Pros: This is a satisfying conclusion to the series as a whole that wraps up nearly every plotline and mystery.
Cons: A few of the series’ plotlines are rushed and conclude somewhat haphazardly.
Overall: This is the ending to the series that fans have been waiting for. Mysteries are solved, secret alliances are revealed, and the story as a whole is given a conclusion. Though there are a few missteps along the way, this is another solid installment in the Grayson series that provides an ending to everything readers have been wondering about.
Most of this collection includes comic issues from the Grayson comic book series. However, this collection also includes one issue of the Nightwing series, which is the series that immediately follows Grayson. For this reason we will not be discussing this one issue of Nightwing and will be instead discussing it in our review of Nightwing Vol. 1: Better than Batman (Review).
This review will cover issues #17-20 of Grayson and Grayson Annual #3.
The aptly named Grayson Vol. 5: Spiral’s End also sees the end of the Grayson series as a whole. Fans looking for resolution and a conclusion to this five volume storyline will not be disappointed as all of the main plot lines and mysteries are given a satisfactory ending. However, a few of the minor plotlines seem crammed into this collection and end up feeling rushed. On the whole though this is another good story and a solid way to end what has been a fantastic series overall.
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This book begins with a full scale attack on the Sypral base by members of various spy organizations. While Dick tries to fend them off, Doctor Daedalus returns to life through the body of Helena Bertinelli. He then gathers his strength and begins to finish his master plan.
While this is all of the fun action and intense escalation of drama that we have come to expect from this series, things really get good when Tiger betrays Dick. This betrayal kicks off a subsequent increase in tension through a deadly game of cat and mouse. The two race each other to Helena, tearing apart their history and comradery as they go. It is hard seeing these two at odds with one another, yet it written so well that it works perfectly as this story’s biggest tragedy.
After Dick finishes with Tiger, the story’s final showdown begins. Dick and Daedalus go head to head in a mindscape where the prize is life itself. In this world, Dick summons all of the past versions of himself to fight, a moment that also serves to wrap up the question Dick has been asking himself throughout this series: “who am I?” Though a little cheesy and on the nose, this is a nice wrap up to the internal struggle that has been present throughout Grayson. Dick’s triumph of Daedalus also proves as a nice return to the status quo and a good jumping off point for the Nightwing series to begin.
Alongside these well thought out and planned endings, there are a few which do not work out quite as well. Agent 8 and the Skull Girl’s storylines were left at cliffhangers earlier in the series, both of which are resolved here. However, they are minor points in a much larger story and, thus, they are vastly overshadowed by everything else going on here. They also seem rushed, almost as if the writers were trying to force them in because they knew this was the story’s final volume. Personally, I would have preferred if these stories were left out all together, as their inclusion actually serves to break up the otherwise enjoyable volume.
This volume also includes an annual at the end. It sees various superheroes retelling the story of their encounters with a mysterious agent of Spyral. With the rest of the collection being as serious as it is, this annual actually ends up being a nice change of pace. It is a more fun and relaxed story without the high stakes present in the rest of the book. It isn’t a stunning story on its own, but it is an enjoyable read that serves the book well.
(spoilers end here)
It is unfortunate that series artist Mikel Janín only did covers. His interiors throughout the series have been fantastic and are missed as this series concludes. However, his covers for the last few issues are just as beautiful as ever.
The first issue in this book features art by Carmine Di Giandomenico. Personally, I am not overly fond of Giandomenico’s artwork. His bold line work and lack of detail throw me off a little. In particular, his style does not really fit the feel of this book and seems out of place in terms of the series.
The rest of the book is predominantly done by Roge Antonio. In terms of quality, Antonio’s artwork falls below Giandomenico’s, it just does not look as nice and even feels sloppy at certain points. However, the style fits the series a little better. It comes closer to the visual style that Mikel Janín established earlier in the series and also feels a little more consistent overall.
This volume also references and continues the stories from other comic books, all of which are detailed below.
- Since this is the fifth book in a series, obviously the previous four books are going to be referenced slightly. However, since this book is the conclusion of a long run on this character, portions of those books are heavily referenced at the end of this volume. Links to reviews for those previous four volumes are below.
- During the Azrael story of the Annual, Dick mentions that his friends encountered the Order of Saint Dumas before. This was in Batman and Robin Eternal Vol: 1.
- During the Harley story of the Annual, Dick mentions living through Joker’s “Endgame.” This is a reference to the events of Batman Vol. 7: Endgame or Joker: Endgame.
- Dick’s “death” at the hands of the Crime Syndicate is mentioned again. This refers to the events of Forever Evil.