Grayson, once feared by some fans as an unnecessary step in the life of Dick Grayson, has in one issue been greeted by rave reviews. It’s also one of the best selling titles in a while, with DC ordering a second printing of the first issue of Grayson after the issue sold out. With a strong debut like that, does the second issue hold up to the high bar its predecessor set? Well, like the title’s star, it easily jumps over it.
The stage is set at St. Hadrian’s Finishing School, where Helena Bertenlli, the school matron, is turning her young pupils into hardened assassins as she leads the young ladies in an archery lesson. This is interrupted by the arrival of The Hood, the Spyral agent working within Batman Incorporated from the title of the same name (which also introduced St. Hadrian’s), who is wounded after a mission. While this is happening, Dick is trying to give his report to Batman as well as a heart to heart chat. This is of course interrupted by Helena, who reminds him its mission time. This mission, like the one before it, is to locate another mechanical super organ, in this case a super stomach, whose inventor also disappeared. This also happens to be the mission The Hood was on before he came back to St. Hadrians with his injuries. One trip to the English countryside in the world’s smallest spy car, and some banter between partners, the pair come up against the scientist, who became her own experiment and was gifted extra speed…as well as an appetite for human flesh….
Again, Seeley and King provide a wonderful story. Dick still remains his cheerful self, and provides many a quip in the face of danger. We do see him use his gun for the first time, but more as a distraction than as a weapon. It’s his interactions with Batman that are the most emotional. When Dick is around, even when he’s just a voice, we can see the Bat drop the facade for one second and be less grim. There are some moments in this that just pull at you emotionally. Helena continues to prove herself to be an interesting foil to Dick, as well as showing how devious she can be. Mister Minos continues to be the jocular “M” figure, but you really want to know what his plans are. The story’s villain is interesting as a scientist with good intentions and VERY bad judgement (not to mention eating habits), but I’m hoping that the villains in Grayson will become more than just the “Freak Of The Week”, because that is a potential narrative trap. A scene with Midnighter trying to track down the Spyral agent (aka Dick) who beat him in Russia is good for continuity’s sake, but it interrupts the flow of the story and could have been moved to later in the issue. Other than these hiccups, the story is as quick, acrobatic, and fun as it’s star.
This wonderful story is accompanied by brilliant art by Janin, who is accompanied by two inkers whose styles are perfect matches to the art to the point you couldn’t tell it was two different inkers. There is plenty of action and energy to the pages, especially in the action pieces against the cannibal scientist. The expressions are perfect as well, as we can see Dick struggle with Helena’s more complicated take on morality, as well as feeling kind of misty eyed as he reminisces with Bruce. The feel is also, to quote Mr. Minos himself, “Very 60s Fleming”, which adds to the fun of the book. The colors by Cox compliment the pencils of inks by adding to the energy and atmosphere of Janin’s pencils.
Grayson continues to be one of the funniest, most action packed, and overall fun books out there. This second issue surpasses its predecessor and shows that Dick Grayson can fly high even when he’s not dressed in his traditional fingerstriped crimefighter outfit. This new chapter in his life might prove to be one of the most entertaining books you might read this year.
To quote Mr. Minos again, “It’s so fun to play spy.”