Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Grayson #19 Review

Yeats Don't Fail Me Now

Written by: Jackson Lanzing and Collin Kelly
Art by: Roge Antonio, Jeromy Cox and Carlos M. Mangual
Cover Price: $3.99
Release Date: April 27, 2016

I have gone on record more times then I can count (>3) that Grayson was one of the best books of the New 52/DC You and that it was a shame that a bunch of Nightwing fans sat it out in protest.  Sure, the name had changed, but the song remained the same and that song was not Stairway to Heaven or even Since I've Been Loving You.  Nope, that song was...let me think of something clever...I got nothing.  Wait, how about, "Dick Grayson's super power is being a nice guy and we are getting that in spades here."  I know it's a long title, but if we give it a catchy chorus, I think it could catch on.  Besides trying to become the next Katy Perry, I just want everyone to know that this series was great and I think everyone should give it a try.  I did say "was" and while that might sound harsh, having Tom King (and Tim Seeley to a lesser degree) leave the book for newcomers Lanzing and Kelly to finish still feels wrong to me.  I know that they are only here to get to what will be the Nightwing reset called Rebirth, but I wish they would have let the original creative team finish what they started. However, like they say...If wishes and dreams were peaches and cream then we'd all shit rainbows.  They say that, right?  On to my review for Grayson #19...

The issue begins with a little Yeats, two gals being very upset at their father and an Icarus reference.  Now that is the start to...something.  It all continues with Dick, Tiger and Midnighter and Grayson comes across as the dumbest kid in class.  He seems to be the only one who doesn't know that everything that has been going on was a setup to Daedalus returning and Helena is the vessel.

While all hell seems to be coming down on Dick, Midnighter doors out because it isn't his scene (his words) and Dick and Tiger fight it out a bit while Maxwell Lord looks on.  I mentioned it last month, but could someone tell Roge Antonio to stop making Lord look so much like messed me up again.  I wish that was the only thing that confused me in this issue, but unfortunately, that was the tip of the iceberg.

It's a race to get to Helena and while Tiger is working for Checkmate and will do anything to stop Daedalus, Dick still has hopes of saving Helena.  Lanzing and Kelly do their best to keep the punches and quips coming fast and furious, but it all turns into a convoluted mess.

We see Daedalus and Luka in Germany and after some more poetry and a little betrayal, it seems as if the Netz sisters are no more.  That somehow leads to the continuing fight and chase of Dick and Tiger and again, their interaction is quipy, but in a way that is not funny or smart.

We finally get to something more interesting when we head back to Spyral and see that Frau Netz is barely alive, but has a final chance to be a hero...kind of.  It all goes back to the beginnings of the series when we were told that Grayson was going to be all about Spyral knowing the secret identities of the Justice League and everyone else.  She makes a choice that may not get her through the pearly gates, but stops a whole lot of disaster from happening later.

Back to Dick, after a little monologue (including an odd typo) nobody is surprised when Tiger shows up yet again.  Seriously, someone put on the sunglasses and stop this fight already!!!  Dick stops it for now, but we are left with Tiger promising more.  Great.

The issue ends with Grayson arriving at his destination and because of everything we've already seen and knew, it isn't shocking, exciting or anything much at all.  It's just the end of the penultimate issue of a series I used to love.

I really don't know what to say here.  I won't say that I hated this issue because I really was left feeling empty.  Empty, a little confused and a little sad that my favorite book was ending in a way that was unrecognizable to me.  I have been begging all the Nightwing fans to read this book since it came out, but I'm here to say that as it stands now, just wait for Rebirth.  Everything including the art is a shell of what it once was and yes, that makes me very sad.

Bits and Pieces:

Lanzing and Kelly were called on to end this series and get it to Rebirth and while they will certainly get that job done, I can't say it will be in style.  People are always saying to enjoy the journey, but I just want this to end.  Better yet, could we rewind and have Seeley, King and Janin end it months ago. This issue is a confusing mess that I can't recommend to anyone and is starting to make the Nightwing fans that have been yelling at me look very smart.  They aren't smart...they just look like it right now.



