Writers: Tim Seeley, Tom King
Artists: Mikel Janin, Jeromy Cox, Carlos M. Mangual
Review by: Sofia Marlasca
As we dive further into the latest Grayson arc, it becomes evident that things are changing, quickly. Both in and out of the story. The biggest difference between this new arc and the past ones is the lingering sense that we are reading a bigger story, rather than singular stories that might eventually build up to something. Whether this new format will work out for the story or not is something we have yet to see, but it definitively allows Seeley and King to explore the spy world and the complicated relationships between our main and secondary characters. For the first time in quite a while, the book manages to set up a thrilling mystery for the readers and the characters to solve. The art, as usual, is spot on. There are some seriously beautiful images in this book.
I feel the need to give a round of applause to this creative team for the constant fan service that this book is. It is refreshing to see a male character being put through what so many female superheroes go, with almost every woman in the story making remarks about his looks nonchalantly —and Grayson being “empowered” by rather suggestive shots. It might make some men uncomfortable, and I sure hope it does, but it might also, in the long run, throw light to some issues in the industry… while giving us a guilty pleasure that will most likely be remembered for decades.
The big star in this issue, though, is Lex Luthor. Bringing in an old foe, who is so well-known and positioned in the DC universe, is a brilliant move. It reminds us this book is only a puzzle piece in the workings of things a lot bigger, it brings back the memory of who Dick Grayson is and his position in this world: he’s a seasoned superhero, not a spy. He’s undercover, but we get a reminder of why he’s in this place to begin with. Dick and Lex’s banter is one of the most refreshing conversations this book has done so far. Luthor is villainous as ever and it is delightful to watch.
I do wish we got a better context explanation of what’s going on with this “Batman’s Death” story arc. Dick was in Gotham at the moment it all went down (Batman #40) and we get no explanation as to how he managed to pull that off or how did he manage to do so without the rest of the Bat-family finding out he’s alive. This might all be a problem of coordination between the Bat-titles writing teams, but I do hope DC will get their head around dealing with it. (Does Damian Wayne even know about Dick’s “deceased” status?)
With more than a few twists, this book is a fun ride. Like any good spy story, it leaves you doubting about everyone’s loyalties — even Dick’s! Luthor’s appearance helps up the stakes and bring the story into focus for the bigger universe it plays a part of, and it does so marvelously. With a thrilling cliffhanger, this story still has a lot of knots to tie in the following issues. I do hope the storytelling will continue to be up to the challenge. So far, they haven’t given us a reason to doubt so.
RATING: 9 out of 10
Release date: July 22, 2015