Grayson has been one of the most consistent comic books on the stands. Tom King and Tim Seeley have done a great job establishing Dick Grayson’s new life as DC’s resident super spy. Now after over a year away from everyone Dick is ready to return home. And no return home will be complete without Dick running into his Bat Family. How will the homecoming for the former Boy Wonder turn out. Find out with our review of Grayson #12.
Plot: Tim Seeley & Tom King
Script: Tom King
Artist: Mikel Janin
Inkers: Mikel Janin, Hugo Petrus & Juan Castro
Colorist: Jeremy Cox
Story Rating: 9 Night Girls out of 10
Art Rating: 9 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 9 Night Girls out of 10
Synopsis: Somewhere in Wayne Manor Alfred helps Dick Grayson with his new disguise before meeting Bruce Wayne. While together Alfred tells Dick that they aren’t liars. He goes on to say liars are those who bend reality, which is what Bruce ordered Dick to do when they faked his death. But Alfred says that is not what they are. He says they’re performers which Dick agrees with.
Sometime later Dick in his Mr. Sparrow disguise arrives at the front door of Wayne Manor. Bruce welcomes Mr. Sparrow in and they go into the study. After a brief moment of silence Bruce admits that he doesn’t know why Mr. Sparrow is there or their history together. Mr. Sparrow says they were great friends and that he has been away for work. Mr. Sparrow says he has a question and Bruce wonders if it is about money. Mr. Sparrow says it’s not. He goes on to ask how Bruce is feeling.
Bruce says it’s been challenging since he is not sure if he’ll end up changing again. He goes on to say that right now he does feel a sense of joy when he takes the time to listen to everything around him at night. Mr. Sparrow comments that it sounds nice and Bruce says it is. Bruce also mentions it’ll continue to be that way as long as the window holds.
Just then a Spyral agent breaks through the window and uses a tranquilizer dart to knock Bruce out. The Spyral agent and Dick begin fighting with Dick telling the woman that he is done with Spyral. The agent says Spyral isn’t done with him and if Dick doesn’t come back then they will reveal to the world that Bruce Wayne is Batman.
They stop fighting and the Spyral agent agrees to give Dick 24 hours to talk to his friends before returning to Spyral. Dick wonders who the woman is and she reveals that she is the famed Agent Zero. She says she is calling Dick home though Dick says he is home. Agent Zero disagrees and uses her Hypnos tech to escape.
Alfred hears all the commotion and breaks into the study. Alfred finds Dick with an unconscious Bruce. Dick tells Alfred that it is time he put on a performance.
Not long later Jason Todd punches Dick for lying to them, with Tim Drake watching on. Jason yells at Dick for not telling them about the lie since they aren’t supposed to do that to one another as Robins. Tim reminds Dick that the reason they didn’t fall apart after Bruce’s lie during the Joker attack (from “Death of the Family” story arc) is because they agreed that even if Bruce lies to them they wouldn’t do the same to each other.
Dick apologizes and throws Jason and Tim the first batarangs Bruce ever crafted. Dick then explains that while he is sorry about lying he does not regret it. He goes on to say that as the oldest it was his burden to keep. The three quickly run down memory lane. Jason suddenly remembers something but Tim tells him to be quiet.
Later that night Dick meets Barbara on top of a bridge. Barbara says she is not going to talk. Dick tries to stop Barbara from leaving but Barbara says that of course he faked his death since Dick Grayson doesn’t die, only disappoints. Barbara puts on her cowl and jumps of the bridge while saying that Dick always does what Batman asks, leaving the others to go through hell.
Even though he doesn’t have equipment Dick jumps off the bridge in order to chase Barbara. As the two dive off the bridge Dick says he got Barbara something. Dick shows Barbara the bar from the trapeze they used on their “first date,” something he stole as it was important to him. Dick says he doesn’t need it anymore to remember her and their time together. After doing some quick reminiscing Barbara wonders if this has to do with his Cluemaster thing.
Sometime later Dick tracks Damian down and the two happily hug one another. Dick tells Damian that he got him something. Dick hands Damian the handle from the sword Bruce used to in his first fight with Ra’s. Dick then tells Damian how proud he is of Damian. Damian wonders if this has to do with something called the Cluemaster Code.
Barbara, Damian, Jason and Tim all remember what Dick taught them about the Cluemaster code and they break the things Dick gave them. Inside each item are instructions for what they have to individually do: Damian needs to get codes from a Spyral agent, Jason and Tim have to break into a Spyral base and Barbara needs to break into Checkmate.
The four are able to accomplish each task with ease with Barbara using all the codes that the others got to hack into Spyral to help with Dick’s infiltration mission Bruce originally gave him.
Dick gets back to Spyral as soon as his 24 hours are done. Dick tells Agent Zero that he is done with his goodbyes. Agent Zero (whose real name is Luka Netz) says that they watched his goodbyes to his family and she thought they were touching. She then informs Dick that Spyral is his family now and asks if he understand that. Dick smiles and says he understands. End of issue.
