This is the quietest issue of Grayson yet. Seeley and King combine to coax heart, subtlety, and curiosity out of a simple tale, while Janin and Cox pair up to paint some of the most open and penetrating pages we’ve seen thus far. While it could be cynically viewed as a set-up issue, Grayson does what so many other titles don’t do: it makes the set-up actually fun to read.*
In true action movie form Grayson gives us a terrific hook. A helicopter is going down. In it are Dick, Helena, Midnighter, and a woman giving birth –during the crash! There is no time to not instantly be drawn in to what’s happening. It’s a classic opening to nearly any type of storytelling, especially comics. The three-act system works, my friend.
A few spoilers follow, though none that should ruin the story.
The helicopter crashes, killing the mother, but the baby survives. Thankfully, they have some formula for the baby and water for themselves because they have crashed-landed in the middle of the desert, 200 miles away from the nearest town. Now, why are Dick, Helena and Midnighter hanging out together?
The vast majority of the issue is spent with you, the reader, looking for a glass of water because you are so immersed in the hot, dry, and lonely desert that you need to quench your thirst. The colors have never looked better in Grayson. Each page makes you feel how alone Dick, Helena, Midnighter and the baby are as they walk the 200 mile trek toward civilization. And yet, at the same time, you feel the intimacy of being with these characters.
The small events that unfold are heightened by the simplicity of the story telling. The “heart” aspect of this issue is sort of in-your-face but it is supposed to be. It’s a staple that I’ve come to expect from this series and it would be sorely missed if it went…missing.** Dick’s story is wild. I tried to figure out what past Batman and Robin story this could be in reference to, but came up with nothing. Did anyone else? If anyone knows, it’ll be Brandon Mulholand our Batman reviewer (among others) who is hands-down the most knowledgable person about the Dart Knight I know. Any ideas if it’s a reference?
The result of all the heart is actually temporarily unfulfilling ending. I say “temporarily” because clearly the results of this comic will have implications later and surely we will look back on this issue and think, “Yeah, that was cool.” Also, as it doesn’t just sing at the end, the story has meaning in and of itself, so it is not a waste. I’ll tag the rest here:
*I mean, aren’t ALL issues essentially set-up issues? Set-up is perhaps a wrong term here, but we all know that feeling when you finish an issue of your favorite series and you feel let-down because nothing really happened in it. They got you for another $2.99 and all you want to do is read the next issue hoping that it will answer some questions. Literary crack. I’m sure brighter minds have coined that term. Comics are a form of literary crack. Some hits are amazing. Others are cheap and short lived. But they (nearly) all make you want more.
**Interesting, the “heart” of this issue goes missing, “lost in a crash”.
- You want to read a story about a heart with heart.
- It’s snowing outside and you want to warm you up.
- You even remotely like Dick as a person.
Though this issue doesn’t move mountains, it does draw beautiful lines in the sand. Heartfelt and meaningful, this issue is a great read. Recommended.