DC Plans To Turn Nightwing Into A Secret Agent

DC Plans To Turn Nightwing Into A Secret Agent

Grayson Issue 1 Cover

They say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, but I bet this won't S.H.I.E.L.D. DC Comics from follow-the-leader criticisms.

DC Comics has for the last three years been taking a trip down the open road with someone half its age in the convertible it bought on its 45th birthday, or as we know it, The New 52. Now it seems the publisher plans to get hair implants and add spinning rims to that convertible, at least judging by the news that Dick Grayson, the original Robin-turned-Nightwing, will soon be reinvented as a covert spy in the upcoming spy/thriller themed comic series Grayson, written by Tim Seeley and Tom King.

Grayson will pick up where the character's current comic series, Nightwing, will leave off when it concludes this May: Dick Grayson, his identity as Nightwing exposed and his enemies onto him, is seemingly murdered, but he actually faked his death. He is then convinced by Batman to let everyone, including other members of the Bat-Family of characters, continue think he's dead so that he can operate in the shadows as part of the covert intelligence agency SPYRAL (first introduced in Batman Incorporated).

The series is apparently going to be played for 24-like drama, at least they way it's described by the series' cocreators. Dick Grayson will not only have to deal with the pain of letting his loved ones think he's dead, he'll also have to deal with working for an organization "out of his comfort zone." SPYRAL, you see, is yet another intelligence agency with a swank acronym and a commitment to stopping bad guys by employing methods and tactics that are questionable at best.

This could work of course, as the DC Universe could use some shaking up (even if it has to happen under the New 52 banner.) Given how relatively underdeveloped Dick Grayson is - Nightwing has never been much more than NotBatman in Bludhaven, or NotBatman in New York, or NotBatman in Gotham City - the character might be a perfect fit to inject some James Bond style action into DC. They'll at least finally be giving him his own arch enemy with the new series. And let's be honest: whatever your politics, 24 was a fantastic hour of television for most of its run. Further, at least the creators seem like they're thinking big. Their plan is for every issue to be an event people want to discuss, and cowriter Tom King specifically compared it to FX's The Americans.

The wild card King who, at least according to his official bio*, left the comics industry after 9/11 to work as a "counterterrorism operations officer" for the CIA, and that purported experience will apparently inform Grayson. Whether that means Grayson will examine hard-won lessons from a decade of bad practices, or just offer up uncritical support for Jack Bauer's ethics, remains to be seen. Here's hoping Dick Grayson doesn't stop whatever he's doing to at least once an issue to explain to the reader why warrantless wiretapping of anyone is a good and noble thing, amirite?

But I'm less bothered by the potential for the series becoming a throwback to the early 00s, and more by the obvious fact that anyone who's been to a movie in the last few years will immediately find all of this very, very familiar. DC, it seems, is chasing after Marvel, first via the introduction of its very own version of SHIELD, complete with moral ambiguity, and second with a longstanding hero forced to go underground in order to do the right thing, however it's defined in this series anyway. They've even gone so far as to make Dick look suspiciously similar to Grant Ward from Marvel's Agents of SHIELD. Grayson is going to have say more than "ME TOO, ME TOO GUYS!" or it's going to land with a thud.

Of course I'm going to check this series out as soon as it's released, if only to find out how much of my cynicism is justified. But what about you, readers? Does this look like a classic in the making, a throwback to 2003, or a follow-the-leader race to the bottom middle? Sound off in comments.

Grayson's first issue will be released July 2.

Via USA Today.

* Naturally, the only publicly available information that confirms King's CIA employment is his official author bio. Forgive me if I remain skeptical of the length of nature of said employment until more information is available.

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A Bat-family member other than Jason Todd or Alfred carrying a gun? Yeah, that won't upset anybody.

I kinda have mixed feelings about this. On one hand I'm worried that this will take the character completely off track, but on the other I really liked the Nightwing run where he was a cop. So I guess I'm reserving judgement on this one.

Nah, that's no good. I'm thinking 'Dick Grayson, Attorney-At-Law'. He gets justice done above and beyond the bar!

Anyone get the feeling WB/DC just doesn't know what to do with their own comics anymore?

