Thursday, November 26, 2015
Grayson #14 Review
Written by: Tim Seeley
Art by: Stephen Mooney, Jeromy Cox and Carlos M. Mangual
Cover Price: $3.99
Release Date: November 25, 2015
Grayson is still my favorite book that DC Comics is putting out each month, but the last few issues (#13 and the Annual) are trying my patience. While every book has it's ups and downs for various reasons, I'm going to use Occam's Razor in this instance to point out what I think is the reason...Tim Seeley. While Tom King's scripts were full of over-the-top action sequences and crazy spy stuff, his character work and dialogue was always clever and witty. Since Seeley has jumped in, that is not the case. Everything is in your face and extreme and the humor that I loved has been replaced with 90's action one-liners that would make even a hardcore Running Man fan blush. I know, because I am one! Well, Tim Seeley is back this month and while I went in with finger crossed, I'm afraid to report that this issue is not much better in the dialogue department, but it does have some really good story moments. Does the second outweigh the first to make this the first Seeley penned issue that I can recommend to fans and newcomers alike? Let's find out...
I'll say it right off, if you have been reading Grayson, then this is a must read issue for you. I will get into the nitty gritty of dialogue and art in a moment, but above and beyond all that, Tim Seeley gives us some real moments that push the reader's understanding of Spyral and the overall story forward. Better yet, it pushes it into a really exciting place.
Now, to the other stuff. The dialogue in this issue is once again horrible...at first. I think Tim Seeley thinks that every fight scene needs one-liners and quips, but almost all of them just made me groan. Add to that, the back-and-forth between Dick and Tiger and the crazy cyborg villain, Ladytron, and we get a pretty hilarious script. Hilarious for all the wrong reasons.
I said at "first" because when we get away from the fighting, Seeley settles in with some pretty kick ass storytelling. Of course, the issue shows Dick strutting his stuff, but it also dives deep into the background of Spyral through the (bug glassed) eyes of Otto Netz. Throughout the issue, we go back to Otto as he tells the origin story of Spyral and himself and it was the highlight of this issue and brings so much together and to a head.
Meanwhile, we do get Dick, Tiger and Ladytron fighting and yelling awful dialogue, but after Dick knocks out Tiger AGAIN, he uses Ladytron (or Maxi to her friends) to find out about Agent Zero. After a pretty funny "can you hear me now" moment between Helena and Dick, Grayson uses his Hypnos to "convince" Maxi to do a little hacking and get some solid information. Again, this part was really well done and funny. See, Tim Seeley isn't all that bad, right?
Back with Otto, we find out his plan to continue running Spyral well past his death and finally find out what those creepy computer Spyder guys are. You know the ones that Minos and Helena have contacted at various times and always give me the heebie-jeebies! We also learn what Agent Zero (or Katarina as in Kate!) and Frau (call me Elisabeth) Netz are destined to become. It is awesome!
Speaking of Spyder. it is well aware of what Dick is trying to do and orders Helena to end it once and for all. If you thought that Helena was going to be in Dick's corner no matter what, you'll be shocked by this scene. It all ends with a Dick telling a pretty pissed off Tiger that they have to end it all. Unfortunately, the book is going to take a detour to accommodate the Robin War next month, so I think we are going to have to wait until the 2016 to get back to this. I can't wait.
Listen, I am still not a fan of Tim Seeley's dialogue, but I can admit when a story is good and this one is, especially for long term readers. So much is explained and setup in this issue that I can overlook Ladytron yelling "Babys got back" and enjoy how much else we get. The "is she or isn't she" mystery of Agent Zero, the weird Spyders and the why and how Spyral was originally setup is laid out to the reader and it all makes sense. I can't wait to see where we go from here.
Stephen Mooney's art is good, it just isn't as great as regular artist, Mikel Janin's. The fight scenes were explosive enough, but I can only think that the Otto Netz bits would have looked better with Janin's excellent art and unique panel layouts. However, sometimes a straight forward approach does the job and Mooney gives us that this month.
Bits and Pieces:
The dialogue in this issue was over-the-top and laughable, but Tim Seeley gives us so much to push the narrative forward that I'm going to have to bite my tongue and accept it. Seriously, longtime readers will eat this issue up as we learn about the formation and plan of Spyral and see what they will do to protect that secret. The art does the job and the book ends pointing into the only direction that makes sense in the long run. I can't wait for January to see Grayson versus Spyral!