Man alive, I have been waiting for this day for ages; today is the release of the eponymous Grayson. This is the new direction of Nightwing, he’s gonna trade in those skin tight red and blacks for weird disguises with terrible wigs. So I saddled up to the desk with my biggest piñata whacking stick, some coffee, and unrivaled anticipation to tear Grayson apart limb from limb. And then I got really, really upset. This terrible book actually isn’t terrible.
I think what had me believing this book would be terrible was the cover. Dick Grayson as the least Grayson I had ever seen him and I’ve seen the film disaster “Batman and Robin”. Just look at him on the cover, if you put some heavy eye shadow on his eyes and gave him a metal arm he’d be a knock off Winter Soldier. That was probably what I was most afraid of, that he’d lose what made him Dick Grayson and become a nebulous Secret Spy clone. But Dick Grayson retains his essential Grayson-ness throughout the book. It’s really the best case scenario where it’s the Dick Grayson we know and love dropped into an environment he is not used to or comfortable with and forced to adapt.
Out of all the superheroes in the DC universe, Dick was probably the best one to pick just from a visual standpoint. I’m not saying that no other hero could be sneaky and covert in the field, however there’s not many heroes that could be covert and also as visually stunning as Dick Grayson. His fighting style has always been flashy, a panache he acquired from his circus upbringing. So while Dick can sneak around with the best of them, he can also perform the most stunning flip kick anyone has seen. That’s going to be important for a book like this where the protagonist absolutely can’t attract Wonder Woman attention. He can’t kick a burning car into a crowd of gunmen, otherwise why is he doing this as a spy. If this book is going to last longer than a miniseries, Tim Seeley is going to have to lean on the acrobatics and stunning martial prowess. Otherwise he’s gonna have to populate each book with the stunning caliber of guest stars this book had.
I suppose this issue really only had one guest star—however, it was revealed that Dick Grayson’s compatriot in this espionage is the Huntress. Not Helena Wayne, no, this is Helena Bertinelli. We don’t know her origin yet and I can’t tell if she’s hero or villain but isn’t just the name enough? Plus her badass-ness is epic; her power over Dick is unparalleled. And yet there was another guest appearance. A guest star that fought Dick Grayson and I didn’t know how much I wanted it until it was already happening. It happens in a derelict nuclear plant, Dick is trying to retrieve a high value asset and standing in the way of his escape is Midnighter. Oh my God! You mean a fight between James Bond Robin and Murder Batman? I never thought this would happen and Tim Seeley made it amazing. It was a fantastic showdown, a fight with the proper motivations where both combatants had a motivation to win, where neither seemed too over classed, and where the battle finished while being beholden to the narrative. This wasn’t the kind of thing where The Flash is saving a burning bus full of nuns and Green Lantern suddenly strikes and accuses him of stealing the Mona Lisa. This was well thought out and executed much better than I hoped it would.
So yeah, I was rooting for Grayson to fail. Can you blame me? This came about from Forever Evil, one of the most ham handed company events I’ve read in a while. It is reasonable to expect this story to be a complete blunder. The sensationalism DC employed in Forever Evil was enough to make my eyes roll out of my head. “The Death of Dick Grayson”, sure DC, like we haven’t heard that one before. After all, he wasn’t even dead for one issue before they announced he’d be back. At least in Invincible there’s consequences for these near death experiences. When Mark Grayson was doused with that deadly virus, he recovered for sure, but when he attempted to punch someone with his super strength, his arm was torn to pieces. He had to live a life away from saving the world, he had to be boring Mark, live without the duality. It brought a level of understanding to his life, that he needed Invincible to be a part of his life. Perhaps this will become more of an issue in Grayson but it seems that Dick almost died and then became more awesome.