Friday, 11 July 2014

Grayson #1 Review (Tim Seeley, Mikel Janin)


There should be a mash-up of the James Bond theme and the Batman Animated Series playing during the opening scene of the comic. The cover looks like a Looney Tunes backdrop but it’s supposed to be reminiscent of the famous Bond opener though colouring it in hot pink definitely makes it feel like a cross between the two.

Dick Grayson is now the DC Bond… for some reason… “For some reason” crops up quite a bit as an explanation in the New 52. Like why did the Crime Syndicate focus on Nightwing during Forever Evil? For some reason he was important, though it was unclear why (I’m still not sure – anyone?!). But following his unmasking, Dick “died”… except he didn’t… for some reason. But the whole world thinks he’s dead so he can’t be Nightwing anymore, so in Grayson, his new codename is Agent 37… for some reason (unless the number 37 is the same reason… Nah, forget it, I was going to quote Clerks).

Dick’s in Russia working for an agency called Spyral, going on covert missions to save the world – and he’s blonde too! So was he the blonde dude at the supper table in that Jason Fabok/Thanksgiving Batman picture? He’s got to get to the mark before another organisation does, probably for nefarious reasons. It’s not the best storyline really as it feels a bit vague and sloppy, but Bond-esque stories never really hold up to scrutiny – they’re just excuses for the hero to do some cool things against a pretty landscape with gorgeous women wearing skimpy dresses and holding expensive drinks, which is the case here.

Midnighter makes a cameo for some reason. It’s funny because Warren Ellis created him as a gay parody of Batman so Dick’s quip that he’s kinda like a guy he knows but more chatty is a nice wink to the audience. But why is he here? No idea – I think Stormwatch is cancelled though so he’s probably not got much to do these days. Why not show up? Huntress is here as well – say it with me – FOR SOME REASON! To be fair, I haven’t been reading Nightwing so maybe some of these things might’ve been covered in that series, but it’s DC so you never know!

I’m not sure if it’s intentional but I got a strong All-Star Superman vibe from this issue. The first page resembles the first page of All-Star Superman #1 – the life story of the character done in four wide panels with spare text. The blonde model in the white dress also looked like a Frank Quitely model. But generally Mikel Janin’s art in this issue is pretty good.

I don’t normally comment on this but if you got the print edition of this comic, you’ll note how goddamn obnoxious the ad placements are! It’s literally one page comic, next page ad; next page ad, next page comic; next page comic, next page ad – for almost the entire issue! I read Original Sin #4 after this and saw only 2 ads towards the end of the issue! Grayson #1 is the worst laid out comic since the fiasco that was Sandman: Overture #1 last year.

I like Dick Grayson (I had to add the surname there or it’d sound weird!) and want to read a great series featuring the character. Grayson #1 isn’t quite the brilliant start I was hoping for but it’s not terrible. I would’ve preferred if Dick were more of a lone agent like Bond rather than having to return to HQ after each mission, but I can live with the lapdog behaviour for now. It’s a decent first issue for a series that could go either way at this point – but here’s hoping it does get better!

Grayson #1

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