Dick Grayson a covert Spy? I mean that's yet another Downgrade. First He gets downgraded from Batman to Nightwing and now from Nightwing who's pretty much a ninja.. to a plain old spy?

DC is trying so hard to be 'young and hip that it is just laughable.

Holy Demotion Batman!

So I see Dick Greyson is DC comic's Peter Parker.

FalloutJack:
Nah, that's no good. I'm thinking 'Dick Grayson, Attorney-At-Law'. He gets justice done above and beyond the bar!

That would actually be pretty cool.

Dick Grayson as a secret agent is stupid. If Burn Notice had one thing to say about being a spy, it is being a spy is about lying. Dick Grayson is a terrible liar! His method for maintaining his secret identity was to make up some implausible lie on the spot and then go "golly gee, I really didn't expect that to work". I am not saying he is a bad character for that; I love him. He just doesn't fit a secret agent role and there is no way that this work out without compromising the character, although Nu52 has about a 50% chance of having done that already (I didn't read any of it).

I dunno, Checkmate seemed more like a SHIELD style organisation to me...

synobal:

FalloutJack:
Nah, that's no good. I'm thinking 'Dick Grayson, Attorney-At-Law'. He gets justice done above and beyond the bar!

That would actually be pretty cool.

I won't say it was my own idea, though. I was thinking of Harvey Birdman, of course, as well as...

Wait... So they're expecting us to believe Batman is ok with Grayson turning into a super spy with a gun and "doing what needs to be done"? They really expect us to believe Batman is ok with guns, killing, and supper shady spy tactics? I haven't seen the Batman cannon in a while but that is... odd.

DC needs a serious management revamp, more so than Ninty. They obviously can't do their IPs any justice anymore. Their only really good moves in nearly a decade was giving Christopher Nolan the go ahead for 3 Batman movies and Blackest Night.

FalloutJack:
Nah, that's no good. I'm thinking 'Dick Grayson, Attorney-At-Law'. He gets justice done above and beyond the bar!

Practically speaking, wouldn't that just be like if Daredevil wasn't blind?

Hmm... Spyral does not really sound that cool of an organization but I guess Shield worked out so maybe one day it will too. Dick Grayson being a secret agent does sound cool but why ditch the outfit or use guns. Couldn't they just give him the obligatory stealth suit where they tone done the red on his chest and have him team up with other ninja style heroes to fight in the shadows. If Young Justice can give stealth suits to Kid Flash then Nightwing should pull it off.

Fanghawk:

FalloutJack:
Nah, that's no good. I'm thinking 'Dick Grayson, Attorney-At-Law'. He gets justice done above and beyond the bar!

Practically speaking, wouldn't that just be like if Daredevil wasn't blind?

Good point. And yet...all I can think of is the rivalry story now.

That sounds silly.

Sure, it could work with good writing, but most ideas can.
But why would he need to lie about his death to all his loved ones, especially the Bat-family? This isn't like some normal civilian being sucked into the spy game, so that cliche makes no sense in this context.

RealRT:
A Bat-family member other than Jason Todd or Alfred carrying a gun? Yeah, that won't upset anybody.

It's not that, as Dick has been a cop before it's the fact that DC have been mistreating Dick (pun intended) for years, Forever Evil is stupid because the universe isn't structured to where Nightwing's secret ID actually means anything, he doesn't have the enemies the friends or the status he once had to make this change legit let alone make sense.

I don't think the story aspect is bad per se it's just, at this time stupid. And how many secret organisations does DC need, half of them aren't even secret anymore. Plus if everyone (according to DC) knows who he is, why no mask now? Oh and faking his death without the Bat-family knowing isn't something Dick would do.

The whole New 52 is like DC looked at Marvel's "One More Day" with Spider-man and said, "that's brilliant! Let's do that with EVERYONE!"

Seeing Dick Grayson wielding a gun is like seeing Superman without the red underwear. It just does NOT look right.

So if people know Nightwing's identity, how hard could it be to sniff out Batman's identity?

So this super hero who is connected to Batman has a rich adoptive father who is also built like a truck? Probably just a coincidence.

ccdohl:
So if people know Nightwing's identity, how hard could it be to sniff out Batman's identity?

