Think back to when it was first announced that Dick Grayson would become a spy following the events of Forever Evil. What were your thoughts and feelings?
“Way to spoil the ending, guys”?
Personally, I was just glad he was going to live to see another day, as he’s been one of my favorite characters since I was a kid and rumors of his impending death had lingered for years. Little did I realize that such a change would lead to one of the best books on the market and one of the freshest reinventions of a character in years, bringing back dangling threads from Grant Morrison’s run and fleshing them out so as to explore some of the stranger corners of the DC Universe.
Change is constant, however, and that holds true in comics just as much as anything else. It was always inevitable, I suppose, that Dick would put on the mask again, and I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t waiting for that day to come. Recent events in Batman & Robin Eternal, Robin War and Titans Hunt have set the stage and hinted at it, and unless DC plans on shipping a book based on one half of Kryptonian mythology twice a month the slate for Rebirth has confirmed it: one way or another, Nightwing is coming back.
As a genuine fan of this book from day one, knowing it will end soon is disappointing, and I can’t help but feel that Seeley and King had at least another year or two worth of stories to tell.
On the other hand, it really looks like they’re just going to go big and let things get bananas as they approach the end of their story, and if that means we get to see Dick fight Frankenstein using Glowing Yellow Energy Fists, then I’m ok with that.
Like last month, this issue is just fun: a chase around the world with Dick and Tiger evading assailants and running an errand for Maxwell Lord. They’re successful until they’re ambushed in Mexico by Grifter and Keshi, a… weird, rubber… shape-shifting, lady… thing.
Its an exercise in what makes this book enjoyable, even with a different artist on tap: the dialogue is snappy, the mysteries are intriguing, and the action sequences are energetic and creative.
Carmine Di Giandomenico subs for series regular artist Mikel Janín, and while his style isn’t as clean or cinematic it fits well with the issue. His Grifter actually looks really good, though some of his faces are rather… homely, and he adapts Janín’s creative layouts to render some pretty cool fights.
The real bread and butter is the dialogue, though, and Seeley absolutely shines. It’s funny without trying too hard, which is a problem Seeley’s had in the past, and the great chemistry between Dick and Tiger is a large part of that. Honestly, the jet-setting and crazy missions and weirdness of Spyral itself will be missed, but if Tiger doesn’t at least show up for some guest spots in Nightwing I’ll be pretty disappointed.
It’s not all jokes either: right before they’re attacked in Mexico Dick tells a story about a time he went to summer camp as a kid. He recalls all of the kids falling into different relationships immediately, be it as friends, enemies, or “hook-ups,” all because they were united by a common thread: being at camp. That’s what he equates being a spy to, and rather than call him an idiot Tiger admits that he actually likes Dick, if not working with him.
Well, almost admits it, anyway.
And whike there isn’t any direct confirmation, I think we all know what that camp was like.
As we near the end, there’s bound to be some filler, issues that set up the impending climax rather than telling complete stories on their own. It’s inevitable, but if the filler is this enjoyable I can’t wait to see what the finale holds.
BONUS: To, uh, “celebrate” Neal Adams’ Superman: The Coming of the Supermen, the variant cover theme this month is homages from Adams himself. Here’s Grayson’s variant, along with the cover it pays tribute to:
- You like Dick Grayson.
- You like the banter between Dick and Tiger.
- You’re curious as to what Tiger’s favorite movie series is.
- You’re in this until the end.
Overall: More of the same, but for a series that has scarcely had a bad issue I’ll take it. What’s here works as it should, be it the action providing entertainment or new developments driving the story forward. It won’t stand on its own well, though as part of the series as a whole it serves it’s purpose, and even though it never really rises above simply “good” there are bits of greatness here and there. I’ll miss this chapter in Dick’s life story when it’s over, but look forward to him being brought home.