  1. Yep, I agree 100% with you Jim. This series used to be one of my favourites, but now I just want it to end and I'm only reading it to the end because I am a completist. Compared to the greatness that this series was when King, Seeley, and Janin were on it, it is now just terrible. I don't really blame the current creative team (none of whom I've ever heard of) and I feel a bit bad for them having to end an overall story that wasn't theirs to start with and having to follow the greatness-that-was, and I lay the blame completely at the feet of DC Editorial/Senior Management. Because of Rebirth, this once-great series will end with a whimper, if that, when it could have ended so much better.

    1. Exactly! Lanzing and Kelly worked on Batman and Robin Eternal (and Hactivist), but are pretty much comic newcomers. Their Eternal stuff was not great, but really focused on Jason Todd and Tim Drake. I don't blame them either, they were thrown in to finish a book and honestly were left with the most confusing parts of it...Checkmate, Spyral, Daedalus and not really given any room for what made it awesome...the humor and character interaction, etc. They are trying, but it comes across that way a little too much. Seems as if DC told them to end it and probably gave them a checklist of what to do and let them fend for themselves in the meantime. All and all, fans like you and me are the ones who suffer.

    2. I agree completely, but I didn't hate this issue.

      I can see how King and Seely may have plotted these events, but Lanzing and Kelly lacked the subtlety and grace to execute it the way their predecessors intended. Instead they've chose to go full throttle action , with over bloated dialogue. Some of it misses the mark completely, but I don't think it's necessarily a terrible interpretation of the characters. Tiger and Dick's ongoing feud still highlights the idea that they don't actually want to fight each other, they're just forced into these roles, each trying to do the right thing.The point comes across, not brilliantly, but at least clearly enough that they stayed true to the characters. I will also point out that when left on his own, Seely didn't produce the best dialogue either, which I worry about in the upcoming Nightwing series. Anyway, I think the major culprit here (for me at least) is the art.

      Roge's art isn't bad per se, but it certainly adds to the confusion of these last 2 issues, for example; I honestly did not recognize Helena as Dr. Daedalus at the end of #18. There are a lot of unclear action sequences during Tiger and Dicks race/chase scenes, and Agent Zero's "exit" from the train wasn't executed very well either.
      But at the very least Roge is trying to give us what we want, even if he doesn't succeed. You can see him trying to tackle that Spiraling staircase scene in a somewhat creative way, but knowing that Mike Janin would have killed that scene exquisitely, just makes the work look shoddy. I actually like Roge's art style, just not on this book.

      I guess I'm saying, I don't think these final issues are a total wash, and I honestly enjoyed THIS snow mobile race up to a brainwashing Megalomaniac's Castle lair more than the one we got last month in B&R Eternal.

      I just can't write this off yet.
      Rock on!

  2. Such an unceremoniously disappointing end to my favorite comic of The New 52

  3. This was one of my favorites, as well (since the FUTURES END issue).

    That said, I have enjoyed these last two issues more than most, it seems. It would have been nice if King or Seeley had at least plotted these issues first.

    What I really don't get is why Seeley left to do an arc on SUICIDE SQUAD only to return to Dick again when it relaunches as NIGHTWING. It stands to reason that keeping the same writer would have made for a more seamless transition between the two books.

    The only thing I can think of is either: A) Seeley's SUICIDE SQUAD is a stock story that's been sitting around waiting to be printed; or B) the shift over to SUICIDE SQUAD was originally meant to be more long-term but REBIRTH changed things.

    No matter what, these issues would have been better with Janin on art.

    1. I think it was meant to be longer...kind of like Greg Pak on Teen Titans. I know that DC wants us to believe that Rebirth is well planned out, but I don't think that's the full truth at least with how we are leading into it. I have been told by two creators that their books were screwed over by Rebirth and another that had a whole new book approved and the taken away because of Rebirth

    2. I think it was meant to be longer...kind of like Greg Pak on Teen Titans. I know that DC wants us to believe that Rebirth is well planned out, but I don't think that's the full truth at least with how we are leading into it. I have been told by two creators that their books were screwed over by Rebirth and another that had a whole new book approved and the taken away because of Rebirth