Written by: Jackson Lanzing and Collin Kelly
Art by: Roge Antonio, Geraldo Borges, Jeromy Cox, Carlos M. Mangual
Cover Price: $3.99
Release Date: March 23, 2016
Grayson is winding down as we get closer and closer to Rebirth in June. With that, the founding creative team of Tom King, Tim Seeley and Mikel Janin have moved on to different pastures to work on...well, we haven't been told yet. Sure, there are rumours and whispers, but that's not what we are here for, is it? Nope, we are her to talk about the newest issue of Grayson which is the first issue for writers Jackson Lanzing and Collin Kelly. They are new to Grayson, but not the Bat Family, having penned a couple of issues of the Batman and Robin Eternal weekly, though their main focus was Jason Todd and Tim Drake. So, they are given the task to finish up one of the best books of the past year (in my opinion at least) and hopefully, do it in style. I am not going to tell you what I think just yet, but I will promise you that I am really going to try to give Lanzing and Kelly a fair shake and not get all negative because they aren't King and Seeley. With that, let's dig into this issue of Grayson...
Shit just got real at St. Hadrian's School for Girls as the issue opens. Actually, this is just another example of shit getting real at the school that I'm sure nobody should send their little girl to. As Helena gathers the girls, we get a message/narration from Dick Grayson that let's us know what we found out last issue...The Syndicate is on it's way to kill Helena.
If you love a ton of action to go with some more action, then this is an issue for you. It starts on the first panel and really never lets up. This is exactly what the last couple of issues have led to, but it still is a bit over the top for a book that is more about character and dialogue than explosions.
As the issue continues, Helena can't stop what seems to be the inevitable, but Dick and Tiger show up to try to make things right. Helena is taken away by Netz while Grayson throws punches and insults at everyone he can reach. I'll give Lanzing and Kelly props for the dialogue in this issue, it is pretty good and nothing made me roll my eyes or grit my teeth. That means a lot to me. However, there was a problem with the art here...Grayson and King Faraday have way too familiar looks and it threw me off at first. It's very quick and thankfully, the book looks better as it goes on.
We then check in with Paris and the rest of the Hadrian girls and after referencing Batman and Robin Eternal and sending me into a scramble to figure out time lines, they are greeted by Agent Zero. Dum, Dum, Dummmmm!!! She thickens the plot by making crazy claims of who the bad guys are and even who is alive and dead and the scene ends with her giving the girls some stuff that can hurt people real bad.
If the issue wasn't Looney Tunes enough, Netz takes Helena to Spyder and everyone who has been reading this book knows how crazy it gets anytime that eerie red screen boots up. This time it's just as eerie, but a couple of the puzzle pieces behind this whole series kind of clicked into place here. I'll leave it to you to decide, but I got surprisingly excited by this scene.
Meanwhile, Grayson and Tiger continue fighting the Syndicate and it is pretty much filler, but I liked the back and forth between everyone. That's when a blast from the past returns, possibly kills some pretty cool characters and then fucks with Tiger's mind. Then, if all this fussin' and a fightin' was getting boring for you, Dick calls in a friend that may have a spotty record in some other books I won't mention, but is solid gold in Grayson.
The issue ends with the Netz Sisters fighting over their destiny until they are greeted by...I would love to say that I don't want to spoil things here, but I am not completely sure what is going on. Maybe I'm a dummy, but I can't wait to read next month's issue to see what the hell is going on.
I will tell you right now, this issue didn't have the usual Grayson feel to it, but that might not be a bad thing. The book is ending in a couple of issues so there just isn't time for extravagant set pieces and cold opens...big stuff has to happen and it does. I admit that I was worried when it was announced that king and Seeley wouldn't be finishing their book, but this issue gives me hope that we will get a decent ending afterall.
The art duties are split between Roge Antonio and Geraldo Borges and they do a decent job. I mentioned one faux pas above and there were a couple of other questionable panels, but overall, they did a good enough job keeping things rolling. Having regular colorist Jeromy Cox helped a bit, but so did the frantic pace of the issue. If something didn't look great, it was gone quick enough. I know that sounds like a backhanded compliment and I guess it is, but it's still a compliment, right?
Bits and Pieces:
This issue of Grayson is more big action movie than spy thriller, but with the series ending, it might just be what the doctor ordered. Jackson Lanzing and Collin Kelly set up the end of this series with explosions, fistacuffs and a bunch or crazy surprises. This may not be the best Grayson issue yet, but Lanzing and Kelly show they are quite capable of ending the series on a high note.