Grayson #3. Writer- Tom King, Plot by Tim Seeley & Tom King, Artist- Mikel Janin, Colorist- Jeremy Cox.
There’s no doubt that DC is trying to do something different with this title yet keep it firmly rooted in the New 52. In this issue, we get a Batman cameo and an Aquaman image that reminds the reader that this is part of the main Universe that was relaunched 3 years ago. The main focus of the book is the spy life with which Dick Grayson is struggling.
Dick, with the help of Matron & Agents 1 and 8 are hunting down Christophe Tanner, an assassin who has an optical link through his guns. His eyes were damaged in an incident at his children’s boarding school which left the two boys dead. Tanner has Paragon’s eyes and that is the objective of this mission- retrieve the eyes. The mission doesn’t go well as Dick fights against the training he’s been receiving from Matron and Agent 8. But this certainly comes across as a positive as the Dick Grayson we know and love comes shining through. Though the mission objective is reached by the end the course it took resulted in the apparent death of Agent 8. Additionally, Spyral has figured out that someone inside has been planted and it’s Matron’s task to figure it out. Of course we know this is setting up a conflict between Dick and the rest of Sypral.
Mikel Janin’s art really carries this issue. It’s well paced and well layed-out. He conveys a number of emotions in his facial expressions- anger, fear, sadness, joy and cockiness that underline the subtleties of the story. It’s hard to find fault with his work. He did a great job on “Justice League Dark,” and while his approach is slightly different it’s every bit as good. It’s really nice to see so many nice character moments with Dick, especially in his refusal to use a gun and his ‘apprehension’ of Christophe Tanner. He uses the tricks he learned with the Bat very well and these are all encouraging signs that Dick won’t get lost in the world of Spyral. Additionally, it’s nice to see Dick enjoying himself when he throws himself into the work and uses all the Nightwing style moves and none of the traditional spy techniques. There’s nothing like pushing your target off a building and holding him as you swing away on a rope!
I found one glaring negative that made me want to put the issue down immediately- the splash page and the pun contained therein. Sometimes a writer can be clever and work this sort of thing in, but in this case it was groan worthy and was nothing more than adolescent locker room humor. While it wasn’t as graphic as the last page of “Catwoman” #1 from the New 52 relaunch it had the same effect. It is jarring in a mainstream super-hero book to see this sort of thing. Dare I say ‘inappropriate.’ Now, I understand that “Grayson” is a spy book, but it’s still a mainstream New 52 book part of the greater Bat-family. If I had seen this in “Velvet,” it wouldn’t have fazed me, but it does not seem to fit here. There’s no reason for Dick to need an emotional attachment with Agent 8, he’s going to care at the end when she takes a bullet no matter what. Additionally, it does make the reader wonder if Dick is losing himself in the spy world with such a casual and spontaneous tryst. The faith in the character is mostly restored with the other elements of his character shining through, but this is problematic, and hopefully forgotten quickly and never repeated.
Overall, a tight fun story with the proper amount of tension and nice character moments with our lead- Mr. Grayson. The subplots move forward and the mystery deepens. A good book if you are a fan of Mr. Grayson, but not if you are hoping to be unchallenged. As Dick faces challenges fitting into the spy world, the reader will be challenged seeing Mr. Grayson in this new milieu.