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Grayson is a monthly Comic Book series published by DC Comics, started in July of 2014, written by Tim Seeley and Tom King, with art primarily by Mikel Janin. Following the events of Forever Evil (2013), 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.

In March 2016, it was revealed that, as part of the DC Rebirth initiative, Grayson will be spun back off into Nightwing, with Dick returning to his former role, and Tim Seeley will stay as writer. Helena, however, is part of the Batgirl and the Birds of Prey series.

Since this series is spinning out of Forever Evil (2013), spoilers for that series will be unmarked.

Tropes applying to Grayson

  • A.I. Is a Crapshoot: Subverted. The Spyder is introduced as a malevolent artificial intelligence who brainwashes Spyral's leaders. Actually, while indeed evil, it's in fact the digitized mind of Spyral's founder, Otto Netz.
  • The Ace: Helena Bertinelli, aka Matron, and Tiger, aka Agent 1, are Spyral's top spies. The former even becomes the leader of the agency following Minos' defection.
  • Achilles' Heel: Paragon is a nearly indestructible android who has the powers of all the members of the Justice League. However, his design is incomplete, since Spyral was never able to secure his heart. As a result, Dick manages to stop the monstrosity by firing a single bullet through his chest.
  • Affably Evil:
    • Ladytron, the sociopathic cyborg who works for God Garden, cracks jokes and flirts with Dick as they fight against Spyral's security bots.
    • The vampire that tries to kill Dick in the third annual is surprisingly amicable, as he accepts his defeat and unironically thanks the hero for making his last meal so memorable.
  • Agents Dating:
    • It's forbidden for Spyral agents to date each other, though both Helena and Alia end up sleeping with Dick (although the former only does so in the non-canon "Futures End" story).
    • Alia and Tiger loved each other, but their relationship was complicated by the fact she was loyal to Elisabeth, while he was Checkmate's sleeper agent.
  • All Your Powers Combined: Paragon's organs imbue their holders with the powers of a certain member of the Justice League. When the android is rebuilt at the end of the second arc, he is granted all their abilities at the same time.
  • 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. Winter Soldier was spy noir and had a much darker tone, whereas Grayson is more akin to a Bond movie with its more playful style.
    • The less obvious parallel is that the new series is essentially the male DC version of Marvel's Black Widow.
    • A pop art infused sci-fi international spy adventure series involving a womanizing super-agent is inevitably going to bring comparisons to the Jim Steranko era Nick Fury.
  • Amazing Technicolor Battlefield: The final confrontation against Dr. Dedalus takes place in a featureless white room, which morphs into a red void whenever the villain possesses one of the heroes.
  • And I Must Scream: Helena retains a certain degree of consciousness while Dr. Dedalus is possessing her body, comparing her experience to being trapped inside her own head.
  • And the Adventure Continues: The series ends with Helena daydreaming about her and Dick's next adventures, as the protagonist enthusiastically removes his Spyral uniform to reveal the Nightwing costume underneath.
  • Apologetic Attacker: King Faraday apologizes to Helena as the Syndicate prepares to assassinate her.
  • 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.
  • Aw, Look! They Really Do Love Each Other: Subverted. When Luka and Elisabeth finally meet face to face, they surprisingly put aside their animosity for each other and hold hands. However, they then immediately start a vicious fight once it becomes clear that they both wish to host their father's mind.
  • Bait-and-Switch: Matron learns someone has been murdering spies and suspects the culprit to be Tiger. Dick responds to her warning by knocking his partner out in the middle of a mission and fleeing, but a menacing figure is then seen approaching the unconscious man with an escrima stick... only to be murdered by the real killer, who leaves Tiger unharmed.
  • Batman Gambit: Dr. Dedalus possesses Bertinelli, knowing that Dick would offer his own body in exchange for his friend's safety. Ironically, this turns out to be part of Dick's gambit, as he manages to defeat the villain by using the Hypnos implants to shock his own brain.
  • Battle in the Center of the Mind: The final battle against Dr. Dedalus takes place inside Dick's mind, as he summons all his previous incarnations to try and expel the villain's consciousness from his own body.
  • Bitch in Sheep's Clothing:
    • Agent 8 is introduced as a lively and friendly young woman, but she is actually Elisabeth's subordinate, acting as the main antagonist of the "Nemesis" arc.
    • Elisabeth Netz appears to be just an eccentric doctor, but is actually the daughter of Dr. Dedalus and conspiring to bring him back to life. Subverted in that she comes to reject his ideologies and regret her actions, but is murdered before she can pull a proper Heel–Face Turn.
