“Grayson” #8 answers the long gestating question of who has been leaking information from within Spyral, and that information has far reaching consequences for much of the superhero community in the DC Universe. Tom King, working off of a plot with Tim Seeley, balances the reveals against high action sequences that remind everyone that the lead of this book was once Batman for a reason.
The book’s pace rocks back and forth between tense, tight paneled pages that unravel the attack on Helena and full page blasts of open action when Dick takes matters into his own hands. Mikel Janin uses tight shots during the meeting scenes, focusing on important objects and movements that drive home the drama of the moment. Janin contrasts the spirals in the betrayer’s face with chaotic chevron patterns that slowly creep towards Helena as the danger expands into her sphere. Her involvement is not all damsel in distress, though, as King gives her the most hardcore moment of the issue when she pulls an arrow out of her own chest. It’s a testament to who she is: headstrong and independent, even with willing help surrounding her.
Once Dick takes action, Janin opens up the page layouts and panel designs, cracking and bending them in various directions like a jazz quartet tearing up the stage. His designs are gorgeous and his sense of composition is top notch. As Agents 1 and 8 take on Paragon, the action spills into large double page spreads that convey the speed and strength of the battle. Dick, an acrobat, needs a lot of room to move and Janin understands this. King gives Dick some Bruce Wayne-level awesomeness as he takes on the android with strength comparable to the Justice League, explaining how to take down all of them and then showing off how it’s done. Though he may have a bit of second fiddle reputation in the New 52, the writing team doesn’t forget that this guy once held the mantle of the Bat and that’s a job precious few could ever possibly do well. The script still finds room for well-executed cheeky humor in both the page turns and the interactions between the characters. This is a swashbuckling spy comic and it lives up to that reputation.
As the final issue before the publishing line pauses for several months during “Convergence,” Seeley and King show their hand ever so slightly in the cliffhanger. It’s a great tease and fans of the book will want June — and the next issue — to come very quickly.
“Grayson” #8 is another great issue of a great series. Dick Grayson, one of the oldest characters in the DC Universe, is deserving of a top-tier, high quality title. When it was announced that he would be losing the Nightwing identity, fans were outraged. However, if this run continues apace when it returns, fans may wonder why they ever wanted to see him back in a domino mask at all. DC is slowly starting to find unique identities for each of their comic book properties after a few years of standard storytelling. If anyone has not had a chance to check out this book, it’s a good time to catch up now before the second act kicks into gear.