Grayson #9: “Nemesis”
Written by Tom King and Tim Seeley
Illustrated by Mikel Janín
Colored by Jeromy Cox
Lettered by Carlos M. Mangual
When I interviewed Seeley and King earlier this month, they kept referring to the preceding and forthcoming Grayson arcs as “seasons.” At the time it seemed like an interesting way of looking at things, with each arc telling a full story that can stand alone while also connecting to the other, but I didn’t think anything more of it.
Reading issue nine, though, and I can see exactly where they’re coming from: with a new status quo, new partner, and a new mystery, this feels less like Grayson #9 and more like Vol. 2, #1. With Convergence acting as a “programming break” for the new and returning series, “season” is a fitting descriptor.
Thanks to the sneak preview that started floating around a few days ago, I already knew this issue started off with a punch to the gut, and it wasn’t any easier to read the second time around.
That page is so good, the rest of the issue could have been garbage and it still would have warranted at least a 6. It also leads to Dick becoming somewhat reckless during the main mission later on, deliberately ignoring Agent 1’s suggestions and rushing into the thick of things. There’s lots of material to mine here, with the usually level-headed Dick endangering himself because he’s longing for him, and I’m definitely interested in where it’s going.
Thankfully, even beyond that heartbreaking opening page, a pretty compelling mystery is being set up to be investigated over the next few months: through a recurring series of flashbacks, we’re taken back to each of Dick’s previous missions, where spies from other agencies are being bludgeoned to death once Spyral leaves the area.
Bludgeoned with an escrima that is being wielded by a curiously familiar hand.
It’s a fairly well-trod trope, the “evil double”, but I have faith in this team to make it work and be incredibly compelling.
Especially if it’s Tad Ryerstad.
One of the biggest changes is, of course, Helena as the new head of Spyral.
All credit to King and Seeley for making her the first Bertinelli character I’ve ever liked. Before, Huntress never really clicked with me for whatever reason, but Matron here is strong, confident, and intriguing even with what little we know about her. It will be interesting to see how she balances her feelings for Dick and her duties as his new boss, and it’s all the more impressive that it feels earned and organic.
At this point, I don’t need to sell you guys on the writing, pacing, stories, or art in this book. Seeley and King consistently turn out scripts that are funny and energetic, perfectly capturing the nature and personality of Dick Grayson. From his swashbuckling, care-free attitude to the use of his charm to complete a mission, Grayson is having fun and it’s infectious.
They, along with the brilliant pencils from Mikel Janín and the lush, gorgeous colors of Jeromy Cox, have made this a spy tale that works, with a dance scene that reminded me of the tango in True Lies, and all of the intrigue, action and even the innuendos of the best Bond films.
The only drawback to this issue is it feels like a season opener: it’s a tad heavy on exposition, and while what happens is genuinely exciting it feels more like set-up for something bigger to come.
Regardless, it’s still a strong return to one of the best books out there, and while having Dick back in a mask and costume is welcome, I’m enjoying this foray. To paraphrase Tom King, he’s still Nightwing, still the same guy, just with a different mission and purpose.
- You love Dick Grayson/Nightwing.
- Pure entertainment and fun is your thing.
- I mean, I guess if you want to see if Dick is a boxer or briefs man? There’s been a lot of talk about that today. SpoilerHe’s both.
Overall: More of the same greatness we’ve come to expect from this book, aside from some necessary exposition it’s an engaging thrill ride with plenty of great character moments and a few laughs. The bar keeps getting raised with Grayson, and what’s set up here should make even the most hesitant of readers jump on and enjoy the ride.