  • Book Ends: Each panel in the comic's first page depicts a different stage of Dick's life, from his days working as an acrobat in his parents' circus, to his adventures as Robin and Nightwing, and finally his apparent death in Forever Evil (2013). The last issue's final page follows a similar structure, but concludes with Dick discarding his spy outfit as he goes back to his Nightwing uniform.
  • But for Me, It Was Tuesday:
    • Grayson erroneously accuses Maxwell Lord of framing him for a series of murders in a previous arc. Lord responds that he doesn't remember that, but only because he can't keep track of everything while working to keep the world safe.
    • At the end of the story, Helena says that saving the world must have felt like just another Tuesday to Dick, but she herself was shaken by the experience.
  • Cain and Abel: Otto created Elisabeth to be sensible, but raised Luka to be cruel. Following his resurrection, he tells the two siblings there is only space for one of them in his grand scheme. Realizing that he never saw the two of them as anything but pawns, Elisabeth begs her sister to drop her gun and abandon their father's ideologies, but Luka just shoots her in cold blood.
  • Car Fu: Dick and Superman manage to momentarily stun Blockbuster by crashing the Man of Steel's motorcycle into him.
  • Cartwright Curse: Between this book and New 52 Nightwing, every woman that Dick has slept with has died.
  • Chekhov's Gun: In the second issue, it's shown that high-ranking Spyral operatives can subdue lesser agents by saying a code word, which causes the Hypnos implants to emit a mild shock to the victim's brain. This becomes instrumental during the final battle, when Dick triggers his own Hypnos implants to exorcise Dr. Dedalus from his body.
  • Chess Motifs: Checkmate is a covert operations agency whose structure is designed after a game of chess. Its leader, Maxwell Lord, adopted "Black King" as his code name, whereas lesser agents and people who are being manipulated by the organization are referred to as "pawns".
  • Cold Sniper: In the final issue, Tiger kills Alia with a sniper rifle, while reflecting on his own nature as a murderer.
    "You said I was too kind. That I had lost my nature. That I was no longer a monster. (...) You were wrong, Alia."
  • Color Motif: Played for Laughs. Dick assigns Batgirl the code name "Red", as a reference to her hair colour. Red Hood, who at this point is currently working with Red Robin, sarcastically asks whether other colours exist.
  • Comedic Sociopathy: The Hood suffers severe injuries whenever he makes an appearance, though his anguish is treated as a non-issue by the other characters. He is nearly killed in issue 2, as one of Bertinelli's students mistakes him for an enemy and shoots an arrow in his direction. Later on, Minos reveals that the Hood lost several of his fingers in a previous mission, implying that they were bitten off and devoured by Poppy Ashemore. Finally, when the Batfamily tries to find a way to hack into Dick's Hypnos, they target the Hood, beat him up, and leave him hanging upside-down from the top of a building.
  • Continuity Snarl: Plot elements and characters from Batman (Grant Morrison) are reintroduced and given brand new developments in this series. For example, the terrorist organization Leviathan was created by Talia al Ghul in Morrison's story, but founded by Otto Netz here. Though the contradictions would suggest that the two works are set in different continuities, a major event from Morrison's Batman (the death of Damian Wayne) is referenced in Grayson's pages, establishing that both stories are somehow part of the same canon.
  • Covers Always Lie:
    • The cover for issue 4 shows Grayson desperately trying to escape the Skullgirls, with one of them taking aim at him with a crossbow. While the chase does occur in the actual comic, it's much more playful in nature, with the girls only trying to get a better look at his body while he teases them by running around Hadrian's school.
    • The cover for Volume 5 shows Grayson teaming up with the Bat-family, Agent 1, Matron, the Skullgirls, Ladytron, Midnighter and Ninel Dubov, while the Spyral leaders and the Gardener stare ominously in the background. Only a fraction of those characters appear in the actual story, with the Skullgirls and Tiger actually posing as an obstacle for Dick.
  • Cut Lex Luthor a Check: In the "Gut Feelings" issue, over Dick's protest, Spyral chooses to make Dr. Ashemore a deal; give up the biomech digestive enhancer that gives her Super-Speed in exchange for a Horror Hunger that has driven her to cannibalism, and she can become a fully licensed scientist again working with Spyral in a properly equipped lab with unlimited funding.
