DICK GRAYSON

 
Full Name: Dick Grayson
Series Name: Robin, Nightwing, Batman
Codename: Agent 37
Nationality: American
Organization: Spyral
Occupation Agent

Creator: Bob Kane , Bill Finger
Time Span: 2014 - 2016
ABOUT THE SERIES

       Dick Grayson is an agent of Spyral.
       Grayson really needs no introduction, so of course he is getting one here.
       The youngest member of the "Flying Graysons", he and his parents were the headliners for a traveling circus act. The act came literally crashing down when a crime boss, extorting money from the circus owner, rigged the act to cause great damage. His parents now dead from the fall, the orphaned young teen was taken in by billionaire Bruce Wayne, aka Batman, and given a chance to train and later join with the Gotham City crime-fighter to get justice.
       For several years as he grew to adulthood, Grayson as Robin, the Boy Wonder prowled the dark alleys and rooftops fighting criminals, both petty and arch, and trying to make a very dangerous city less so. Even as his mentor became a member of the Justice League, Grayson/Robin helped form the younger group known as the Teen Titans. It was as a member of that team that Grayson decided to give up the persona of Robin, more specifically the "boy" part, and took on the new moniker of Nightwing. (Nightwing was a legendary Kryptonian crimefighter that Grayson heard stories of from Superman while growing up.)
       Over the next few years, Grayson became nearly as famous as his adopted father and more than once when calamity struck the Caped Crusader even put on the cowl himself and became Batman. He always willingly stepped down from that august position when he was no longer needed but he never stopped fighting injustice.
       Then came the time when evil super-villains from Earth-3 invaded this universe to extend their power base. One of their first acts was to capture Nightwing to torture from him identities of other superheroes. As a result of their actions, his secret identity was revealed and he was seen to have died on world-wide television. Naturally, he did not really perish (although in the universe in which he operated, death was by no means an end).
       Batman and Grayson had a serious talk about his future and where he could do the most good. One of the organizations that had come into existence was a spy bureau named Spyral and Batman had his suspicions about its real intentions. He asked Grayson to go undercover and join the group to learn from the inside what was truly what.
       And thus Grayson, formerly Robin, formerly Nightwing, became Dick Grayson, Agent of Spyral.

COMIC BOOKS AND GRAPHIC NOVELS

Number of Issues:5
First Appearance:2014
Last Appearance:2016

       The Grayson comic storyline came into existence in 2014. The DC Universe was several years into its major retcon (retroactive continuity, aka 'forget everything we told you about the characters, this is the new truth.') known as the New 52. The Nightwing comic was part of that retcon but in 2014, it took a major path change. The Nightwing character was "killed off" and the comic book ended. In its place was a very agile, death-defying, highly experienced athlete now working as an operative in a secret intelligence organization.
       The new career would last Grayson just shy of two years. It might have continued longer had DC Comics not decided to throw away the whole retcon they had just done and remake everyone again. They killed off Superman, though they did bring back a different, more original Superman. They did lots more with, well, everyone. Batman they pretty much left alone (as far as I can tell) but the rest of the Batman family got major re-treatments. Most retreated was Grayson. Spoiler alert, the world is made to forget that Grayson ever existed as Robin or Nightwing and so he was able to return to crime-fighting.
       It is all confusing, as always happens when a big retcon takes place. But the time Grayson spends as a secret agent are quite fun and well worth reading.

       The comics involved in the Agent 37 storyline consist of a couple of lead-ins followed by 20 normal issues, 3 annuals, and a revived Nightwing. The time frame for these stories was 2014 - 2016.
       
       These stories were collected into 5 trade paperbacks which are show below.

1 Agents of Spyral Agents of Spyral
Published by DC Comics
Contributors: Tim Seeley (writer), Tom King (writer), Mikel Janin (artist)
Copyright: 2014

Collects Future's End #1 and Grayson #1-#4. Amazon blurb: "Unmasked, targeted and presumed dead, Dick Grayson’s world has been turned upside down. No longer Nightwing, former Boy Wonder, he’s now a man who doesn’t exist . . . which makes him the perfect double agent.
Dick will have to leave behind the black and white world of super heroes to infiltrate the shadowy inner workings of the mysterious spy agency known as Spyral. Without a costume to hide behind, the would-be 007 must find the answer to one important question: just who is Dick Grayson?"

