Grayson #9. Writer- Tom King, Plot by Tim Seeley & Tom King, Artist- Mikel Janin,- Colorist- Jeromy Cox.
In the DC YOU many of the titles have featured new takes on its characters. It would be very easy to say from the beginning that Grayson is the DC YOU take on original Robin, Dick Grayson despite it having premiered 10 months before the launch of DC YOU this June. Grayson #9 deftly acknowledges what is going on in the rest of the Bat-verse while pushing ahead the plotlines from the previous arc. Mostly though, it reveals a mystery that has been lurking in the background in between the panels of the first 8 issues of this series.
We are treated in the opening scenes in this issue to a re-telling of the events from Grayson #1, but from someone else’s point of view. And it goes a little bit further, apparently the bald fellow on top of the train was bludgeoned to death after Dick left him incapacitated and cuffed to the top of the train. We soon learn from a shady group of individuals who have approached Helena Bertinelli, Matron and now head of Spyral that there’s been a spy bludgeoning on all of Dick Grayson’s missions for the organization.
Meanwhile, Dick and Agent 1 are on their own mission to retrieve a certain bit of space rock that has been made into a necklace and in possession of a well-to-do Spanish family. Said rock would be deadly to a certain Man of Steel. Not surprisingly, Grayson manages to appropriate the rock with a certain flair. It’s about this time that Helena has received her intel about the murders on Dick’s missions. Things don’t go well for Agent 1 at this point and another murder turns up. It’s not looking good for Dick.
The seamless transition from the previous issue is appreciated as is the mystery. Grayson certainly seems to stay close to character despite the apparent accusations brought up against him. The appropriation of the space rock sequence is quite fun while at the same time feeling completely steeped in the spy genre. Matron’s trust of Dick is a welcome portrayal. It would be too easy to have Helena turn again Dick so quickly. Mikel Janin’s clean lines and unencumbered storytelling are as always one of the best things about any issue of Grayson.
This is one of the first issues of Grayson to feel more plot driven instead of character driven, despite the whole issue essentially calling into question whether or not Dick is a killer. While thoroughly enjoyable and fun, it seemed to be missing a little oomph. Perhaps, it’s just the basic nature of the charge against Dick that seems a little clichéd in superhero comics. While this is a spy book, and Dick’s morality is certainly at the heart of the title, as a former superhero, protégée of Batman and as the iconic sidekick- it’s a plotline that been explored many times over the years.
Grayson #9 is a solid start to the next chapter in Dick Grayson’s life with Spyral. It’s fun from the first page and an easy read to a new reader. And even if you don’t intend on sticking with it for the long haul, Seeley and King have again successfully told a complete story in a single issue while building on a larger narrative. 3 1/2