“Do you know Dick?”
Grayson #9 was my first foray into the world of Dick Grayson: Secret Agent Super Spy (or Agent 37 as he’s referred to inside these pages, but mine sounds cooler) and as a very long time fan, I must say I absolutely loved it! I have followed Dick Grayson through all his character incarnations. He started as the original (and some would argue best) Robin. He then moved on to becoming Nightwing, a solo hero in his own right. Then when tragedy struck he’s taken on the mantle of Batman, on a few occasions. All those however awesome they may be at the time, always felt like he was in Batman’s very large shadow. Well not this! This is Dick Grayson at his most Dick Grayson. It was just flat-out cool.
We start the issue out with Dick in seclusion at a Finishing School for Girls, using a communicator to secretly (a secret spy using a secret communicator? how appropriate) contact someone. He is attempting to reach out to “Mr. Malone” and he refers to himself as “Bird Watcher”. I thought this was extremely cool. Long time Bat-Fans will know that “Mr. Malone” is actually Bruce Wayne’s undercover alias and “Bird Watcher” is just a play on words of Dick’s previous life as Robin. Just a very cool “easter egg” for anyone who is a Batman fan. I was worried there might be too many references to Batman in here, but this was a nice touch. He attempts a few more times and to no avail. Readers can tell at this point, Dick is in despair as seemingly he says to Bruce “Can I come home?”
From here we switch the action into high-octane, through means of a flashback we find ourselves as spectators in a riveting rooftop train battle. The two men go back and forth until there is only one. One of the assailant murders the other with sticks (Escrima sticks to be exact) and this raises the question as to whom the ID of the murderer is. The man who was killed turns out to be an Agent of the secret organization SPYRAL. This action brings us the arrival of a very prominent female: Helena Bertenelli (aka the Huntress for fans of Arrow TV show)
Her presence means this is a top-level threat and she is aboard to investigate. This turns out to not have been an isolated incident as there are more dead spies. This appears to be an inside job. There are many clues suggesting that these actions are being done by Dick Grayson, also a valued SPYRAL agent. Helena having an on again off again relationship with Dick (heh no pun intended) will have none of these accusations and sets out to clear his good name.
Next the action switches to the Pradd museum in Spain and through courtesy of an air duct, Dick and his cohort Agent 1 arrive secretly on the scene. Agent 1 tells Dick to lose his clothes and slip into more appropriate attire for the mission at hand.
This scene was greatly entertaining as it captured Dick’s personality perfectly. Even though he grew up as a child of privilege through Batman, he is still as down to Earth as any of us can be. From watching him struggle with the cuff links to having difficulty with the tie was quite hilarious. It’s through little moments like this that the book shines. The rest of the issue results in Dick using some good ole’ Grayson charm and sweeping a debutant off her feet (with ulterior motives of course) to a pretty cool chase scene involving Dick and Agent 1 and even more into The Stick Man Murderer (that’s what I’m calling him here). The issue ends on a cliffhanger that makes me can’t wait to pick up the next issue and even now I’m going back to pick up the first 8, just to catch up on what I might have missed.
Overall: This one had it all. There was a murder mystery, well placed Bat-References, romance, hilarious moments, espionage and intrigue. What more could you ask for? While reading this I felt like I was watching a great TV show that I caught in it’s Second Season opener. The pacing and art, writing and dialogue was just great. I may have come to the party late, but now I certainly don’t want to leave. Now THIS is how you do ” Punch in the face fun!” I’m going to go out on a limb here and say this could very well be the best incarnation of Dick Grayson yet. Move over James Bond. The name’s Grayson. Dick Grayson.
Story: Tim Seeley and Tom King Art: Mike Janin
Story: 9.5 Art: 9 Overall: 9.5 Recommendation: Definite Buy