Grayson #4. Writer- Tom King, Plot by Tim Seeley & Tom King, Artist- Mikel Janin, Colorist- Jeremy Cox.
I did not want to like this book. However, despite anything I may have found objectionable in the execution, concept or content is consistently overridden by the fun the creative team brings to each issue. This issue surprised me in that Helena Bertinelli seems to mirror my own reservations about this book in her speech to Dick in the end of the issue. There it is right there on the page. That is exactly what I would say to DC Comics about their handling of the character- meta? I don’t know. It’s certainly possible. Now that we have that out of the way…
Grayson #4 is another stand-alone story that manages to push the larger story forward while not being mired in minutiae. Most importantly it’s incredibly fun. We see Dick in classic acrobatic action and the joy he exudes is contagious. It’s hard not to feel the excitement and thrill that Dick feels. While the main action of the story- girls from St. Hadrian’s trying to catch of peek of the hunky Mr. Grayson- is slightly silly, potentially offensive and completely unrelated to the bigger picture, the sequence allows us to see a familiar and happy Dick Grayson. It’s a Dick Grayson long-time readers should be happy to see. This issue really functions as character building moments. Dick and Helena get a little closer, but not in a clichéd way, but rather in a manner of true admiration and understanding…as long as she’s not lying. But that’s the way with the spy game isn’t it?
Janin’s art is as always a highlight. It’s clean, expressive and dynamic. But he’s also able to shift tonally to communicate what the scene requires. The lollipop was a neat surprise, I didn’t see it coming. Batman’s cameo again was welcome and important even in its brevity. The Kathy Kane Batwoman reference in the girl’s costumes is always welcomed and it reminds the reader of the Batman, Inc. connection to the book.
I really wanted to see more attention on Agent 8’s death from last issue. The cursory mention may be indicative of Dick’s new line of work, but it seems that Dick would have naturally had more to say about it. Although, Dick is undercover and not in a completely safe place, it seems that something more would be done with this event to maintain Dick’s character. Without it the Seeley and King run the risk of losing Dick in Spyral. The Midnighter and Apollo appearance are forgettable in that they don’t play into the rest of the issue’s action despite referencing the body-part hunt that is part of the larger scope of the story.
Fun, fun, fun. This has long been my barometer in judging a comic’s quality. This issue was better than the last and it certainly bodes well for what comes next. The throwback storytelling- single issues that fit into a larger story make this title an easy one to jump into. Along with the character work it’s still a good time to give Grayson a try if you haven’t already. As long as Dick can remain true to himself and not get lost in his environment, this will be a winner month in and out.