Last month’s Grayson: Futures End #1 was fantastic. If you haven’t picked that up, go and do so. I thought it would have thrown a wrench in this series and really just set it off pace, but I was wrong. It carried with it big themes and creative writing. So this time going back into the main story I was afraid it wouldn’t hold up to that issue. My worries were unfounded as this issue features some of that strong writing and big themes as the Futures End tie-in as well as building off the main storyline… and this time, some really great art!

I’m really digging the format of the series. Each issue incorporates the following themes: 1) A mission that pushes the envelope for Dick. 2) A body part that must be acquired for Spyral. 3) Some sort of love interest. 4) Spyral’s overarching plan against superheroes. These are things you can count on each issue and I like it.

  1. An Envelope-Pushing Mission — The morality of killing was discussed a great deal in the Futures End tie-in. Here we have the morality of gun use. Seeley and King open up the floor for debate over gun use by superheroes and it’s interesting to see it in print. Dick is being trained to use a gun. He is even forced to draw it. But does he use it?
    Spoiler
    Hell no. Despite Dick apparently murdering that dude last issue (there are some naysayers to that point) he won’t pull a trigger, at least not yet. He stands his ground based on a “that’s not how I roll” mantra. Which is basically the only argument a professional spy/comic book character could use, though in debate terms that point would not stand.
    In the course of completing the mission, Dick tries to use his personality and ability to relate to others. Most of the time it doesn’t work and he just puts others or himself in danger. What this issue does is show how a person who tries to be understanding can’t work effectively as a spy in Spyral.
  2. Body Parts for Spyral — This time, it’s eyes. Bear with me. A man whose eyes were damaged has his optical nerves directly tied to two guns that he uses to see out of. So, wherever this guy points his guns is where he sees. Now. This guy, Old Gun, has stolen Paragon’s eyes and Spyral must retrieve them. Very odd. Very Batman Inc. Yet very fun. Speaking of eyes though, I have to say this comic looks amazing! Seriously, from layouts, to action shots, to the creative point of view of Old Gun, everything looks like it was given an incredible amount of thought. Mikel Janin and Jeromy Cox are fantastic here.
  3. Love Interest — Have you read the free preview? Oh my. This might have been the most sexually obvious(?) issue I’ve read in The New 52. I’m sure some will find it distasteful, though, for better or worse it’s an essential ingredient to this issue in particular.
    Spoiler
    It’s something that James Bond fans will understand. Establishing attachment between Alia (Agent 8) and Dick quickly and early on makes what happens at the end more powerful and shocking. This is accomplished by an extremely long line of sexual innuendo and creative use of our lead character’s name resulting in the reader understanding there is a connection between these two. It makes us care about a character we might otherwise not care about. Though, I’d be surprised if we saw any “Dick” jokes for awhile after this one.
  4. Spyral’s Superhero Secrets — Aquaman’s identity is known. Spyral is aware of secret transmissions being sent using Spyral’s communications. Perhaps they are on to Dick and Bruce chatting it up? There is some ongoing tension brewing. I wonder how Spyral can reconcile Dick’s association with Batman with his refusal to shoot and his refusal (so far) to kill.

Recommended if:

  • You enjoyed Grayson: Futures End #1.
  • The thought of Dick Grayson using a gun blows your mind.
  • You like James Bond.

Overall:

This is an incredibly strong comic through and through. The writing is top notch. It’s fun. It’s shocking. The artwork looks terrific. If you’re reading the series as a whole it really adds to the overall story. Tension is brewing. We care about the characters. Hot topic issues are addressed. Guys, it’s a fantastic issue, and I highly recommend it.

SCORE: 9/10