Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Grayson #12 (HERE BE SPOILERS!)

Man, this issue is solid.

The premise of the issue -- at least, the premise that you're supposed to believe -- is that Agent Zero has given Dick 24 hours to tell his loved ones in Gotham that he's alive before he returns to work for Spyral.  (She half-heartedly threatens to reveal Bruce Wayne's identity as Batman if he doesn't return.  You'd think that a spymaster would know about Bruce's current "situation.")  Dick returning to Spyral makes sense in the context of the larger story that Seeley and King are telling.  After all, it's not like Dick can exactly leave Spyral if he knows that it's still out there collecting superheroes' identities (even if we still don't know why it's doing so).  But, we also understand why he needed to return to Gotham, at least for a time.  Seeley and King made it clear last issue that he was so lonely after Bruce stopped answering his calls that he couldn't take it anymore.  Dick really conveys that loneliness here as he encounters his allies, nay, his family -- Alfred, Bruce, Tim, Jason, Barbara, and Damian.  The reunions with the last four form the emotional core of the issue, and it's the type of story that we just don't see anymore with the dissolution of the Bat-family.  Even Jason shows emotion here, punching Dick for making him go to his funeral.  You understand why Dick couldn't take his separation from them any longer.  He gives each one of them a memento -- Bruce's first Batarangs to the guys, the trapeze that Babs and Dick used on their first date to her, the sword that Bruce used to fight Ra's al-Ghul the first time to Damian -- and tells them how much they mean to him.  (The reunion with Damian is perhaps the best, even if Janin's drawing of their cheek-to-cheek hug is a little...odd.)

But, the twist is that Dick has returned to Gotham to recruit help.  His speeches to the family uses a code that Tim, Jason, Babs, and Damian recognize, telling them to break open the items that he gave them to reveal instructions.  Damian is sent to take out a member of Spyral, torturing him to give up his password.  Jason and Tim -- in a move from "Mission:  Impossible" -- use the password to send Babs a file.  She then uses Checkmate's systems to read it.  The result?  Babs is able to hack into hypnos, revealing to Dick that Agent Zero is Luka Netz.

Now, it's not all flawless, particularly when it comes to trying to unravel the super-spy stuff.  Seeley and King don't really explain how the password that Damian obtained could so easily be used to break into hypnos.  (Shouldn't it be a little more secure?)  Also, I'm not sure what they're going to do with the guy that Damian tortured.  Are they going to keep him in a cell so that he never tells Spyral that Damian wanted the password in the first place?  Also, it's unclear why Dick decides that it was so urgent to break into hypnos.  He seems to want to know Zero's identity, but, again, we're not told why he needed that information now.  We learned last issue that Agent Zero was Dr. Netz's sister, though I thought that it was Kathy Kane, not this Luka woman.  But, we don't know why she's suddenly active.  We first (and last) saw her when she killed Minos in issue #8.  We know nothing about her goals for Spyral or why her sister is warring with her.  In reality, it probably would've made more sense to send Helena after Dick.  As such, why would Agent Zero risk emerging from the shadows to do it?  Plus, even if she did risk it, why would Dick decide before she did so that he needed to break into hypnos to know her identity?  Helena is running the show right now, and he knows what she looks like.  It seems likely that it all has something to do with the developments in issue #11, but I can't for the life of me tell you what it is.

But, that said, it's still an enjoyable issue.  We finally ditch the ridiculous situation where the Bat-family doesn't know Dick is alive, and everything feels a little more straight-forward at this point.  It seems more and more likely that Dick is going to take down Spyral and then resume his life under a new costumed identity not linked to Nightwing.  But, at some point, we're really going to have to get more clarity on Spyral and stop the Morrisonesque series of distractions and diversions.  For the time being, though, it was just nice to see the family together, and I can't wait to get more of that.

*** (three of five stars)

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