Writers: Tim Seeley, Tom King
Artists: Mikel Janin, Hugo Petrus, Juan Castro, Jeromy Cox, Carlos M. Mangual
Review by Sofía Marlasca
It’s certainly interesting to note that the one book that was supposed to drive Dick Grayson away from everything he’d been so far, turn him into a spy, and alienate him from his superhero persona, has actually been more faithful to the character’s core than most other books in the New 52. Without being a Robin, Nightwing, or Batman story, “Grayson” has managed to stay true to the character’s particular vibe, oftentimes both lighthearted and angst-ridden, but always fun nonetheless.
It has been a long road since “Forever Evil,” with its ups and downs, twists and turns, and despite it being a fun ride what has kept this going was the expectation that Dick would, ultimately, return home. Seeley and King have told so far an epic Dick Grayson story, and “Grayson” #12 is what feels like the culmination of a lot of emotional settings for Dick.
The first and foremost important people we see Dick interact with in this book are Bruce and Alfred. The only downside I can find to this book is the lack of Alfred’s initial reaction to Dick’s return, but instead we get his usual wisdom with what feels like a dose of justifications to ease the pair’s guilt over lying to an amnesic Bruce Wayne.
It is riveting seeing Dick’s interaction with Bruce Wayne, on the other hand. Given the rather radical change in their age differences since DC’s reboot, these two men talk like equals — though Dick may have an upper hand given his knowledge of Bruce’s true history — and the possibility of a friendship shines through. Batman or not, these two understand each other on a very deep level.
Of course, this is still a spy story, and we have a not-so-gentle reminder of it with Agent Zero’s intermission in the scene. It’s a bit sad seeing Dick pulled away from what he considers his home so quickly, but this is necessary to keep the book’s plot going, at least until “Batman and Robin Eternal” starts. It is a fun fight scene, to add action to an otherwise emotionally and dialogue-heavy issue. The art, as usual, shines with energy, ideal for a Dick Grayson book.
After that, Dick could only say his goodbyes to the rest of the Bat-Family. The three scenes are laid out very intentionally, starting with a black background page with the character’s initial interaction, surrounded by dialogue bits from their past. These nods were a creative way to show the emotional bonds these characters share, and the relationships at stake during these conversations. Even more interesting, though, was the inclusion of several important scenes previous to the New 52, that had until now not been confirmed as part of the canon.
Next, after a bit of dialogue and discussion, Dick gets to deliver heartwarming monologues (with a hidden meaning that I won’t spoil here), surrounded by more throwback images both from the pre-n52 and n52 era, illustrating the characters’ past beautifully. These panels will stick with us for a long while.
The highlight of the issue is Dick and Damian Wayne’s reunion. Last time we saw these two interact was in 2013, when Damian was killed during Morrison’s “Robin R.I.P.” After that, Dick’s “death” preceded Damian’s return to life, and since then we’ve had no proof of either being aware of the other’s dead/alive status.
This issue, however, squarely delivers and makes up for it, giving us a heartfelt reunion that shows the connection between these two: Damian being the only member of the Bat-Family (aside from Bruce and maybe Alfred) to completely embrace Dick’s return without a hint of resentment. Dick’s reaction, too, was surprisingly emotional, given the circumstances in which they last met.
Ultimately, “Grayson” #12 is an emotional book that feels somehow like a milestone in the character’s overall story, a culmination of all the years and relationships he’s accumulated in Gotham. It’s sad, as I’ve said, seeing him part so soon from Gotham and dive back into the spy game. However, with his connections with the other members of the Bat-Family recovered, it will be great seeing Dick enter the game from a completely new angle this time.
RATING: 10 out of 10
Release date: September 23, 2015