Friday, November 7, 2014

DAMN Good Comics -- GRAYSON #4

After all this time fighting the worst supervillains imaginable as the first Robin and as Nightwing, Dick Grayson faces his greatest challenge yet -- horny college girls.

Three issues and a Futures End special into Grayson's new role as an agent of the espionage organization Spyral, we finally get a reminder of what used to be so great about the pre-New 52 Nightwing -- his sense of fun.  Writers Tim Seeley and Tom King, along with artist Mikel Janin, take a brief departure from the series' more serious tone, without making things feel so wacky and silly that you wonder if you're reading an issue of Harley Quinn or Deadpool instead.

In "The Raid," Seeley and King starts things off with an interesting mission involving Checkmate, another DC Universe espionage organization, only to go through the entire thing in only three pages.  We abruptly shift focus to Helena Bertinelli's young proteges at St. Hadrian's Finishing School, who have obtained pictures of a certain shirtless ex-Boy Wonder, reinforcing the commonly held belief among straight female and gay male fans that adult Dick Grayson is one of the hottest comics characters ever.  So what do these aroused young women do after drooling over these photos?  They decide to go on a "man-ty raid," of course.

And just before you wonder if the series is completely breaking format, the ongoing mysterious mystery of Spyral head Mr. Minos continues as Grayson uses a sucker, of all things, to obtain skin samples of Minos off the ground for Batman to analyze.  We learn how creepy, paranoid and meticulous Minos is with the revelation that he uses microscopic nanite machines to eat his skin flakes and any pieces of hair that shed in order to protect his identity.  Meanwhile, Minos has Helena investigate transmissions sent to someone else by Agent 8 in the previous issue, but she ends up finding Grayson's communications tech to Batman in his alarm clock.

As for the art, Mikel Janin provides outstanding work as always, showcasing Grayson's physique along with his impressive acrobatic skills as part of the girls' chase across St. Hadrian's campus.  And best of all, we finally get a proper overhead shot of St. Hadrian's, complete with some building descriptions so that the setting feels like an actual place in this current DC Universe.  Janin is particularly adept at facial expressions, including the girls' hot-and-bothered reactions to the photos and Grayson's reaction to his new cover identity as "a French former Olympic gymnast.  And whose face is so indistinct as to be unmemorable.  And who is gay."

If you're one of those people who wasn't up for Dick Grayson having a completely new status quo and miss the days when the character was fun and charming as Nightwing, do yourselves a favor a give this issue a try.  Grayson has been a stellar series so far, quickly becoming one of DC's best books at the moment, and deserves as much attention from fans as it can get.

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