Art by: Mikel Janin, Hugo Petrus, Juan Castro, Jeromy Cox and Carlos M. Mangual
Cover Price: $3.99
Release Date: September 23, 2015
Reunited Cause It Feels So Good
Okay, it's no secret that I am a Dick Grayson fan first and a Grayson fan second...a very close second. The reason is that this book has been a celebration of the character and anyone who says different is dead to me. I know that sounds extreme, but hey, that's how I roll. In fact, if you aren't reading this book, get out right now and never come back. Are they gone? Good. Now I don't have to waste my breathe telling you that this is one of the best comics out today because you already know that. I mean, everyone reading this is well aware that the art is superb and each issue builds on everything that's come before it to reward readers in the best way possible. You guys also know that this issue is something very special with Dick heading back to Gotham for the first time since his "death" in Forever Evil. The only thing you don't know is what I thought of this issue, so let's get on with it, shall we? Oh, we shall...
The issue begins with Dick already in Gotham, preparing to meet with Bruce Wayne. The star of the scene, however, is an off panel Alfred who is prepping Dick for the visit. As Alfred uses his stage background to give Dick an old fashioned makeover, he tells him (and the reader) why some lies make the world a better place. It's such a great scene that ties into both the Batman and Grayson books and just makes so much sense.
As Dick ("Mr. Sparrow") and Bruce start talking, we get flooded with word bubbles of some of the big moments the two shared in the past. It's a great, emotional devise and only made me more sad that this new Bruce doesn't even know who Dick is. It gets more emotional when Dick asks Bruce if he is happy and after a little searching, Bruce says that he indeed has some joy in his life. I'm guessing that's all Dick wanted to hear and would have excused himself, but suddenly a Spyral Agent attacks.
It's no surprise that Spyral wants Dick back, but when the assailant reveals herself as Agent Zero (Agent Zero!!!) and warns Dick that if he doesn't get his cute ass back "home", they will tell the World that Bruce Wayne is Batman, they show that they aren't messing around. We also get an awesome fight that shows that Dick is outmatched..for now. This was a great scene, but nothing compared to what's next.
Of course, when I heard that Dick was heading back to Gotham, I was expecting him to catch up with old friends, but I was afraid Tom King would string us along a bit...maybe end the issue with him showing up at Barbara's apartment as a cliffhanger. Boy, was I wrong! We get everything I could wish for and more.
First up is Jason Todd and Tim Drake. What better reaction from Jason than him punching Dick in the face?!? Classic. Again, it's framed by poignant word bubbles and it was so good. Tom King shows that he not only knows all these characters, but their past together as Tim brings up the Death of the Family. The scene ends with Dick giving them a gift...and a secret message.
Next up is Barbara and while this was the one I was most looking forward to, it was my least favorite. It's not bad, it's just that Barbara doesn't really want to talk and jumps off the bridge they are on. Of course, Dick jumps off too and it was a great way to show how much he cares (and trusts) Babs. Again the scene ends with a great splash page with the same secret message.
I'll stop right here and let you in on a secret...I had no idea about the secret message at this point. I am a huge dummy and even when Barbara almost spills the beans, I had no idea what was going on.
The last person he goes to see was the best and most emotional thing I've read since...February 27, 2013. Among the usual word bubbles, Dick sees Damian for the first time since the little guy died. That Damian thought Dick was dead only made it better and I give Tom King full kudos for making the reader turn the page to see what Damian's full reaction would be. If Damian would have punched Dick or made a snarky comment, it would have been fully in character, but what he did was so much better. You have to see it for yourself and if you are like a reviewer from a site that has an 80's movie in it's name, you will cry...manly tears. Seriously, this was a perfect scene.
Dick also gives Damian a gift and the clue and when we see all the characters figure it out, it's another great moment. Dick has secretly set them up to help him fight Spyral as he goes back to rejoin the organization. It shows how well the Bat Family works together and I pray that we keep seeing them in the book, but that may be asking too much. The issue ends with Dick back in the Spyral fold, but wiser than they could ever imagine.
I loved this issue. Tom King could have just had Dick go back to Gotham, hug it out with his friends and go from there. Instead, he sets the book up for a bigger, better story and pulls at the reader's heart strings as well. Sure, I wish we would have gotten a little more Bruce, but maybe that will happen sometime soon. Then there is the identity of Agent One. I think King is playing with us and the true reveal will come later as well.
Mikel Janin is one of my favorite artists and every issue shows why. The guy never has a down moment and while he usually has tons of action to wow the reader with, this issue has some classic characters and moments that were even better. Jeromy Cox nails the colors as usual and this is one great looking issue.
Bits and Pieces:
I was expecting an emotional return to Gotham, but I couldn't have imagined just how emotional it would be. Seeing Dick reunite with the Bat Family was great, but Tom King goes even further by using it to set up the ongoing story that only looks to be better from here on out. No filler here. With a great story and outstanding art, I can't really find anything wrong with this issue.