  • De-power: Superman guest stars in the second annual, though he has lost all of his powers except his Super-Strength and enhanced hearing.
  • Desperate Plea for Home: Dick is shown to miss his former life, as he nostalgically reminisces about the last time the Bat-family went on a picnic. After the Paragon project is dismantled and Minos is killed, he asks Batman if his mission is completed and sadly requests to be allowed to go home.
    Dick Grayson: Bruce... Mr. Malone. This is... please, please... Can I come home?
  • Deus ex Machina: In issue 16, Spyder orders Bertinelli to activate the nanobots on Grayson' bloodstream to prevent him from learning the secret origins of Spyral. Conveniently enough, the hero is attacked by a group of security bots just as the order is being executed, prompting him to trigger an electromagnetic pulse that not only fries the attackers' circuits, but also disables the nanomachines that were about to kill him.
  • Does Not Like Guns: Played with. 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.
  • Dragon with an Agenda: Mr. Minos' true allegiance is to Maxwell Lord, who tasked him with infiltrating Spyral and using its assets to uncover the identities of the Justice League members. However, once Paragon is reassembled, Minos abandons his original mission and tries to use the android for his own purposes.
  • Emotion Bomb: Paragon's brain imbues the wielder with Martian Manhunter's empathy and telepathy. A member of the Fist of Cain cult uses it to brainwash a large group of people, who start fighting among themselves. Once Dick gets a hold of the organ, he uses it to pacify the crowd.
  • 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 used to defend Gotham.
  • Even the Guys Want Him: Grayson is considered attractive by all the girls in Bertinelli's boarding school, as well as the Midnighter, who is able to identify him simply by looking at his buttocks.
  • Evil is Petty: Dr. Dedalus, while possessing Dick's body, taunts an injured Helena by telling her that Grayson is really in love with Barbara, whom he also finds to be much prettier than her.
  • Evil Versus Evil: The entire plot turns out to be a secret war between the Netz siblings, who wish to restore their megalomaniacal Nazi father to life, but have to compete for the right of hosting his soul.
  • Eye Scream:
    • At the end of the "Nemesis" arc, Tiger rips out his own Hypnos implants so he can identify his attacker, causing his eyes to bleed profusely in the next panels.
    • A miniaturized Keshi punches Helena in the eye in issue #18, resulting in a large gout of blood.
  • 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.
    • Alia/Agent 8, who takes a pretty fatal-looking injury, returns alive and well.
  • Faux Affably Evil: Alia is always seen with a smile and a cheerful attitude, but is one of the most dangerous enemies Dick faces. Her loyalty to Elisabeth Netz elicits her to commit a series of crimes, such as nearly starting a war between spy agencies, almost killing her ex-partner (and former lover) Tiger, and ensuring the resurrection of Dr. Dedalus.
  • Fire-Forged Friends: Despite Tiger and Grayson's initial contempt for each other, they gradually form a friendship once they start working together to disrupt Spyral's missions across the globe. Their mutual respect persists even after Tiger is revealed to be working for Checkmate: Conflicted between the mission and his feelings, Tiger curses his former partner for making him feel sympathy.
  • 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.
  • Five-Second Foreshadowing:
    • At the end of the Nemesis arc, Dick's doppelganger drops obvious hints to his true identity, only a few pages before he is unmasked: Him calling the protagonist "Wing-Knight", mentioning the one-night stand with Alia and delivering the Catchphrase "Don't wait for the explosion. Cause the explosion" are dead giveaways that he is Agent 8.
    • Issue 18 drops some hints that Tiger's true allegiance is to Checkmate: Faraday dares Tiger to show his true "stripes", while Agent 8 chastises him for serving a "grid" of orderly peace. Issue 19 opens with said spy joining Checkmate as the organization raids the Spyral base.
  • Friendly Enemy: Ladytron is a psychopatic spy working for God Garden, but she exchanges friendly dialogue with Dick and Tiger as the two are attacked by Spyral security bots in Berlin. At one point, she has to remind them both that they are actually enemies.
  • Good Versus 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.
  • Grand Theft Me: Dr. Dedalus takes over Helena's body during the final arc.
  • Heel–Face Turn: At the end of the story, Tiger defects from Checkmate and reforms Spyral as its Patron.
  • Hero Antagonist:
    • Midnighter's goal to take down Spyral causes him to oppose Grayson and disrupt his missions. However, much like the protagonist, his actions result from him knowing that the organization is up to something sinister. Minos himself points out that Midnighter is, by all accounts, a hero of the Good Is Not Nice variety.
