- Written by Tim Seeley
- Plot by Tim Seeley & Tom King
- Art by Mikel Janin, Guillermo Ortego & Juan Castro
- Cover by Mikel Janin
After a successful transition from Nightwing to Agent 37 in issue #1 (checkout our review here!) Seeley continues to write a strong story for Dick Grayson with issue #2 by bringing in more of the emotional side of the story to balance out the spy drama however there’s perhaps a little too much thrown at completely new readers with little knowledge of the lead character for longtime fans to enjoy.
Let’s start with what is working for ‘Grayson‘:
- The cast. Dick has found himself surrounded by interesting characters both good and bad. Helena Bertinelli gets a little time to flesh herself our as a teacher at St. Hadrians Finishing School and her chemistry with Dick makes for interesting reading. The villain, Midnighter, might be looking more and more like Batman in each panel but he has enough presence to at least be a believable foe for Dick. Batman himself manages two cameos in this book which really add an emotional resonance to the story.
- The spy-action. For fans of franchises like ‘Alias‘ or ‘Bond‘ or even ‘Bourne‘ there are lots of familiar aspects to this story: gadgets; code names and cars although with the SPYRAL aspect and the artwork that it inspires there’s also an influence from classic spy series like ‘The Avengers‘. For fans of the Dick Grayson character it’s nice to see him out in daylight and breaking some new ground.
- The artwork. ‘Grayson‘ looks pretty cool, the art provided here by Janin, Ortego and Castro really plays up to the spy nature of the story. It’s neither overly detailed or lacking in detail which at times means it can look fairly generic but when the story moves in to SPYRAL territory the pages really come to life. The colour palette is injected with bright pinks and red and, of course, spirals. Facial features and proportions are changeable at times but there’s a general feel to each of the characters which is really in keeping with the atmosphere of the story.
- Emotions. Most fans will know that Dick has ended up in this story after his grand unmasking during the ‘Forever Evil‘ arc and that all his friends and family, bar Bruce, are under the impression that Dick is dead. Here we get to see some of the emotional impact of that at Bruce and Dick briefly discuss Dick’s funeral. As expected Batman is keeping communication to a minimum for Dick’s safety but by the end of the issue the two are having a much lighter conversion and we see Dick smile again. Undoubtedly there’s an emotional impact at both ends because of the death but its great to see it being dealt with rather than ignored and moved on from. At some point I look forward to Barbara discovering that Dick is still alive.
Where there’s good there’s always going to be the not so good…
- Backstory. In this issue it feels at times like Dick is trying to remind us all of who he is. There’s a moment where he almost recounts his life story to Helena which is well suited for new readers but for those of us who years and years of Bat-knowledge in our heads it’s a little unnecessary. The story feels like we need more context as to where Dick is now, working with SPYRAL and trying to bring down their mysterious leader yet we’re focussing a little on forging relationships between the main cast which really should come with time.
- Batman. Although it’s nice that the Dark Knight hasn’t cut off all ties to Dick whilst he is undercover this issue relies on communication between the two in a kind of ‘don’t forget where he came from!’ moment. Going forwards it would be nice to see the two keeping in regular contact but that doesn’t necessarily mean we need to see as much of Batman as we do here.
Overall this issue is a solid follow-up but given the statement from Dick that he plans to ‘wrap this up before the flowers on my grave wilt.‘ I can only wonder how long DC Comics plan on running this series and what, if anything, they do with the character once SPYRAL have been unravelled and the truth of Dick’s death has been exposed. Perhaps we’ll get a glimpse in the next issue which forms part of Septembers ‘Futures End‘ month.
For now go ahead and pick up both issues #1 and #2 of ‘Grayson‘ and enjoy them for what they are which is fun and exciting.