Grayson #19. Jackson Lanzing & Colin Kelley- Writers, Roge Antonio- Artist, Jeromy Cox- Colorist.
So have you ever heard of a 20 issue story arc? Grayson may be the first. It certainly seems that this endgame has been in the works since issue #1. With that said, the hallmark of this series has been character, and this issue is no exception. Lanzing and Kelley do a great job of making this seem like the same book to the point I’m convinced that King and Seeley left an outline for them to follow. Dick is at his absolute “Batman-lite” best as he takes on everyone in the peultimate issue of Grayson.
So Helena Bertinelli is possessed by the spirit of Dr. Daedalus- Otto Netz. And he/she has returned to take back Spyral and fulfill his ultimate plan. It means turning daughter against daughter against daughter. As Dick realizes what’s going down and his end of rescuing Helena has suddenly become more perilous, things take a turn for the worse. Tiger is actually, well (spoiler) an agent of Checkmate and Maxwell Lord has been running a side game all along.
Way back in Grayson #1 we learned of Dick’s mission- infiltrate Spyral to figure out what they knew about the identities of the Justice League. As it is so often in the world of espionage, things are never what they seem- everything that’s been going on has been covert (the return of Daedalus) and subterfuge ( Maxwell Lord acquiring the JL ID data base). Did you follow that, because I’m not even sure I did! What is certain is Dick Grayson. He is the same as he has always been.
The Netz sisters have a falling out, and Luka goes after their father. And while Dick has to fend off Tiger despite their amicable feelins, Dr. Netz deletes the JL database in an attempt to prevent Maxwell Lord from obtaining it. The end of the issue sets up a showdown between Daedalus and Dick.
The character element that has always been present in this series continues. It might be the inspiration of Dick Grayson himself- there’s been no other character in the history of DC Comics that is like Mr. Grayson. He’s unique in that he’s been allowed to age and grow in-story despite reboots, relaunches and the like. There’s definitely a je ne sais quoi about the character. He began as an entry character for younger fans way back in 1940 and through the years he has developed into a man who has been the leader of the Teen Titans and Batman.
Seeley and King didn’t get a credit in this issue, but it’s clearly their baby.
‘Can you say Mikel Janin!’
This issue is the penultimate chapter of Dick Grayson, International Spy. But, it fits seamlessly into the overall depiction of the development of Dick Grayson the Man.