Comic Book: Grayson

Grayson is a monthly Comic Book series published by DC Comics, started in July of 2014. Following the events of Forever Evil, Dick Grayson is presumed dead by most of the world, and Batman takes this as an opportunity to have Dick infiltrate Spyral, an espionage organisation intent on discovering the identities of the world's superheroes. Along for the ride is Helena Bertinelli, who was declared dead in Worlds' Finest, but is instead revealed to be an agent of Spyral.

Since this series is spinning out of Forever Evil, spoilers for that series will be unmarked.

Tropes applying to Grayson

  • The Ace: Helena Bertinelli, aka Matron, and Tiger, aka Agent 1, seem to be Spyral's top spies.
  • Alternate Company Equivalent: Fans noticed very early that Dick has basically become Bucky Barnes: after his death was faked in a major crossover event, he used it as a cover to free himself up for the kind of heavy-duty espionage his mentor can't do, but the similarities end there. Bucky's current title is wacky space adventures, anyway, and he was originally created as Marvel's equivalent of Dick's trope-making Kid Sidekick, so it fits.
    • The less obvious parallel is that the new series is essentially the male DC version of Marvel's Black Widow.
  • Anti-Villain: So far, Spyral has yet to do anything particularly villainous. Aside from Mister Minos trying to kill Grayson with the Paragon Template, but he died soon after and was replaced.
  • Arc Villain: Given a Lampshade Hanging with Mister Minos by Agent Zero in the end of the first arc. Despite feeling he was better than other villains, he had a singular obsession, much like many of the villains in Batman's Rogues Gallery: secrets.
  • The Atoner: Implied to be the motivation of Mister Minos.
  • Back from the Dead: Helena Bertinelli, who was said to be dead in Worlds' Finest, is alive here.
  • Belligerent Sexual Tension: Shades of this between... guess who.
  • Cartwright Curse: Between this book and New 52, Nightwing, every woman that Dick has slept with has died.
  • Chewing the Scenery: Tiger, Mr. Minos, Lex Luthor, and Midnighter have a few scenes among them.
  • The Comically Serious: Helena, when she's partnered up with Dick
  • Does Not Like Guns: Somewhat averted. Dick is shown to be fine with throwing guns, or using them to set off explosives. However, he has gone out of his way to not fire upon another human being.
  • Eldritch Abomination: Spyder comes off as this in its (their?) first appearance.
  • Enemy Mine: Dick and Midnighter team up to stop the Fist of Cain from setting off a telepathic assault on a crowd.
  • Establishing Character Moment: Or rather, a re-establishing character moment. Dick's use of a gun as a batarang in the opening pages of the first issue makes it clear that this is still the same Dick Grayson that fans love.
  • Faking the Dead:
    • Dick, who many think was killed by the Crime Syndicate.
    • Helena Bertinelli was also thought to be dead. It seems that Spyral recruits their agents this way.
  • Female Gaze: There's a lot of attention to how good Dick looks.... and then there's this comment from Midnighter.
    Midnighter: Your nifty Hypnos tech trick may make it so I can't see Spyral agents' faces... but I'd know that ass anywhere.
  • Femme Fatale: Helena, though in the first issue she's beaten to it by an enemy Femme Fatale.
  • Fish out of Water: A running theme is that Dick is an idealistic superhero working in an environment that values pragmatism and lies over idealism and honesty.
  • Foe Romance Subtext: Mixed with Homoerotic Subtext. Midnighter is definitely not on the side of Spyral, but he continuously talks about how good looking Dick Grayson is. The fact that Midnighter is actually homosexual does not help dispel these feelings in readers.
  • Good Vs Good: Dick vs Midnighter, thanks to Poor Communication Kills. During their third encounter, Midnighter boasted about how he could take down Spyral. If he had kept his mouth shut and not threatened to hurt Helena, Dick might have just negotiated a truce with him.
  • Hero Antagonist: Midnighter appears to play this role, in a Good Is Not Nice variety.
    Mr. Minos: He is an angry, brutal, and resentful man... but he is also a man of duty.
  • Homoerotic Subtext:
    • Mixed with Foe Romance Subtext. Midnighter is definitely not on the side of Spyral, but he continuously talks about how good looking Dick Grayson is. The fact that Midnighter is actually homosexual does not help dispel these feelings in readers.
    • Issue 9 has it with Agent 1.
      Agent 1: (first words out of flashback in the issue) All right, Dick Grayson, get your clothes off.
      Dick: (after putting on a suit) Am I straight?
  • Honey Pot: Dick himself has acted as one.
  • Hot Teacher:
    • Helena is an instructor at St. Hadriana's Finishing School.
    • Dick himself, as of the fourth issue; after some of the students discover he's living at the school, he's given the cover of being a homosexual French acrobatics teacher. While the homosexual part Mr Minos decided on to use as a way to turn the girls off, its quickly lampshaded that it does nothing but add to the appeal.
  • Hypocrite: Mr. Minos talks of how "all will be unmasked" while erasing all evidence that could reveal his identity down to a microscopic level.
  • Improbable Aiming Skills: While Dick has always been able to throw objects and have them bounce, they were specially designed. Here, he bounces a pistol off of a telephone pole while on top of a moving train.
