On a list of 25 of the best new comics series to come out last year, Grayson by the creative team of Tim Seeley, Tom King and Mikel Janin scored 19. Now, that might seem like a low number, but the fact is that Grayson came out in a year filled to the brim with absolutely great stuff and competition sure was fierce. Only seven issues in, but this has become one of my most-anticipated titles each month and I’m loving what the team is doing, pushing the boundary with respect to where they can develop the character and his supporting cast, and just taking things from there.
Last month we got to see a great desert adventure in the ongoing while also getting to see Helena’s origins exposed in the Annual issue in the final week. Now, we are back to the main story as Dick and Helena’s search for superorgans continues and they finally come into conflict with none other than the Midnighter, the series antagonist introduced back in the debut issue last year and also a big threat to the two of them. The story has some great fun moments, packs a lot of great action, and also has a couple of neat twists to it that I really liked seeing. Plus the oh-so-gorgeous art.
Back in the debut issue, there was this brief clash between Dick and the Midnighter, where the hero got the upper hand, much to the chagrin of the antagonist. The writers have kept things rather deliciously ambiguous as far as the Midnighter’s motivations go, and he isn’t a villain in the typical sense. Perhaps an extreme example of the kind of person that Dick Grayson can become if he completely dedicates himself to SPYRAL the way that Helena Bertinelli aka the Matron has, but you can never be really sure. And that’s one of the many reasons that I love this comic so much.
You can always count on the writers to throw a wrench in the works and then let the complications unfold, complications that are then slowly teased out. I’m loving the slow-fast approach the writers have taken, and I think that this new issue definitely crystallizes a lo of that. The tempo of the story itself goes up and down quite a beat, but the beat is always there in the background. There’s a sense in this issue that some really big things are about to happen, and that feeling isn’t misplaced when Dick comes up against some hard truths about the Midnighter and the person he works for.
Still, the best thing in the comic this week isn’t the story itself, or the action sequences themselves. The best thing is the dialogue. Specifically the dialogue between Dick aka Agent 37 and the Midnighter. After their first encounter, the antagonist has made sure to study all that he can about his opponent, and that’s the ammunition he brings to this fight. That in itself was a big surprise, but what happened after that was yet another big surprise. And yeah man, Dick’s words to the Midnighter were totally awesome. They encapsulate everything that the character has been, is, and will be. He is Robin the Boy Wonder and Teen Titan. He is Nightwing. He is Agent 37. He is a superhero and a vigilante. He is also a super-spy.
To ignore either aspect of Dick Grayson is to set yourself to lose. Needless to say, the characterization was excellent and we got to learn more about the Midnighter and the people he works for, which was extremely satisfactory in lots of different ways.
No changes on the art team and that’s just as well since Mikel Janin, Jeromy Cox and Carlos M. Mangual are superb in every way. Even though the characterwork and the backgrounds are second to none in this issue, I think the best part is when Dick and Helena are attacked by a zombie orca with scorpion legs. That’s an utterly terrifying image to imagine and to see the execution of the idea, well that’s something else. In other things, the fight between Dick and Midnighter is pretty good too, fluid and fast-moving. Loved every second of it. And the artists end on a great note too, with a great panel showing off the location of the Midnighter’s HQ.
All-around greatness here!