Grayson Vol. 1: Agents Of Spyral Review – A Re-Inspired Icon


In comics, let alone various other media, there’s rarely been a sidekick who’s been able to break out on his own and create a name for himself. Dick Grayson is one such character. As the first Robin, he was the “son” Bruce Wayne never had (in modern times, that’s sort of changed), and also a reminder of Bruce’s own youth — orphaned by the tragic deaths of both parents.

(Read More > Grayson Vol. 1: Agents of Spyral – Tom King and Tim Seeley Interview)

Dick would later outgrow the mantle of Robin and become Nightwing, leading the Teen Titans and later keeping watch over the city of Bludhaven, much like his mentor, Batman, who kept watch over Gotham City.

That is but a short and extremely butchered biography of a great character. Why such brevity? Because today we’re going to talk about the next evolution of Dick Grayson — super-spy extraordinaire. Grayson Vol. 1: Agents of Spyral collects the issues of Grayson #1-4, Grayson: Futures End #1, and Secret Origins #8. These stories present to us the same classic Dick Grayson, but placing him in the world of spies and espionage. Writers Tim Seeley and Tom King adeptly stay true to Dick’s character while also breaking new ground by giving him a different set of challenges.

Spoiler-Free Synopsis

After the events of Forever Evil, the Crime Syndicate reveals to the world that Nightwing is actually Dick Grayson. The Justice League eventually defeats the Syndicate, but Dick was believed to have died, sacrificing himself to save the world. However, Helena Bertinelli, an agent who works for a clandestine organization called Spyral, has been tracking an individual. That individual is revealed to be Dick, alive and well. And she chooses him when Mister Minos, the Director of Spyral, requests that Bertinelli recruit a new partner.

(Read More > Grayson Vol. 1: Agents of Spyral – Tom King and Tim Seeley Interview)

Enlisting in Spyral, Dick is given the codename Agent 37 and is given the mission, with Bertinelli, of retrieving the Paragon organs — organs that contain the DNA of the Justice League. When the organs are transplanted into normal individuals, each person will receive the power of one of the respective members of the Justice League.

As Dick retrieves the organs with Bertinelli and performs his own investigation, the reader learns more about his real mission and the dilemmas he faces.

A Re-Inspiration and Not a Reinvention

Why is Grayson a re-inspiration and not a reinvention? Simple. Writers Tim Seeley and Tom King have stayed true to Dick Grayson’s past incarnations and don’t betray the character in any way. A reinvention would entail rewriting the character. Sometimes this means changing the origin and heart of the protagonist. Seeley and King don’t do this. They stick with what fans have loved about Batman’s first sidekick and add another dimension to him — an inspired dimension.

Dick is portrayed as someone who is optimistic and doesn’t waiver from doing what’s right. Spy thrillers usually deal with a lot of blurred lines. Dick stands out in this world due to his stoic nature. Things are right or wrong. His actions don’t follow the pessimistic mantra of “the ends justify the means.” Because of this, Seeley and King bring to fans a familiar Dick Grayson, but one who has matured and ready to strike out on his own.

(Read More > Grayson Vol. 1: Agents of Spyral – Tom King and Tim Seeley Interview)

It’s no question that Dick Grayson has always been the favorite Robin of fans.  eeley’s and King’s interpretation in Grayson only solidifies this notion. Dick is a hero to look up to, and we want this guy to win.

Mikel Janin’s art also compliments the writing quite nicely. I know that most reviewers will complain that the panels seem to be bland, but I miss this type of artistry. The pages are clean and convey action clearly. Janin’s drawings are functional. It’s a breath of fresh air to see scenes of high action not being muddled.

Final Thoughts

Grayson is a modern story that takes queues from the old days of comics. How is that? Writers Seeley and King make fun and action a top priority. They allow Dick Grayson to be who he’s always been. Though the series has some darkness to it, there is always a glimmer of hope. A sort of rainbow in the cloudy skies. And that’s how comics should be. With all the gloom and doom in modern comics, Grayson reminds us that all is not lost. The good guys can ask the hard questions and still win.

Paired with some great art from Janin, Grayson is well worth a place on your bookshelf. Seeley and King definitely show their love for the character by staying true to Dick Grayson’s past. At the same time, they give the character a new edge and a new path to forge beyond his partnership with his “father” and mentor — the Dark Knight.

Grayson Vol. 1: Agents of Spyral is now out in comic book shops and available everywhere books are sold on June 9, 2015.  Get your copy today!

Next: Grayson Vol. 1: Agents of Spyral - Tom King and Tim Seeley Interview

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