More than any other superhero, Dick Grayson aka Nightwing suffered the most during DC’s recent big-event, Forever Evil. He was captured by Superwoman and then his civilian identity was unmasked during a global vid-cast, after he was beaten black-and-blue by the Crime Syndicate. The stage was set for his death during this event, for with his unmasking there followed the very real danger that his friends would be found out as well. He did die during the event, for all his friends, and this was the same time as the announcement that he would return in a new identity and new series very soon.
Grayson #1 is the start of a new series that, in my limited experience, puts Dick Grayson in one of the most unique phases of his life, something that can match his temporary tenure as Batman during Bruce’s supposed death. Batman convinced him at the end of Forever Evil that he should recast himself as a special ops agent for SPYRAL and writers Tim Seeley and Tom King have had the distinction of shepherding him through this new phase, and they’ve really done a top job with this first issue. Plus, the art by Mikel Janin, Jeromy Cox and Carlos M. Mangual deserves top marks as well.
First off, that cover by Andrew Robinson is all kinds of awesome. It has a very distinct espionage thriller type of look to it, and I love it because that is exactly the kind of thing I wanted to see with this series. Mikel Janin’s variant cover is also rocking, but I love Andrew’s cover more. It just has a very special feel to it as far as I am concerned and the whole pink background with the spiral design echoes the fact that Dick is now an agent of SPYRAL.
The new issue starts off with an echo of the recent James Bond movie Skyfall and there is a really good train-chase here as Dick seeks out a target and then extracts him in typical fashion that itself echoes his roots as a circus performer and a trapeze artist. We quickly find out that he is working with a female agent, someone who is placed as a mentor for him and that they are both in turn overwatched by another senior agent of SPYRAL. There are a lot of complications and twists involved in this first issue but for me, this issue started off on a great note and it showcased some of the best writing I’ve seen to date from Tim Seeley.
Curiously, Tom King is credited as a plotter on this issue along with Tim and I am not sure what capacity exactly Tom is working on this series, but having a duo behind a DC powerhouse character like Dick will hopefully bring some great results, and for this particular reader, I think Tim benefits from an additional pair of eyes. The story is indeed very focused and I loved how everything built off from what happened a few pages ago. There’s a very big mystery at the heart of the whole thing and I can’t wait to see how it all turns out.
If there is one thing that bothers me about the new start is that there’s no reference to Grayson being Nightwing and “dying” during Forever Evil other than a couple introductory panels. I would have liked there to have been more of a reference, and even for Helena Bertinelli’s status as an agent of SPYRAL to be addressed as well. That is the second thing that bothers me about this, but neither of these two are that big of negatives, so full-steam forward!
Mikel Janin is the penciller issue with Jeromy Cox being the colourist and Carlos M. Mangual being the letterer. Art-wise, the best scenes from this issue are the ones where we see Dick’s prowess as an acrobat and trapeze artist. Those are where Mikel really outdoes himself. He was absolutely superb during his run on Justice League Dark and he brings that same brilliance to this new series. Plus, Jeromy also turns in some superb work. I’ve always been impressed with him previously, and I am impressed once again. And finally, Carlos also does some good work with a few creative decisions here and there.
All in all, I am very stoked for this new book and it has certainly started off on a grand note.