheroes of the world and Batman wasn’t to find out who Mr. Minos, the man behind Spyral is. There’s also a subplot super organs, which is interesting, but doesn’t overwhelming things.

Really it’s about Dick Grayson adapting to his new role in the world. Grayson#3 was masterful. There was thrilling action, genuine comedy and a heartbreaking ending that’s completely earned.

What’s even more impressive is how well done the Futures End issue of Nightwing was. It was an innovative story that, unlike most books offered immediate re-readability. It’ll probably end up being one of my favorite standalone issues of the year.

Seeley and King are telling a tale that’s not getting bogged down with the specifics. Yeah, there are weird super organs around the world and yeah Midnighter is looming around the periphery, but the book remains about Dick Grayson.

The way the handle the relationship between Helena Bertinelli and Dick Grayson is perfect. Watching things unfold as they do, it’s so much fun. And this is coming from someone who loved the Dick and Babs coupling, but at this point, I’d say that I may be leaning towards Helena.

And of course Mikel Janin’s art is spectacular. He captures Dick’s acrobatic rhythm and movements in action scenes that could have easily felt static. He infuses Dick with emotion, which is a huge part of the book. Janin’s art brings the book to life and accentuates the great writing.

I can completely understand why some people might have been turned off by Dick Grayson pretending to be dead and becoming a secret agent. But anyone who loves Nightwing and isn’t reading Grayson is missing out on a story that has the potential to be the best Dick Grayson story ever.

And even if you’re not a Nightwing fan, you should give Grayson a shot, because it’s probably one of my top ten favorite books on the market today.

Well, I’m going to call it a week. It’s Wednesday go out and get some fresh new comic books (possibly Grayson?) from your friendly local comic shop.

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