Grayson #16. Tim Seeley & Tom King- Story, Tom King- Dialogue, Mikel Janin- Art, Jeromy Cox- Colors.
For the first year of Grayson, the stories were pretty traditional espionage spy fare with Dick trying to find his way in his new job. Now, there was always the subplot that he was undercover for Batman to figure out what Spyral knew about the secret identities of the DCU’s super-heroes, but issue #16 has turned the concept on its ear. It’s been a few issues coming, but Dick has finally declared war on Spyral and is prepared to take them down.
This issue, drawn by Mikel Janin incorporates a number of spy genre homage images. Almost every page is a joy to behold in terms of layout and draftsmanship. It’s almost like getting a class. Let your eyes enjoy it. On to the story…
Dick and Tiger (Agent 1) have teamed up to take down Spyral. Helena has already tried to have Dick killed and he hasn’t taken it well. They start in Nice, France, then take a trip around Europe, Asia, North Africa and more to, ahem, “collect” all of Spyral’s agents.
As Helena realizes her agents aren’t up to it, she enlists some operatives who are willing to help her stop Dick and Tiger. Some familiar faces include, Frankenstein, Bronze Tiger and Grifter. Conveniently, Tiger has an contact within Spyral still and he finds out what Helena’s up to. So, Dick enlists Checkmate and perhaps makes a deal with another devil…Maxwell Lord.
Janin’s work on this book continues to impress. He’s hitting on all cylinders with this issue. You can name the homage images, but they are so well executed they don’t feel like rip offs, they ring true as genuine fondness for the sources. The fun continues with the dialogue, from the opening sequence with the Bond-girl names to the repartee between Dick and Tiger. Dick’s personality shines through. It’s almost as if he’s slowly shed the darker approach throughout the series and now that he’s operating against Spyral he feels not only at home, but like he’s finally doing the right thing and it shows in his joyful and carefree approach. You can almost imagine him still wearing the Robin yellow. And all the time, he’s still a badass. It’s just a darn fun comic. Once again, this team has produced a comic that focuses on the character.
The biggest drawback of this issue is that the story doesn’t progress very much. I think this is more a result of the current storytelling format in today’s comics than any fault of the creators.
I can understand why someone may not have wanted to read Grayson after the events of Forever Evil and Dick’s status quo changed drastically. But, after the past year and a half of Grayson, it should be abundantly clear that King, Seeley and Janin (and occasionally Stephen Mooney) are producing one of the best books out there. Catch up quickly with some trades and digital downloads, you’ll be glad you did. Flawless issue, this is how to produce a great comic.