After a short interlude, Grayson is back this week as the former Nightwing takes on another mission for the devious Spyral organization to get another organ that once belonged to the metahuman Paragon. It’s been a very strong title so far, silencing early critics of the concept; does this issue hold up to the other two?
This issue is interesting because the main thrust of the story (getting a pair of metahuman eyes from a technologically enhanced gunman) is actually not the main drama. For this mission, Dick and Helena are partnered with Agents 1 and 8. Agent 8, an attractive woman named Alia (who gets the biggest double entendre ever in an issue starring the “Hunk Wonder”, to quote Batgirl), challenges both the fact Dick is uncomfortable with guns, and with Spyral’s methods. These clashes with what he has been taught by his mentor leads to the main drama of the story, where Dick is forced between two codes: the bushido of Batman, or the spy games of Spyral. This is definitely the most James Bond of the issues, with double entendres, sex, and tons of action. It’s also one of the most introspective books on the shelves this week, as Dick has to deal with his internal struggle. I can easily assure the readers of this review that the gun issue is resolved (not saying how or what the decision is), but it is the challenge to his personal code, and how he deals with it, that makes this interesting. The cliffhanger at the end adds a level of intrigue within the organization as well. The new agents themselves are interesting too: Alia (Agent 8) and Agent 1 are mirrors and foils to our stars, and they are the real opponents in this tale as they are the ones who truly challenge Dick. Our “Freak of the Week”, a gunman named Old Gun (whose optic nerves have been replaced with connections to his guns), is made our secondary villain for the issue; which I find appealing as using said “Freak of the Week” can often become a narrative crutch instead of an aid. While he does have a tragic back story, he is a threat; plus his enhancement is interesting. Some people might be put off by the aforementioned double entendre moment, but overall it is a very strong story.
Janin’s art is flawless, continuing to bring the 60s mod vibe to 21st Century spying. The aforementioned double entendre is executed tastefully while being a nod to the James Bond films. The design for Old Gun is pretty cool, and Alia is beautiful and playful while Agent 1 remains mysterious and aloof. The action sequences, including an acrobatic battle in Malaysia, is well executed as well. Janin also wonderfully captures Dick’s expression as he deals with his internal struggle. Cox’s colors continue this 60s feel, and help this introspective story remain vibrant and energetic.
Overall, this issue continues to prove Grayson is a strong title and that Dick Grayson can rise above the cloak-and-dagger world of Spyral.
Whether he can survive it is another story….
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