DC’s Grayson has been very impressive since its debut, with only an odd issue along the way that didn’t exactly capture my attention, and that’s saying something since each issue has pushed boundaries. And last month Grayson #6 pushed even more boundaries by finally setting up a defining conflict between Agent 37 and Midnighter, one that proved to be really informative on how Dick sees himself, and how people constantly underestimate him, whether his allies or enemies. And you underestimate Dick Grayson aka Agent 37 only at cost to your own self.
Following the events of the previous issue where Dick came to blows for a third time against the Midnighter and finally met the Gardener finally Helena Bertinelli aka Matron figured out what the Fist of Cain was planning, this past week’s issue sees the hero try to set off a psychological bomb going off in Tel Aviv during a concert. There’s some really intricate stuff happening, and each is quite merited after all the cloak-and-dagger stuff of late, despite the occasional high-intensity action. But the ending, well that is indeed something different.
As I said above, last issue dealt with a thorough characterisation of Dick that exposed the fact that is not to be underestimated, and that he is more than a sum of his past, with Dick aka Agent 37 being an amalgam of everything he has been in life before: a circus performed, Robin the Boy Wonder, Nightwing, Batman, Teen Titan, and so on. He is not the sort of person you count out until he is dead and not-breathing, a situation he always somehow manages to avoid completely. So far at least.
There are two separate narratives here that later come in to a head. The first of these involves Helena as she races towards a concert in Tel Aviv where the group known as the Fist of Cain will unleash some really big weapon, something to do with the Paragon brain it stole in the last issue. This is a top priority for Helena and what follows as she executes the mission solo, well, it certainly made me respect her even more. She’s been coming into her own in this series of late, and this issue makes some things crystal clear with regards to her, though there is still a fair bit of ambiguity about her that still needs to be resolved.
The second concerns Dick, who is locked up in the Garden in orbit, imprisoned by the Midnighter and the Gardener. For him, it is a race between convincing his captors that what he is telling them about the Fist of Cain is true and the seemingly-inevitable happening any way, something that Dick knows Midnighter doesn’t want to see happen since he is a good guy. While the story with Helena was really cool, especially given what happens to her in Tel Aviv towards the end of the issue, it was this narrative that really captured the imagination. Some really cool moments with the Midnighter, and also with Dick going over his most troubled times, the days and weeks when he felt lost and uncertain after the death of his parents, and being found by Bruce Wayne.
This issue is fairly good in terms of the characterisation, especially of the leads, and that’s all well and with me. If the dialogue had been a bit better too, then this issue would easily the match the best that this series has to offer. It certainly has the pace for all of that, but some of the dialogue in the second half brings down the full impact of certain events, being a bit heavy on “current events”.
Stephen Mooney is the artist here with Jeromy Cox on the colours, Carlos M. Mangual on the letters and Mikel Janin on the cover. I still miss Mikel on this series, since his art with the series’ opening arc was one of its biggest selling points, but Stephen Mooney had picked up rather well. There are some scenes where the visual design for the characters can feel a bit off, especially with some not-so-good facial expressions, but by and large, Stephen and Jeromy do a hell of a job here and ultimately that’s what counts most.
Really can’t wait to see what’s coming next, given some of the big revelations here and the ending of this issue.