The Good: After spending several issues with having the title character in dark of what is going back home Grayson #12 firmly establishes Dick Grayson back into the Bat Family fold. Even with how things end up with Dick returning to Spyral both Tim Seeley and Tom King were able to set a strong foundation for the future of this series. The return home also re-established the bonds Dick Grayson shares with various Bat Family members.
The true strength of Grayson #12 lies in the fact that it doesn’t just rely on nostalgia of Dick interacting with the rest of the Bat Family once again. Seeley and King make sure to keep an eye on the bigger picture by using this return to Gotham City to further the infiltration mission established in the first issue. Now instead of being out on his own Dick has taken a mission given to him by Bruce and made it his own by doing what he does best: uniting and leading a team, in this case the BatFamily.
The way Seeley and King executed this was perfectly present so you don’t have to come into this issue with a deep knowledge of what’s been going on in Gotham City since Joker’s recent attack. The opening interaction Dick had with Alfred and Bruce firmly established the new status quo. And I liked the choice of Dick interacting with Bruce while in disguise. It shows how smart Alfred and Dick are to approach Bruce in this way because if Dick just said who he was Bruce wouldn’t of been able to be comfortable. This help set the reason why Dick would lift the veil on his faked death to the Bat Family and why the new Bruce Wayne is being left out in the dark for those not reading Snyder’s Batman.
And what made each interaction Dick had after this special was that Seeley and King gave each Bat Family member a different reaction. From Jason’s anger to Damian happiness each reaction was perfectly in line with how Dick’s relationship with his family has been since the beginning of the New 52. These reactions were also a perfect summarization of the type of personality each character has with how they reacted to the reveal that Dick faked his death.
My favorite reaction out of all of them was Damian’s. Seeing Damian’s reaction was perfect in showing how deep their relationship is and how much Damian has changed since first being introduced. It also worked in showing the close Dynamic Duo-type relationship Dick and Damian share thanks to the year they were partners as Batman and Robin.
What I loved most about all of these interactions was the insertion of past interactions Dick has had with each character. It added to how much history Dick has with everyone and why he is the big brother of the Batfamily. These quotes also helped to establish why Dick lying to them hurt Jason, Tim and Barbara so much. Tim mentioning that after Death of the Family Batgirl and the Robins decided not to lie to each other like Bruce showed us how much weight Dick was carrying by faking his death. At the same time, I’m glad that Dick didn’t back down by saying he shouldn’t of done that. Like any big brother, Dick accepted the weight of his decision and didn’t apologize for the choice he made because he knows it was to protect his family.
This acceptance of responsibility by Dick also made the gifts he gave the others showed how much trust he still has in his fellow Bat Family members. Each gift was given a perfect reasoned as to why Dick gave it to each particular member. It helped mask the real motive behind each gift since Dick knew Spyral was watching each interaction he was having. Now Dick has his own secret weapon while he plays the superspy that Spyral wants him to be in his organization.
One thing I do wonder about all of this is how Dick will be battling the Hypnos tech that has been easily used against him the last few issues. Seeley and King have clearly established that Hypnos is not something that can be of an advantage to our title character. The opening of this issue did a good job at showing how Dick knows this and I’m interested to see how reliant he is on it moving forward.
I’m also interested to learn more about Agent Zero, who we learned is Luka Netz. After only hearing about Luka in past issues she should be a very intriguing puzzle piece to this whole Spyral conflict. And seeing as she had a personal hand at bringing Dick back to Spyral instead of sending Helena or another agent I’m wondering how desperate things are for Spyral. Even though we knew things are serious it isn’t clear how serious things are within the organization and now that threat level is elevate by having Luka personally involved moving forward.
Mikel Janin deserves just as much credit for the success of this reunion issue. Janin continues to be a shining star in this superspy comic book. He makes everything happening in Grayson feel even bigger that they already are. There’s a certain “coolness” factor to the art style that makes you believe that Dick is now the James Bond of the DC Universe.
The Bad: As much as I enjoyed all of the interactions Grayson #12 it still feels odd to have Jason be as angry as he was. Even though we know that Jason is the hothead of the Bat Family we have not seen Dick and Jason be close enough to warrant this reaction. In fact, Dick and Jason have been doing nothing but battling one another for one reason or another. Unless something changed off-screen between the two I just didn’t get were this closeness came from all of a sudden.
Overall: Grayson #12 did a great job bringing Dick Grayson back into the fold of what is going on in the DC Universe and bringing the Bat Family into what he has been doing in Spyral. While it would’ve been easy to go down a more sentimental route with this story that is not how things went. Instead Tim Seeley and Tom King did a great job using Batgirl, Robin, Red Robin and Red Hood to further their own story. At the same time there is going to be a lot to love from these interactions for Batman fans, especially Batgirl and Robin’s reactions. And now that Dick has re-established himself in the DC Universe I can’t wait to see what happens next with Spyral.