Dick Grayson won’t die, but it looks like he won’t be a superhero anymore either, at least not for a while.
His new DC Universe role will be “undercover superspy.”
That’s the premise of Grayson, a new July-debuting ongoing series by co-writers Tim Seeley and Tom King, a former CIA counterterrorism operations officer who went to work for the intelligence agency after 9/11, and artist Mikel Janin.
According to USA Today late Monday night, after a career of being overshadowed by Batman, this new series and his new status quo will be chance for the former Robin and Nightwing to “take off the mask and step out on his own in a world where he's not simply being another hero like the hero he grew up with," King told the national newspaper.
After his apparent death during the events of Forever Evil and the end of the Nightwing series with May’s issue #30, Batman convinces Dick to remain dead in the eyes of the public and even to friends like Batgirl and Alfred (“out in the cold by himself”), in order to “transition to a different heroic life for the greater good,” which Seeley describes as a “hard sell” for Batman.
Said King of Dick’s decision: "He's doing something that's going to cause pain to his friends and family, but he believes in the cause. That tension between having to do something good but having the cost of it being pain to his family, it drives him a little crazy."
According to USA Today, Grayson's new employer is Spyral, the international spy agency created by Grant Morrison in Batman, Incorporated, which King said will stand in for today’s real-world intelligence community.
The series will apparently deal with the sometimes morally murky tactics used by intelligence agencies that purport to be the good guys but whose “penchant for manipulation instantly makes them nefarious."
“They're the people who stop bad guys from doing bad things, yet to do that, they employ questionable tactics such as mind erosion. He has to save the world, but he's dealing with an organization that may go beyond his comfort zone," King explained.
King said intends to bring to Grayson the “emotional feel for what it's like to work undercover, have bullets shot at you and cope with the inherent pressure of being an intelligence agent.”
"It's bliss to serve a higher cause and save people," King said, but "the hard part of it is it's tough to go home and lie to your family and pretend to be a different person."
The writers plan on reintroducing familiar DC characters to the series but also intend to create a new mythos for Grayson, including introducing his own Lex Luthor or The Joker-type archenemy.
The also plan on “leaning” into Grayson’s status as a comic book sex symbol, and obviously he’ll also be getting a new look for the series, courtesy of Janin.
“Gone is Grayson's mask, and his new outfit reflects the blue-and-black color scheme of his Nightwing togs and features a ‘G’ on his chest, reminiscent of the old ‘R’ from his Robin days, reports USA Today.
Finally, Seeley describes the tone of Grayson as a "world-hopping" action comic, and King expresses a desire to bring the appointment, water cooler TV experience to comic books, comparing every issue of the new series to an episode of Mad Men or Breaking Bad.
"It's DC's The Americans," King explained. "This is something where, at the end of it, you have to go and talk about it."