Review by Ian Keogh
Dick Grayson is working undercover for an independent covert agency called Spyral. They have an agenda, he’s not sure what it is, and the conclusion to the previous We All Die at Dawn threw everything into the air. It’s fired a hole right through the certainty of Dick’s mission. Further complicating matters is a lack of contact from Batman, on whose behalf Dick infiltrated Spyral, and that someone is murdering Spyral’s agents, and these aren’t an infinite commodity. When you’re involved with organisation that specialises in misdirection, truth is well hidden. Another problem with that is when someone you instinctively don’t trust imparts some credible information, it may be worth paying attention.
Writers Tom King and Tim Seeley continue to recast Dick Grayson as James Bond, more so than ever in Nemesis as the locations and garb underline the comparison. It makes for a couple of opening chapters that prioritise action glamour at the expense of plot, but they lead into an excellent sequence of Dick having to confront himself. Yes, that’s a superhero comic standby, but it surely can’t have been carried off with as much panache as here. The core even withstands one of the hoariest of fiction clichés at its heart. It’s also a reminder of why Grayson frustrates as a series. It proceeds at a slightly better than average rate, yet every volume presents one or two chapters elevated above the general standard, and this is it for Nemesis.
Not that the remainder can be discounted. Dick discovers the reason behind one of his problems, and needs to make the acquaintance of some old friends. They, of course, believe he’s dead.
To date Mikel Janín’s art has been an impressive combination of action dynamics and imaginative layouts, but no matter how good an artist is, there comes a time when familiarity trumps wonder. Janín seems well aware of this, and ensures that every now and then there’s a page that really takes the breath away. Look for Dick escaping a well known foe, for instance, or a spiral layout reflecting the series theme.
Alvaro Martinez illustrates what was the second Grayson annual, very well actually, but it’s a bitty piece with some nice scenes and a neat way out of a problem, but no real thread. A persistence in using the preposterous Mark of Cain thugs – the top trumps addicts of the villainy set – is puzzling, and the other villain used has always been characterless.
The next volume is A Ghost in the Tomb.