Agent 37 has alot on his plate, figuratively and literally flying without a net.
Under orders to knock out his partner, Agent 1, Dick travels to Italy questioning why he had to betray him but getting no answer from the new Matron, Helena Bertinelli. He has enough when his contact in Italy turns out to be Lex Luthor, out to collect a piece of Kryptonite for totally not evil reasons but doesn’t convince Dick. Dick flees and decides to reconnect with Agent 1, whom Sprial has just sent on a dangerous mission without help. Back at HQ, Helena and her advisors try to figure out who is framing Dick for killing fellow field agents.
Art-Wise, this issue looks fantastic. If someone told me Mikel Janin worked on it through the Convergence break I would believe it. The composition is exciting, the action fluid, and the background scenery is gorgeous. Jeremy Cox on colors is no slouch either, making it seem like both artists stepped up their game for this issue.
On a second read-through, I found more to enjoy in this issue’s plot then I did previously but it didn’t totally win me over. Lex Luthor moving up in the world while Dick is still undercover, unaware of Bruce’s situation back in Gotham, is good referencing of continuity. Helena handling all the stress of being in charge of a spy agency is good, but takes her out of the action in more ways than one.
My main problem with this new story arc is how connected in is to the previous one. I loved those stories, but the idea that there was even more going on then we already knew feels unnecessary. I’d much rather see a new story than whatever mystery is being built out of the past 6-7 issues.
All of that said, the issue has humor as well as tension for Dick and his supporting cast. If the team can keep that going and sell me on this new unseen angle from the previous arc, they can win me over and return the book’s status as my favorite series.
Rating: Poor, Fair, Good, Great, Excellent
Dick Grayson will be returning to an ongoing DC solo series in July of 2014 titled Grayson from Tim Seely of Revival, Hack/Slash, Batman Eternal, Witchblade & Bloodstrike former CIA Agent Tom King of A Once Crowded Sky & Time Warp and artist Mikel Janin of Justice League Dark, Forever Evil ARGUS, JLA & Heavy Metal. The series will focus on Dick Grayson transitioning from life in the Bat Family to working as a secret agent post Forever Evil. More detail at USA Today
By Tim Seely, Tom King, and Mikel Janin
The writers wrap up the arc that has been going on in the background of the series, with Minos’ true goals revealed and a status quo change is teased.
The story begins with Minos having two parallel conversations with two women, one is set in the past while the other is set after the issue’s events. Minos attempts to kill Helena in the past, as his first step towards bringing down Spyral. Helena finds Dick, while his gymnastic students discuss which of his buttocks is the most desirable. Dick rushes off to save Minos next target, while his students follow. Once Dick foils Minos’ second attempted kill, Minos releases the newly rebuilt Paragon, with the enhanced organs that Dick and Helena have been gathering since the start of the series. Dick defeats Paragon with help from his students, but Minos escapes. In the present, he is giving all of Spyral’s secrets to a mysterious woman before he himself is killed by Agent Zero.
Janin’s art is good here, but really only stands out in a few spots. There’s nothing wrong per say, but it seems rather average compared to his past issues. That said, the characters and backgrounds look good and there are no noticeable anatomy guffaws.
This issue is a necessary bookmark for the series, laying to rest some of the plot threads that have been running since issue 1 (hopefully the trade collects the first 8 issues). The story itself seems lacking in charm, the fight with Paragon works better than it should but comes across as obligatory. Since so much of the issue is focused on the action by the second, there isn’t much room for personal moments or witty banter. It’s possible that with “Convergence” starting next month, the team had to condense a few issues into one issue, however that seems unlikely since they have proven committed to decompression and momentum in plot. I’m glad to see that “Grayson” will return in 2 months after “Convergence” ends, and hopefully the break will rejuvenate the Creative team.
Rating: Poor, Fair, Good, Great, Excellent.
by Tim Seely, Tom King, Mikel Janin, and Jeromy Cox
The Story: Dick, Helena, and Midnighter get stranded out in the desert; with a baby carrying a bio-enhanced heart inside herself. Their only chance for survival is to walk across miles of desert to get help, otherwise they will die.
The Art: Is beautiful. It is panels and panels of the team walking through the desert, the colors switching from warm to cool and back again. It is like Jim Henson’s Tale of Sand in that both feature characters traveling through terrain and the art carries the brunt of the story in staying visually arresting by itself. Jeromy Cox deserves his mention this week (yet again) for his rendering of the desert environments.
Overall: This issue is a great showing of Dick’s compassion and his often under-shown obsession. While Bruce will obsessively fight crime and push others away, Dick will do the opposite and instead look for others to protect at the risk to himself. Here, Midnighter goes on and on about how he could fight Dick and take the baby; or how he will outlast him because of his own bio-implants. Through shear force of will, Dick carries on protecting the baby and traveling through the desert long after his friends have collapsed. Instead of simply leaving them behind, he insures (as much as he is able) that he leaves them a small favor to protect them until he returns. It’s not an action-packed issue, but far from boring. It would have been nice to see/hear more of Helena, but I’m sure we will get that next month.
Rating: Poor, Fair, Good, Great, Excellent.