Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Grayson #17 Review

Someone Else Started a Joke...

Written by: Tim Seeley
Art by: Carmine Di Giandomenico, Jeromy Cox, and Carlos M. Mangual
Cover Price: $3.99
Release Date: February 24, 2016

Grayson is my one of my favorite books out right now and while I agree that it was never going to last forever, years after Rebirth sends it packing, I will look back at my time with it with a big smile on my face.  Of course, I'm saying this with four issues left and Tom King nowhere in sight. This month we get his tag team partner, Tim Seeley, and while I haven't been his biggest fan, I have hopes that he can continue the greatness that King has setup for him.  We have seen Dick and Tiger rip their way through Spyral agents with a smile on their face and a song in their hearts, but now Helena has called in the Syndicate to take them down.  While that sounds like trouble, Dick has some outside help as well as Checkmate is helping his cause.  I have a sneaking suspicion that this will all lead to a free-for-all at some point, but that's a story for another day.  Right now we are here to see if this issue is any good.  Well, is it?  Let's find out...

The issue opens with Grifter having a little chat with Tao and I'm not going to pretend that that I have an extensive background with either characters.  I do know a bit about Grifter (and like him as a character), but I seriously knew nothing about Tao before doing research for this review.  I know, surprises never cease, but yes, I do try to prepare for my written reviews.  The podcast on the other hand...  Grifter has given him some Spyral files and while we are supposed to think that they are fully trying to take down the rogue agents 1 and 37, Tao seems to be a bit more interested in Helena Bertinelli.

We then head of to Honduras where we see Frankenstein doing a little Indiana Jones impersonation.  Or is it his Alfred Molina act?  I'm not sure, but we do get Tiger as well and while he talks on his comm with Dick, Frank shows he's more fun than a barrel full of crazed demon looking monkeys.

A few things threw me off right away this month.  First, Carmine Di Giandomenico's art just isn't Mikel Janin's.  I know that sounds mean, but like it or not, Janin's art defines this book and anytime he takes a break, everything else suffers.  The second thing is the humor...or forced attempt at it.  It's like Tim Seeley saw the great reaction to Tom King's script for last issue and is trying to grab some of the magic.  It's like Dane Cook trying to follow Chris Rock.

That continues as Dick comes to Tiger's rescue singing up a storm and it just felt off here and made my groan out loud,  While I bitched about Frankenstein even being in this book last issue, I didn't mind him here.  Seeley does make him seem noble enough, even if his cause isn't and him and Dick fighting is one of the highlights of the issue.  It takes the combined efforts of Dick, Tiger and some cool Checkmate tech to subdue the brute and then right on cue, Maxwell Lord appears.  He doesn't do much here, but my guess is that him and Checkmate will play a greater part before this is all over.

The next big scene takes place in Mexico City where a nice bonding moment between Dick and Tiger is interrupted by Grifter and Keshi.  While Dick and Grifter talk and fight and talk some more, Tiger bounces off of Keshi.  While Grifter tries to read Dick's mind, Dick throws a little Psych 101 back at him and then...well, I have a bit of a complaint.  We get a whole bunch of setup and the start of two pretty cool battles, but both are resolved off panel, ending with explanations of what happened from Dick and Tiger.  Why???  Maybe Tim Seeley had a dinner date or a tee time because it really made the scene feel rushed.

The issue ended where it began, with Grifter and Tao talking.  Remember when I said it felt like Tao was concentrating more on Helena then the supposed targets, Dick and Tiger?  The cliffhanger shows us why.  I wish I could say it was exciting, but it's not a shock and didn't do anything for me.

I didn't enjoy this issue much at all.  Tim Seeley seemed to be trying too hard to make the reader laugh and instead it all came off as lame.  If I wanted laughs, I'd reread issue #16.  The actually story didn't hold up either as it was just a series of fights and while those could have been okay, we didn't even get to see the best parts.  The cliffhanger does promise a bigger conflict, but that also seemed forced in as it doesn't jive fully with how this was all set up.  I'm now officially worried that this series is going to end on a big sour note.

I mentioned Carmine Di Giandomenico's art above and I'll admit, by the end of the book, I didn't mind it as much.  I think it was a combination of me getting used to it, but also Di Giandomenico setting in and actually improving a bit from the start.  Overall, I'd rate it as "good".

Bits and Pieces:

This was one of the few issues of Grayson that I wasn't a fan of.  After last month, Tim Seeley jumped on and came off like a guy trying to capture someone else's magic.  The book was a mismatch of tones that just didn't work and the whole thing came off like a joke you've already heard. Hopefully Jackson Lanzing and Colin Kelly can spice things up in the coming months or else a great book will limp across the finish line.



  1. As a massive Grayson fan, I agree with your take on the issue , but I'd rate it slightly higher (6.5 - 7.0).

    The biggest offender here is Seeley's dialogue, which works in places, but fall uncomfortably in others. This has been a fear of mine since the announcement that Tom King was departing. As a duo, they've performed some flawless feats, but alone, Seely's good intentions rarely translate perfectly to the page.

    The overall story was passable, and while I wasn't expecting Di Giandomenico's art on this issue (cuz I'm always looking for that Janin fix), I will say that his character designs and action sequences are quite solid.

    It's those battle sequences that redeem this issue for me. And yes, too much is handled off panel, but I never object to shows of how Badass Grayson actually is, despite not having a cave full of his own "toys" to fall back on.
    He controls and executes the fight with Franky (a paragon level threat) like the master strategist he's supposed to be, and let's face it, outside of this title it's a trait he rarely gets to show off (I promise I won't go on a B&R Eternal rant). But his fight with Grifter was the highlight of the issue for me, I mean Cole Cash was one of the Flagship characters of the entire Wildstorm universe back in the day; so that Dick outfought him, overcame his telepathy, and got in his head, had me genuinely pleased.

    That said, with the Heroic trio off of the book, I hope Lanzing, Kelly, and Di Giandomenico can handle , and deliver on, our expectations.

    Has anyone actually read anything by Lanzing and Kelli? I haven't, but I'm trying to stay positive about these issues they're filling in on, since they should be following King and Seeley's outline.

    I guess we'll see.

  2. Definite drop off in quality from previous issues.

    Janin's art is sorely missed here. I am familiar with Di Giandomenico from the recent All-New X-Factor from Marvel... I didn't much dig it there, and I don't much dig it here.

    Glad to see Grifter. It's always neat to see some Wildstorm characters romping about. Gotta wonder if we'll finally get a new WildCATS book somewhere down the line.