From the onset of Dick Grayson’s foray into spyhood, I had my reservations about the whole “secret agent” thing. With Dick’s induction into Spyral, a new codename, and then finally, the use of guns – it all just seemed a bit, I don’t know, gimmicky. Sure, the guy’s been Robin, Nightwing, and even the freakin’ Batman; but could he really pull off being a clandestine agent? There’s absolutely no way that would work – right?
Wrong. So, so, wrong.
Over and over again, Tim Seeley and Tom King have shown me just how much of an idiot I was for ever doubting them. And now, after seeing this first arc of Grayson through, Seeley and King’s decision to take the character in the spy direction makes total sense. It’s so obvious! If there’s anybody in the DCU that can pull off the James Bond-style secret agent role — it’s Dick Grayson. He’s got the skills, the levity, and of course, the looks, to pull the whole thing off. (And if you ever need evidence towards fan sentiment on his looks, just check out the Tumblr page entitled “Dick Grayson: The Most Famous Ass in Comics.” It’s…interesting to say the least.) Butts aside though, it is clear that Dick has just the right blend of skills to successfully shoulder a globe-hopping, spy romp like Grayson. This newest issue only served to nail that point home.
Issue 8 is a fantastic example of everything this comic does right: fun action, intense mystery, and great characters. The first few panels reveal that the Spyral traitor has finally exposed himself and that he is now hell-bent on turning the entire organization on its head. By stealing the super-powered organs of Paragon and recreating the monster, this newfound threat has acquired an urging to eliminate any Spyral agent in his way.
The path this double-cross leads us on is almost cinematic. With the traitor temporarily taking out Helena (which leads to an absolutely badass moment from her later on), it’s up to Dick and Agent One to do battle with the traitor and Paragon. Light-hearted Dick and the surly Agent One operate as excellent foils and the battle with Paragon one is truly exciting to watch.
That particular scene is also an opportunity to witness the artistic talents of Mikel Janin and Jeromy Cox. Janin continues to show the world his talent through beautifully rendered panels. His face work in particular is fantastic – very emotive. Likewise, Cox serves as the perfect compliment with his vibrant colors.
Yet even with all the fantastic work in this book, there are still problems. With the hulking mass that has become DC’s Batman lineup, fans are often expected to traverse the landscape of an increasingly intricate Gotham mythos. Unfortunately, this can ring especially true with Grayson. This problem is most apparent within the final pages of the issue. Let’s just say that Seeley and King may have just replaced one mystery with another. And fan reaction to the story is going to depend heavily on the twist at the end. If some fans fail to recognize this callback ending, they may end the issue feeling dissatisfied.