    Mr. Minos: He is an angry, brutal, and resentful man... but he is also a man of duty.
    • The Syndicate has come up with a plan to save the world from Dr. Dedalus, but since it involves assassinating Helena Bertinelli, they come into direct conflict with the protagonist.
    Faraday: We are not villains!
    Bronze Tiger: We are the spies who will save the world!
  • Horror Hunger: Whilst in possession of the biomech digestive enhancer, Dr. Ashemore is forced to consume vast amounts of calories to counteract the rapid aging effect that comes from using her Super-Speed. A combination of this, a need to get rid of the bodies of various spies who track her down and implied Sanity Slippage leads to her devouring the corpses those who came after her.
  • Hot Teacher: Dick, 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 his appeal.
  • Hunting the Most Dangerous Game: The Fist of Cain is a cult where members rise to higher ranks by murdering other people, with notorious victims earning the killers more "points". The second annual deals with a group of cultists hunting down Agent 37 and a depowered Superman through the streets of Gotham, forcing the two heroes to turn to Lex Luthor for protection.
  • Hypnotic Eyes: Every Spyral agent has Hypnos implants on their eyes, which they can use to delude their victims and trap them in illusions. Lex and Agent 8 later show that the Hypnos can be hacked to be used against their owners.
  • Improbable Aiming Skills: While Dick has always been able to throw objects and have them bounce, they were specially designed to do so. Here, he bounces a pistol off of a telephone pole while on top of a moving train.
  • Innocuously Important Episode: Issue 15 is completely detached from the main story, as it's a tie-in to the Robin War event. Regardless, it becomes the driving force of the first arc of Nightwing (Rebirth).
  • Insult of Endearment: Grayson playfully nicknames Tiger as "Tony" to tease him.
  • 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.
  • Kill It with Fire: In the third annual, Dick is bitten by a vampire, infecting the monster with his Hypnos-tainted blood. The hero then says the code word "Helios", causing the nanobots to incinerate the creature from the inside.
  • Lampshade Hanging:
    • Mr. Minos seems very aware that he's a James Bond villain, even calling himself "very 60s Fleming".
    • The person in possession of Paragon's eyes is Old Gun, a man who has undergone surgery to connect his ocular nerve centre to his pistols' muzzles. Minos lampshades the ridiculousness of the character by commenting that "people can be so strange".
  • 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.
  • Legacy Character:
    • Played with. Agent 37, Red Hood, Red Robin and Damian Wayne have all taken the identity of Robin at some point in the past, though only Damian still goes by said alias. Nevertheless, he still refers to Jason and Tim as "easy-to-kill Robin" and "easy-to-forget Robin", respectively.
    • Agent Zero was the identity Otto Netz took when he founded Spyral. After he became the Spyder, said designation was appropriated by his daughter Luka.
  • Mass Hypnosis: Somnus is a thought-suppression satellite network, which can broadcast a signal to disrupt radio waves and psychic frequencies across the globe. Dr. Dedalus intends to use it to hypnotize the entire planet, making half of the planet loyal to Spyral, while the other half acts on behest of Leviathan.
  • Mêlée à Trois: Issue 18 is an all-out war between the Syndicate, who wants to kill Bertinelli; Dick and Tiger, who want to protect her; Agent 8, who is loyal to Elisabeth; and the Skullgirls, who are tricked into working for Luka.
  • The Mole:
    • The protagonist himself only joined Spyral to relay its secrets to Batman.
    • Agent 1/Tiger and Mister Minos turn out to be working for Spyral's rival corporation, Checkmate.
  • Mr. Fanservice:
    • The series explores Dick's position as one, by giving him many Shirtless Scenes and having him live at a private high school for girls, under the guise of a gay French Acrobatics teacher.
    • 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.
  • Mythology Gag:
    • When re-uniting with Bruce and Barbara, several quotes spoken by the respective characters towards Dick are scattered on the page. Some of those quotes are from stories that certainly would not make sense in the current canon, such as the Bronze Age stories, and the infamous All-Star Batman & Robin, the Boy Wonder.
    • In issue 19, the silhouette of Dick jumping while lightning strikes in the background is a reference to the iconic cover of Batman: The Dark Knight Returns.
  • Ninja Pirate Zombie Robot: Since the security nanocytes from the AWOL base couldn't find a human host, they bonded with the next deadliest creature they could find, producing a zombie robotic orca.
