Written by: Tim Seeley, Tom King
Art by: Mikel Janin, Jeromy Cox
It’s tough to step away from Marvel what with their grand Battleworld spectacular. But I feel it’s important to remind people that DC is out there and that, surprisingly, they’re doing quite well. We’ve turned the corner on that grotesque New 52 and are now jamming our foot on the accelerator. Case in point: “Grayson” #10, a book so drenched in the dark and sinister world of espionage I keep expecting Keifer Sutherland to break in the door and start torturing everybody. And yet the book manages to stay light, flippant even in the face of menace and intrigue. For ten issues “Grayson” has managed to avoid a tone shift which I think should be applauded.
If you’re looking for a simply good action book, look no further. The action in “Grayson” is not only great at setting up outstanding sequences, the book also benefits from fantastic pacing. There is very much the quiet subterfuge feeling as Dick Grayson effortlessly sneaks his way in and out of situations, but this book has some of the best hand to hand combat I’ve seen. And also? Explosions! But the point behind all of this is that the book balances everything. The book isn’t weighted down with twenty five pages of sneaking around with a payoff at the end and it isn’t wall to wall violence and action with hardly a breath for story. And because of this balance of action and sneaky intrigue absolutely remains thrilling throughout the entire book.
One of the things that really helps this book be so good is the amazing art. Mikel Janin is really top notch at keeping everything clean and orderly so as not to cause confusion but still frame after frame explodes outward, the action coming to life within the page. Plus Mikel simply draws beautiful people which is important because in this story Dick Grayson is quite the seducer—so much so that he seduces a powerful duchess, dancing with her while he removes a very large, very kryptonite-y necklace. With any other artist that may be a hard sell but I see Dick Grayson and I absolutely believe he could seduce any person he wanted to. Though to be fair he is written with such a winning personality that any conversation he has becomes a source of great entertainment in the book. Which is why Lex Luthor showing up is such an amazing stroke of genius for the book.
In the story, Dick steals the necklace and then is told by his handler, Huntress, to meet someone for the exchange though she does not mention who. So when Lex shows up it’s A) Super-duper geek out fan boy time and B) An incredible crux for the story. See up to this point, Dick has had many instances to doubt Huntress but always ends up trusting her in the end. But if what if she actually plans to hand kryptonite over to Lex Luthor? That’s like handing a Crayola fun pack to a toddler, dipping his hands in house paint, putting him on roller skates, and then pushing him down a white wall hallway. So why would Huntress willingly accept a deal with Lex Luthor? That’s a lot of doubt to be swirling around Helena and all the while there’s a sub plot where somebody is assassinating other agents and all signs point to Dick Grayson. So there’s all this mistrust intertwined with everything, everybody is getting murdered, and I’m pretty sure nobody told Dick yet that Batman’s dead. Yeah, lotta trouble happening in “Grayson” #10.
Well this is always fun, let’s compare Grayson to Grayson! There’s a lot of parallels that happen in both books and a lot of it has to do with being alone, unable to trust the world around them. The first time Mark Grayson experienced this was when his dad betrayed the planet, leaving Mark with trust, abandonment, and daddy issues—the trifecta! He bounced back fairly well after that, suffering minimal isolation. But then there was the time Mark decided to side with Dinosaurus, an admitted terrorist. Now he was the one mistrusted by the world at large. And to make things worse, he couldn’t even trust Dinosaurus, he always had to keep an eye on him just in case he decided to do something crazy. But here’s something else about Invincible, the character isolates himself all the time. He’s a Superman analog and being that powerful, that far superior than all your friends tends to leave you ostracized. Yet Mark is able to shoulder this burden remarkably well—though from time to time he develops too much of a martyr complex and thinks he’s the only one who could possibly save the day but nobody’s perfect. In these two stories, both Dick and Mark share one very important attribute—they both make out with a smoking hot red head!