“Grayson Annual” #2 is not a necessary part of the greater story Tim Seeley and Tom King are telling in the main run of the series, but it is an incredibly entertaining tale that establishes an entertaining dynamic between Dick and Clark Kent. Their interactions are enjoyable and, under Seeley and King, both characters shine. The duo faces off against an absurdly powerful street gang — basically the Upstarts but working off the “@midnight” points system — which gives the writers the opportunity to show off both leads and enforce the status quo of each character in the present.
This annual is actually an incredibly strong argument for a relaunch of “Batman/Superman” as “Grayson/Superman,” as each character dives into how they imagine they tortured poor Bruce, the consummate planner. By removing the worrisome Batman from the equation, Seeley and King are free to show the Spyral operative as the tongue-in-cheek, suave superspy he’s become. The heroes are loose and relaxed around one another, which allows for incredibly entertaining moments like Dick’s feelings about being carried by Clark or the casual teaming up they once did to tackle the gang in the past. The newness of the interaction is entertaining, but what makes this so good is Seeley and King’s take on this world. Things in the main series can be light but tend to tense up often as the web of lies around Dick continues to tighten. Seeley and King heighten the jokes and mood to match the level of action they create. Clark and Dick’s dialogue about Clark’s new motorcycles alone is worth the price of admission.
Alvaro Martinez and Raul Fernandez are on art duty for this annual and, though they aren’t Mikel JanÃn, their work with the character is suitable to the overall vision of the book. There are well-composed pages of Dick falling from a building as Clark bounces down to break the fall, as well as a highway chase scene that seems inspired by “Mad Max: Fury Road” and clever illustrations of Clark’s powers, including the trippy visuals that appear in the panels while the character uses his super hearing ability. Little things, like their eye for pulling the reader through the page, do justice to the visual tone set for the series. Jeromy Cox gives each location in the story its own color profile, which enhances the visual value of talking heads scenes.
While some annuals have a few enjoyable scenes, they often lack a real point of view. “Grayson Annual” #2 bucks that and delivers a highly entertaining one-off adventure with the new-look Superman and Grayson, who is quickly becoming the most likeable hero in the DC Universe. It also serves to show that, even through all the changes they’ve experienced, they are both still the good people they’ve always been deep down. Readers thirsty for more Dick should definitely consider picking up this light but entertaining ride.