  • It's Personal: Minos' attitude notably changes whenever a case involves the Fist of Cain. It's implied that he had an unpleasant history with them back when he had a face.
  • Lampshade Hanging: Mr. Minos seems very aware that he's a James Bond villain, even calling himself "very 60s Fleming".
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: Agent 8 laments that superheroes all come from "weird places" and not normal towns like the one she grew up in: Smallville, Kansas.
    Agent 8: "See that's the trouble with you super-types, you're all from somewhere strange. No Smallville Graduates in the sky."
  • Meaningful Echo: Tom King has a habit of developing themes through the repetition of spoken phrases in different contexts.
  • Mind Control: Spyral uses Hypnos for this purpose. Dick is inexperienced in their use, thus making it a last resort for him.
  • Mr. Fanservice: Word of God says this series will explore Dick's position as one.
    • Acknowledged in-universe, as he's living at a private high school for girls. And then he gets given the cover of being their new gay French Acrobatics teacher. Yeah...
    • And again in a crossover with Detective Comics, where he shows up at a club in Belarus looking for information, and the club owner automatically assumes that he's here to seduce her. He goes along, at least until he gets the information he needs.
  • Obfuscating Stupidity: Since he is undercover, Dick sometimes has to play dumb in order to smuggle information out from under Spyral's noses. Example: the lollipop scene.
  • Poorly Disguised Pilot: Issue #30 of Nightwing was blatantly one for this series.
  • Properly Paranoid: Helena keeps her crossbow sights off-target. It ends up saving her life.
  • Race Lift: Helena Bertinelli, who became a darker skinned variation of Italian.
  • Really Gets Around: A Chick Magnet character who already has a reputation being thrust into a James Bond role where he encounters attractive women in their 20s? Yeah, it's no surprise where this is going...
  • Running Gag: The number of people who are able to recognize Dick from his butt alone has been steadily increasing. Granted, they are Midnighter, who has a supercomputer in his head, and Barbara Gordon, who has a photographic memory.
  • Secret Keeper: Spyral is trying to discover the identities of Earth's superheroes. However, part of the reason they're keeping the secrets is likely because they aren't "100% sure'' that they got them right, but viewing the monitors, it's clear they do.
  • Sequel Series: Sort of. While the series technically is one to Nightwing due to the 30th issue of that series essentially being Grayson's #0 and being the "next stage" in Dick's life, it does not use any of the supporting cast of Nightwing, nor does it require you to read that series, other than the 30th issue.
  • Ship Tease:
    • The series wasted no time launching the Helena Bertinelli/Dick Grayson ship, or rather relaunching it, since before the New 52, the two had briefly dated.
    • And they receive a Relationship Upgrade in the alternate future tie-in.
  • Shout-Out: In Issue 6, Grayson tells Midnighter he had become "a spider man" instead of what he used to be, referencing his place in Spy Fiction now. Many have noted similarities between his personality and that of the Marvel Comics superhero.
  • Spy Fiction: The entire series is this, in a mixture between the Tuxedo and Martini variant in tone with underpinnings of the more realistic one as well.
  • Viewers Are Geniuses:
    • The Futures End tie-in used a Back to Front structure in which each page was embedded with hidden messages and symbolism. It would be nearly impossible to fully understand the plot without reading the book a second time, preferably in reverse order, with a careful eye on dialogue. Many "professional" reviewers (such as IGN and Newsarama) didn't bother, and missed out on the actual story.
    • Further issues have seem to get this as well, with fans often praising the book for its multi-layered writing, while some critics who skimmed over the issue complain about the lack of a hand-holding narrative.
  • Teeth-Clenched Teamwork: Between Helena, Tiger, and Midnighter, everyone that Dick has ever worked with can barely stand his happy-go-lucky daredevil antics. Helena does seem to warm up to him, however. Tiger even has a catchphrase:
    Tiger: Dick Grayson, you're an idiot.
  • Vitriolic Best Buds:
    Helena: "Dick Grayson is not dead. If he is, I will kill him."
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist:
    • Spyral's main goal is to discover the identities of masked superheroes. Though it is somewhat hypocritical, given their use of Hypnos to hide their own identities. However, they do seem very interested in saving innocent lives.
    • The Gardener appears to be a darker version, as she was willing to let innocents die in order to bring awareness to the superhuman arms race.
  • The Worf Effect: Midnighter spends most of his issues being somehow beaten by Dick Grayson, despite the fact that he is a superhuman, darker version of Grayson's former mentor.
  • Xanatos Gambit: The entire first arc, concerning the body parts of the Paragon Template, was a gambit by Kathy Kane to lure Dick into her employ.
  • X Meets Y: The book has been often been described as "Archer meets Batman with 60s James Bond".
  • You Are Number Six: Many of the agents are given numbered codenames, in the vein of "Agent [Number]". Dick in particular is Agent 37.
  • You Kill It, You Bought It: Helena becomes the new head of Spyral after killing Mr. Minos.
  • You Have Out Lived Your Usefulness: What happens to Mr. Minos after he attempts to betray Spyral's secrets.