  • Obfuscating Stupidity: Since Dick is undercover, he sometimes has to play dumb in order to smuggle information out from under Spyral's noses. One example includes him loudly sucking on a lollipop like a child, until Helena is annoyed enough to knock it out of his mouth. Dick then collects the candy and sends it to Batman, hoping that some of the material that adhered to it can help them figure out Minos' identity.
  • Oh, Crap!:
    • Elisabeth panics upon finding out that Dick is in Spandau, as she figures out he is about to access the database that contains information on Spyral's origins. After her attempts to convince Bertinelli to cancel the mission fail, she resorts to summoning the Spyder to brainwash Helena into killing Dick, though this plan also fails.
    • The entire Syndicate is horrified once Dick summons Midnighter to fight them.
  • Ouroboros: A snake eating its own tail is the symbol of Dr. Dedalus and represents his desire for eternal violence.
  • Parody: The montage of Dick and Tiger travelling across the globe in issue 16 pokes fun at the opening sequence of the James Bond movies, as the two heroes are shown performing random acrobatic feats to the sound of a cheesy song, with the transition between panels also being silhouettes of guns or women.
  • The Password Is Always "Swordfish": The title of issue 16 is "Code Word: Swordfish", alluding to the password Dick uses to gain access to a club where a rival Spyral agent is located.
  • The Power of Friendship: Grayson survives the final battle despite being subjected to the same injuries as the Big Bad. Helena explains that this was possible because the hero drew strength from his loved ones.
    Helena Bertinelli: Because they're your people, Dick Grayson. They're why you fight. Why you survived suicide-by-Hypnos, and (the villain) didn't. Your people are your heart.
  • Properly Paranoid: Helena keeps her crossbow sights off-target. It ends up saving her life, as Minos attempts to kill her with it at the end of the Paragon arc.
  • Race Lift: Helena Bertinelli, who was Caucasian in previous portrayals, is reimagined with dark skin.
  • Redemption Equals Death: After spending the entire series following the instructions of the Big Bad, a mortally wounded Elisabeth finds redemption by deleting all the information about the Justice League from Spyral's database, ensuring that it doesn't fall in the hands of Checkmate.
  • Robo Romance: Discussed by Ladytron. She is a cyborg who has little regard for the "meat-types", implying she only feels romantic attraction towards other machines.
  • 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. Of course, both of their sexual orientations including Dick's gender help too.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here: Dick leaves Spyral after finding out that Bruce is MIA, that the Hypnos implants can be used to manipulate his body, and that Helena has been dealing with Lex Luthor.
  • Sealed Evil in a Can: The Big Bad is Otto Netz, a scientist who uploaded his mind into Spyral's data base, hoping to prevent his mental deterioration after being diagnosed with Alzheimer's. He spent the following years grooming his two daughters, Elisabeth and Luka, so that one of them would relinquish her body to him in the future. During the final arc, he ultimately changes his original plan and makes preparations to take over Grayson's body.
  • 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:
    • Downplayed. 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.
    • To Grant Morrison's Batman, Incorporated. It features the St. Hadrian's School introduced in that run, follows up on the story of the Netz family, and Spyral is given more exploration (they were name dropped as the Hood's employer, but all we knew was they were concerned with Batman's secret identity).
  • Sex Is Violence: The heroes are attacked by Spyral security bots while invading Luka Netz's base in Spandau, so Tiger tries to convince Ladytron to fry their enemies' circuits with an electromagnetic pulse. Dick responds by beating Tiger into unconsciousness, as the pulse would also destroy the database he is trying to access. Ladytron compliments him, apparently being turned on by the double-crossing.
    Ladytron: Usually I don't go for you meat-types, but that was so cold-hearted, you're giving me an "oily".
  • 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.
    • The series makes it clear that Dick loves Barbara, despite the latter confessing that she doesn't think she is the right woman for him.
  • 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.
  • Sinister Spy Agency: At the start of the story, Spyral has begun gathering sensitive information on the identity of superheroes. Dick infiltrates the organization at Batman's request and investigates their intentions, though the truth turns out to be much more complex than originally expected: Spyral's true purpose is to preserve the consciousness of Mad Scientist Otto Netz, find him a suitable host, and set him free so he can brainwash the entire world.