So this super hero who is connected to Batman has a rich adoptive father who is also built like a truck? Probably just a coincidence.

Well Bruce is publically known to fund Batman Inc but the public not then connecting the 4 Robins to bruce who just happened to be around the same age he took them in, requires some disbelief. Although not much.

See, neither Robin was with Bruce for a significant amount of time for anyone to really make any real connection beyond coincidence.

DC comic: No room to grow..

I can't speak for the new 52 but before it was my understanding that grayson becoming nightwing was a show of how much he'd grown beyond the role of robin, them playing this as finally him coming out from under batman's shadow is kind of silly because they've played that card before right? I don't follow specific dc characters too closely and mostly just pick up the big events but unless something about his character has drastically changed with the new 52 grayson has his won identity and taking that away from him isn't going to help him grow as a character. also if he's faking his death continuing to go by "grayson" may not be the best way to avoid detection.

and yeah to be fair dc and marvel are always picking stuff from each other's successes, nova core is basically marvel green lanterns, lobo is knock off wolverine, the sentry is marvel's superman, moon knight is marvel batman. and of course deadpool is deathstroke

nightmare_gorilla:
I can't speak for the new 52 but before it was my understanding that grayson becoming nightwing was a show of how much he'd grown beyond the role of robin, them playing this as finally him coming out from under batman's shadow is kind of silly because they've played that card before right? I don't follow specific dc characters too closely and mostly just pick up the big events but unless something about his character has drastically changed with the new 52 grayson has his won identity and taking that away from him isn't going to help him grow as a character. also if he's faking his death continuing to go by "grayson" may not be the best way to avoid detection.

You've summed it up perfectly :)

I can't shake the feeling that this is nothing more then DC attempting to cash in on Marvel's wildly successful SHIELD and CA:TWS, But comics have been stealing from each other for years anyway.

I don't think it is a SHIELD ripoff really. DC over the last few years has had no shortage of super-equipped, super-secret, shady, government agencies (every second #1 of the New 52 seemed to bring in another one) and SPYRAL, at least what was seen during their short previous appearance, looks like one of the... wierder ones. But I suppose, look who wrote it. And Kathy Kane as the head of it? That still weirds me out. Anyway, I'm curious about this. And slightly curious to see more of SPYRAL, they felt very convenient-plot-device when they were introduced.

Yeah... a former son/apprentice of batman running around killing people as a secret agent in the name of all that is good and heroic...

Makes perfect sense guys

Why is DC seems to have no idea what they are doing with their own characters anymore?

First we have man of steel 2 which more and more is looking like a avengers cash in clone with DC characters and random big name actors thrown in there

and now they are screwing up the comics...

*slowly claps* great job WB you are almost doing absolutely everything wrong, I mean aside from batman arkham orig oh wait...

That's right you decided not to fix that didn't you?

Alright then WB is officially fucking up everything to do with DC right now, their games are wrecked, their movies and comics are looking like they will follow suite...

Whee just what I want seeing more of my childhood icons shamelessly thrown into random garbage to make a quick buck...

Good lord, this is a terrible idea. The image of Dick Grayson even HOLDING a gun tells me it is a TERRIBLE idea.

Alright, check it. I think EVERYONE knows that Batman hates guns. Not only hates guns but basically as a lifelong, childhood formed HATRED of them. The only one in the Batfamily who could even think of getting away of handling a gun is Alfred, because he's Alfred screw you.

Now we have Dick. Dick isn't as crazy as Bruce, but, he doesn't have much reason to like guns either. On top of that, Dick is a fully formed character in his own right, probably the MOST out of any of the sidekicks. On top of THAT, Dick is the Anti-Bruce: cheerful, optimistic, trusting. He is a terrible liar, and a terrible spy. What he IS is a great performer and acrobat. He in no-way fits with a grim n gritty spy aesthetic.

So who is this comic for? FANS are going to be pissed because 1. Gun and 2. They're ruining happy go lucky Dick with ERMERGHERDMORALGREYISM. And non-fans? As evidenced by the news post, non-fans barely know who Dick Grayson is. Who is this comic for? What are they hoping to sell? WHO thought this was a good idea?

 

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