Grayson #10

Story by
Art by
Mikel Janín
Colors by
Jeromy Cox
Letters by
Carlos M. Mangual
Cover by
DC Comics

"Grayson" #10 is the sort of book that I'm glad exists in the DC Universe. In a world of super-powered people and items, having a non-powered badass holding his own as a secret agent is not only fun, but it forces its creators to keep from falling back on super-powered deus ex machinas. With "Grayson" #10, Tim Seeley and Tom King hold true to that promise with their story, but it's Mikel Janin's art that sneaks in and steals the show.

When Grayson jumps into the middle of a description of himself to add in a snarky comment, it could have been forgettable in a matter of moments, little more than an aside to interrupt the investigators. That's not the case thanks to Janin. Janin gives Grayson a 1000-watt smile, all while kicking two people in the face and vaulting through the air. Here's the thing, though: it would have been easy to accomplish this if Janin had, perhaps, drawn a panel inset focusing on Grayson's mouth, throwing subtlety to the wind. Instead there's nothing of the sort, and that smile is just a tiny part of a much larger page, but it's almost impossible to keep your eyes from being drawn to it.

What's great is that, if you look at the rest of the page, it's just as dynamic. The panels to the far right of the two-page spread form a gentle arc, curved to form a wall, but also one that tracks the viewer's eye from the top to the bottom of the page. Each panel is a great little snippet of action, more than enough to show how the foes are vanquished but without lingering too long. Jeromy Cox's colors here are beautiful too, tinting each panel in a different hue that is attractive without detracting from what's going on inside the panel.

Every page is carefully set up here; look at page five, as the Duchess grabs a guard's gun. It's three panels in the middle third of the page but, again, Janin makes a minor moment work perfectly. The focus on the middle of those three panels is of her hand holding the gun, with her face off-panel but the back of her head still visible. It's a really savvy move; if it was just her hand, it would have looked odd but -- by keeping her face out of the image -- your eye instinctively goes to her brandishing of the gun and doesn't get lost. Add in that the third of those three panels has her sighting the pistol and it all comes together; she's gone from a character who simply had an item stolen last issue to someone genuinely dangerous.

Don't think that Seeley and King's contributions aren't appreciated, because they are. They keep the story moving at a good clip, they're plunging Grayson deeper into a conspiracy and keeping new director Bertinelli busy with her own little plot. Grayson's tangling with the person claiming to be the drop is fantastic -- an unexpected face from within the DC Universe but for whom the reader's warning claxons would instantly sound -- and Seeley and King make the confrontation one where Grayson can get ahead without making his foe look dumb or ineffectual. The danger is still there; they just have Grayson scrambling to stay half a step ahead. That's exactly how the book should handle its situations.

"Grayson" #10 is a fun issue in a book that's now two-for-two, post-"Convergence." The book has both kicked itself into high gear and quickly become a must-read. Seeley, King, Janin and Cox are delivering the goods big-time here. If you haven't been reading the series, the current storyline only kicked off in "Grayson" #9, so now's the perfect time to start reading. Check it out.

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