Before the two month Convergence break Grayson was able to end on a big cliffhanger that should provide major changes for this series. The biggest one that we should see right away in Grayson #9 is Helena Bertinelli shifting from being Dick Grayson’s partner to now being his boss as the leader of Spyral. How this change plays out along with the possible involvement of a classic Batman character is something that I am excited to read. So with that said let’s see if this series returns with a vengeance with Grayson #9.
Plot: Tim Seeley and Tom King
Writer: Tom King
Artist: Mikel Janin
Colorist: Jeromy Cox
Story Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10
Art Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10
The Good: Grayson #9 is a fine example of the current experimental direction DC Comics is taking from a creative standpoint. Even as you may find it odd to see an iconic character like Dick Grayson in a role that does not involve wearing superhero gear it all just works.
The biggest reason that Dick Grayson’s current role continues to work is the fact that Tom King and Tim Seely never break the core of who the character is. There is never a point in Grayson #9 where you feel as though you are reading a different character. Even if we are not seeing the character wearing a domino mask King and Seeley continue to find a way for Dick Grayson to be a swashbuckling superhero.
Throughout Grayson #9 King and Seeley are able to get across the idea that this super spy role for the character isn’t outside the realm of possibility. Anytime that Dick was on screen during this issue we were shown different iconic aspects of the character come into play. The biggest characteristic we get to see in play here is how Dick is able to use the classic Grayson charm to show he can get any woman he wants while still completing his mission. Just watching how easily Dick is able to infiltrate a high class party reminds you that this is still the Dick Grayson we know and not just some random rebooted character using the same name.
Even though Dick isn’t able to wear a superhero disguise anymore King and Seeley are still finding ways to explore the duality of the character. Seeing Dick starting to show signs that he is growing tired of being away of his previous life gives us a chance to see that classic superhero duality at play. With everything that is going on in Gotham City at the moment I am very interested to see where King and Seeley take this sub-plot since he has been playing “dead” for a good while now.
I’ve also come around on this new version of Helena Bertinelli. With how King and Seely have fleshed out her character during the “first season” of this series seeing her now leading Spyral felt natural. There was never a moment during her scene with the shadow organization that felt like she was never not in control. There was definite coolness to how she handled everything that made you believe that she was in charged. This role for Helena also continues to play up the whole James Bond aspect of this series as we now have an M-like character that is in charge and looking out for our main character at the top level.
The meeting with the shadow organization that Helena also helped to bring in the next big bad for this series in a natural way. With Menos gone there needs to be another threat brought for Dick Grayson to face off against. Nemesis being that threat is a good choice as he is someone that fits into the spy world King and Seeley are building here. The mystery around Nemesis was also nicely handled as we aren’t given clear clarification if the killings are all his doing or if someone else is involved.
For his part, Mikel Janin and the artwork he is providing this series continued to shine. Throughout Grayson #9 there were moments were Janin’s artwork just took over the story to show us how well Dick Grayson fits his current role of super spy. From Dick sporting a blue tux to how he flirted with his target there were a lot of great moments where the art just took the story to the next level.
The Bad: The only problem, which is more of a Batman fanboy nitpick, I had with this issue is it’s time placement. From what I gather during the present day scenes Dick either doesn’t know that Bruce disappeared after Batman: Endgame or this issue actually takes place after Bruce returns to Gotham as just Bruce Wayne. There isn’t a clarification on this but if it is the former than that does not make to much sense since Dick did actually take part in the Endgame finally as part of Bruce’s plan to stop Joker.
So because of this there is no reason not to believe that Dick wouldn’t know about Bruce’s three or so month absence from the public. This is something that should’ve gotten better clarification, even if it was editor’s note that this issue takes place pre- or post-Batman #41, because it just felt like there was some disconnect with Snyder’s story.
Overall: Grayson #9 was another stellar issue in a series that has been consistently one of the best titles DC Comics is publishing. Tom King and Tim Seeley were on point with how they were able to clearly establish the changes that were made to the Spyral organization following the events of Grayson #8. The shake up in Spyral gave Dick Grayson a great chance to show off exactly why he is a natural fit as James Bond-esque super spy. With the introduction of Nemesis and other possible threats to this series Grayson #9 is a great jumping on point for anyone not reading this series.