  • The Sociopath: Otto Netz has all the symptoms of a dangerous sociopath. He is completely apathetic to other people's suffering and blind to the damage he inflicted upon his own daughters, whom he remorselessly manipulates to fulfill his own goals. His plan to immerse the world in an unending cycle of violence was born from a pathological need for stimulation, since not even his status as a powerful and influent leader could curb his boredom. Finally, his self-conceit is highlighted when he compares himself to a spider, and the rest of the world to his web.
  • Spiders Are Scary:
    • Spyral is a Sinister Spy Agency whose symbol is red eye in the centre of a spider web. The motif extends to the organization's gadgets, which include nanobots shaped like the arachnid, as well as an artificial intelligence called Spyder, which acts as a seer.
    • During the final battle, four pairs of spider legs erupt from Dr. Dedalus' back as he prepares to fight the Graysons. After the heroes manage to overpower him, he calls forth an army of giant spiders that tear through his opponents until only Nightwing is left standing.
  • 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.
  • Stalker without a Crush: Tim Drake runs a program to locate any potential pictures of Luka Netz on the internet, and is startled to find evidence that she has been monitoring Batman and Dick's activities from the beginning of their careers. Though identifying and neutering superheroes has always been Spyral's objective, Luka takes particular interest on Dick, hatching an elaborate scheme to manipulate him into joining Spyral.
  • Stepford Smiler: Grayson is uncharacteristically optimistic and quippy for a secret agent, but his jokey demeanor is just a façade to cope with his internalized trauma. Alia exploits this during their battle, disorienting the protagonist by forcing him to reflect on his most sorrowful moments.
    "What one-liner did you use when Jason died? What fantastic quip came after Barbara took the bullet?"
  • Super-Strong Child: The baby who was born with Paragon's heart is a meta-bio weapon who possesses Wonder Woman's Super-Strength.
  • Symbol Face:
    • All Spyral operatives have Hypnos implants embedded on their eyes, which hypnotize nearby observers and jam recording devices. As a result, it's impossible to identify the agents' faces, which are perceived as a flesh-coloured spiral.
    • In the first issue, the reader is introduced to Mr. Minos, current leader of the covert operations agency Spyral. His true appearance is never shown, as his facial features are distorted into the shape of a spiral, lampshading both the name of the organization he leads and his obsession with keeping secrets. Nightwing (Rebirth) would then reveal that he is actually an A.I. given human form via light construct technology, and therefore has no real face of his own.
  • Take That!: When facing an evil doppleganger, Dick goes on a rant about how every cliched story about an evil doppleganger ultimately ends up being a Clayface story.
  • Take This Job and Shove It: Dick's stress after months of working for Spyral is exacerbated by his homesickness, his inability to contact Bruce, and the discovery that the agency can use its tech to deprive him of his free will. He eventually reaches his breaking point after being psychologically tortured by Agent 8: During his next briefing with Matron, he states he is quitting Spyral and coldly walks away.
  • Tears of Blood: Dick's eyes bleed whenever he uses his Hypnos implants.
  • 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.
  • There Can Be Only One: After the Big Bad possesses Bertinelli, he informs his daughters that there is only room for one of them in his new world. Elisabeth refuses to be her sister's executioner, though Luka is far more willing to join her father.
  • Vicious Cycle: The Big Bad longs for a never ending circle of conflict to satiate his bloodlust: Leviathan commits horrific atrocities, which Spyral then dismantles, prompting the former to evolve, and the latter to adapt accordingly.
  • Victory Is Boring: Otto created Spyral to gather intelligence on superheroes, and the agency soon evolved until it could exert its influence on entire nations. However, he longed for conflict and ultimately concluded that his success was nothing but a source of boredom.
  • 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.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: The Gardener was willing to let innocents die in order to bring awareness to the superhuman arms race.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: Poppy Ashemore is nowhere to be seen during the final arc, though it's implied she has left Spyral at some point between issues #15 and #18, since Dr. Netz comments there are no other doctors at Spyral HQ.
  • Xanatos Gambit: The entire first arc, concerning the body parts of the Paragon Template, was a gambit by Luka Netz to lure Dick into her employ.
  • Xanatos Speed Chess: In the "Nemesis" arc, Elisabeth orders Alia to commit a series of murders and place the blame on Dick, hoping to drive the protagonist away from Spyral and, by extension, from Luka's influence. Their plan appears to fail once the hero deduces Alia's next move and engages her in a fight, though she nevertheless manages to beat him by preying on his insecurities. Once Dick steps down from the job, Elisabeth congratulates Alia for accomplishing the mission despite neither of them being able to predict Grayson's actions.
  • You Are Number 6: 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.