Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Grayson Annual #1 Review

Written by: Tom King and Tim Seeley
Art by: Stephen Mooney
Cover Price: $4.99
Release Date: December 24, 2014

Rock 'Til You Drop

Remind me never to trust solicits again.  Helena Bertinelli's origin?  Bah, Humbug!  Nope, this Annual is a continuation of the normal run of Grayson as well as a story about a story about a story.  I can't say I'm upset because it's a good read filled with twists and turns that keep you guessing...sort of.  This is Grayson, so going in you kind of expect things to be a bit more than they seem.  So, it's off to the Ireland where Helena is in a bit of a bind.

Tom King gives us a cold opening that combines Irish folklore and some Irish thuggery.  The main focus is on a fellow named "Rock" who has something for St. Francis.  While these first few pages are good in a crime drama sort of way, it's hard to recognize them as part of Grayson...until you see what Rock has.  Helena Bertinelli.  Tied up.  In his trunk.  Now you've got my attention.

The bulk of the issue involves Rock trying to gain audience with St. Francis and thus get paid for capturing Helena.  As he meets two of St. Francis' associates, he tells them his history along with some more folktales and some Irish drinking songs for good measure.  If King and Seeley want the reader to like this guy, they failed miserably.  I don't think that's what they were going for.

When he tells how he captured Helena, I was a little suspicious, but when when the associates call a friend in Gotham to verify his story, the jig was up.  You'll know exactly what I'm talking about.  From there it's just a matter of when the crap will hit the fan. After a couple more tales and a road trip, it does.

Up until this point, I figured St. Francis was a clever name for an Irish mob boss.  After seeing him, I'm not sure.  I'd say he was a crazy villain, but I'm not sure he's a villain.  He's just someone who has something Spyral wants.  After everything is revealed and the tables are turned, Spyral is one step closer to doing whatever the hell it is they have planned.

I enjoyed watching this issue unfold.  It didn't take a genius to figure out things were not as they seemed, but I enjoyed the ride. Last issue of Grayson showed how great a guy Dick was while this one showed a bit of a darker side of him.  I'll admit that it felt a bit odd for him to go that route (he did get a guy killed), but it must all be a part of a greater plan.

If I had any complaints it was that what was going on was a bit too transparent and that the story was a bit thin for an Annual.  I did like it, but it could have easily been a regular issue at regular price.

Stephen Mooney took over art for the annual and while I'll admit I'm a Mikel Janin fanboy, Mooney did a good job.  The panels showing the Irish folklore were the highlight and did a nice job of accenting the story.

Bits and Pieces:

Grayson Annual #1 is a good continuation of the regular series run.  Tom King and Tim Seeley give us a story of deception and betrayal that puts Spyral one step closer to their objective.  While the story is a bit thin for an Annual, it's still worth reading and enjoyable for fans.


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