Friday, January 29, 2016

Grayson #16 Review

Thirty Seeeeeeven

Written by: Tom King
Art by: Mikel Janin, Jeromy Cox and Carlos M. Mangual
Cover Price: $3.99
Release Date: January 27, 2016

I know that a ton of people have been down on DC Comics since they debuted the DC You in June (I know, some of you haters out there have been on the negative train even longer) and I can't blame them because I'm right there with them.  However, there have still been a couple of things I liked and one of them is DC’S focus on Dick.  With Batman and Robin Eternal, Robin War and even Starfire, it seems like you can't go anywhere in the DCU these days without running into Dick and I love it. However, the one book that I worry the most about is this one, Grayson.  Not only do all these other stories present timeline and continuity issues, but also took Tom King away from this book.  Now, word has come down the pike that both King and Tim Seeley will be off this book and replaced by Jason Lanzing and Colin Kelly and while I'll reserve judgement, I am already close to being devastated.  Well, at least we have a couple of issues to go with the original team and with King back on script this month, it is so good.  Too good in fact, because it just makes me more upset he's leaving.  Darn you Tom King...darn you for being so good!

If you don't remember, the last time we saw Dick Grayson, he was fighting Tiger and then begging him to help take down Spyral.  It felt odd to leave on that note and head off to the Robin War, but hey, story over I right? Well, we are back into it and King sets us up with a classic Grayson cold open that made me smile knowing the book was back in its best hands.

In one page we get a guy being shoved in a car trunk, a secret password (swordfish) and a cool spy car with a parachute button.  We also are being duped into thinking we are seeing Dick and when the truth is revealed it's with a kick to the face from the coolest bartender since Tom Cruise sang the Hippy Hippy Shake.  That's what I love about this book and especially these openers...things don't just happen, they feel like they've been going on all along and we just happen by at the best moments.  The action is great and the tension and excitement has as much to do with Mikel Janin’s art and panel layout as it is with the script.

Grayson runs out of the bar and joins up with the car with the parachute!  The story turns around on itself when we learn that Tiger was involved in that first scene and it's not important, but it's still an ah-ha moment that again reminds you how clever this book is under King.

Through some hilarious dialogue, we find out that the guy Grayson kicked in the face was a Spyral agent and thus begins one of the best buddy spy comics I've ever read.  

I've mentioned in my other reviews that I am not a huge spy movie fan and the last James Bond movie I watched was For Your Eyes Only.  I lucked out, because when Dick and Tiger head off to the Alps it mimics that movies best scene and also continues the superb back and forth with our two leads.  I know that people went gaga over the Grayson and Midnight error teamup, but this is even better.  I am realizing that what you need for a great teamup is Tom King writing it, plain and simple.

After a quick peek at the tensions rising at Spyral HQ, the reader is treated to an amazing montage that again pays tribute to the James Bond franchise.  If you can get through the four pages without smiling and singing along with Dick, you are a better person than me.  Strike are a weirdo with a black, cold heart.  Why are you reading comics anyway, you psychopath?!?  What are you doing with that knife?  There’s no need for violence...nooooo!

What the hell just happened?  Oh well, back to Grayson.  Dick and Tiger’s vendetta hasn't gone unnoticed and Helena Bertinelli had gotten to the desperate times part and heads off for some measures.  She goes to the Syndicate who have been teased in this entire series run.  While it makes me a little sad that one of them is a favorite of mine that has had some public relations issues lately, I loved everyone else and as a whole am so pumped.  

The issue ends with the rogue spies finding out that Helena is not just going to give Spyral her two weeks notice and join up with them and that she has in fact sent the Syndicate out for their blood.  Instead of crying and hugging, they head off to recruit some muscle and who they pick is just another cool thing in an issue that is ice cold.

If you hadn't guessed yet, I loved this issue.  I hate to get all generic and uses phrases from the Reviewing Comics for Dummies, but this issue is the perfect combination of story and art and I wish it was a hundred more pages.  I usually struggle to figure out if any issue is new user friendly and while a Grayson rookie might miss some cool references, this issue is so much fun to read and look at that I think anyone would love it.  Tom King Mikel Janin and Jeromy Cox just kill it here and I hope that wherever they land in this whole Rebirth thing, they do so together.

Bits and Pieces:

I had so much fun reading this issue.  Between the spot on humor and the pulse racing action is the continuation of the Spyral story that may not address Dick’s recent doings, but who cares when it's this great.  The only thing I didn't like here was a certain character being painted as a villain and I can look past that to smile at the spy/buddy cop homage that is Grayson #16.



  1. Dangit, I want to see someone make that theme song a vocal reality!

  2. I loved the shit out of this issue. In fact, it may be my favorite issue of the series.

    It is going to hurt when Tom King leaves. Hopefully, DC won't lose another great writer to Marvel and will get him on BATMAN.

    1. I'm with you...this is the most fun I've had with a comic since the New 52 started

  3. Are King and Seeley just off for the rebirth or do you think this is a permanent change?

    1. they haven't fully said, but something tells me that this book will morph into something else and hopefully, they will be on that. So...I have no idea!!!! on a side note, does anyone call you "the Lemmer"?

  4. Amazing issue, so much fun... I'll miss this if it disappears post-rebirth. Great review, Jim.

    1. it is getting canceled...they are saying that Nightwing will return, though

    2. Ehh, I suppose I can live with that. He'll probably lead the New Titans team too, so we'll still have plenty o' Dick.