2 We All Die At Dawn We All Die At Dawn
Published by DC Comics
Contributors: Tim Seeley (writer), Tom King (writer), Mikel Janin (artist)
Copyright: 2015

Collects Grayson #5-#8 and Grayson Annual #1. Amazon blurb: "Former acrobat. Former Robin. Former Nightwing. Spy. Dick Grayson, now entrenched in the international spy organization known as Spyral, is on the hunt for the Paragon Protocol—metahuman biological organs that grant normal humans supernatural abilities.
But the secret lifestyle of a spy isn’t easy. Dick must survive a desert with a brutal man known as Midnighter, while protecting the life of an infant. Then there is the fatalistic rock band and the brain damaged Irish bomber. And what exactly is Mr. Minos, director of Spyral, up to?"

3 Nemesis Nemesis
Published by DC Comics
Contributors: Tim Seeley (writer), Tom King (writer), Tom King (writer), Mikel Janin (artist)
Copyright: 2015

Collects Sneak Peek: Grayson, Grayson #9-#12 and Grayson Annual #2. Amazon blurb: "Dick Grayson is Agent 37, super spy extraordinaire, caught in a maze of mind games and hidden agendas. But with Batman dead, there is no one to bring this spy in from the cold. Now, someone is killing rival spies and setting it up to look like Dick is the murderer. With no one to trust, Grayson turns to the only people he can—those closest to him. Unfortunately, all of them think he’s dead, and some of them are none too pleased to see him again."

4 A Ghost in the Tomb A Ghost in the Tomb
Published by DC Comics
Contributors: Mikel Janin (artist), Tom King (writer), Tim Seeley (writer)
Copyright: 2016

Collects Grayson issues #13-#16 and Robin War #1-#2: Amazon blurb: "Dick Grayson—the former Robin turned Nightwing turned superspy Agent 37—is back to work at the covert global agency, Spyral. But one question continues to haunt him: Who is Agent Zero, and what does she want with him?
Reluctantly aided by his partner, Tiger, Grayson uncovers Agent Zero’s origins within the secret lair of Spyral’s deceased founder, Doctor Dedalus. In doing so, he and Tiger also become ensnared in a malevolent ouroboros, a self-consuming circle of violence that endlessly connects Spyral to the criminal organization known as Leviathan."

5 Spyral's End Spyral's End
Published by DC Comics
Contributors: Mikel Janin (artist), Tom King (writer), Tim Seeley (writer)
Copyright: 2016

Collects Grayson issues #17-#20 and Grayson Annual #3 as well as Nightwing: Rebirth #1: Amazon blurb: "The spy stands alone. Grayson must go rogue from all his former allies, find the truth within the web of lies, and take down Spyral once and for all. But with one of his closest allies now his greatest foe, Dick Grayson will have to make his greatest sacrifice to save those he loves. "

MY COMMENTS

       As a pre-teen comic reader when I first met the Caped Crusader and his ward, Robin, I was a fan from the first pages because I wanted to be Batman (who didn't) and knew I was too young. But I could be Robin because he was closer to my age. I do not remember for sure but I probably could have done without the short-shorts and the color scheme was rather out there (not that I noticed such things but it was nowhere near as cool as Batman's). I also read and enjoyed the adventures Dick Grayson had in the Teen Titans (but who wouldn't when you got to work next to Wonder Girl!).
       I was long into my adulthood when Robin became Nightwing but when I picked up the occasional comic and saw him as such, I applauded the growing up the publisher allowed the character. I did not follow the character too much but once in a blue moon checked him out. Then he switched from crime fighter to secret agent and I was hooked.
       He did not stay an agent long but he sure was fun while he was one. He was fearless and resourceful and far more athletic and daring than just about anyone he was likely to go up against, which made sense considering he routinely opposed people like the Joker and the Penguin and the Riddler. I read every issue.

GRADE

My Grade: B

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