Wednesday, September 30, 2015

SPOILERS: Grayson Annual #2

Turns out not even Superman knows how to properly explain to Dick how he lost his powers.

The Spoilers:

FLASHBACK, Superman helps Batman and Robin (Dick Robin) take down Blockbuster, oh gee, I wonder if that will come into play in the present? Let's find out!

Present day! Dick is ready to go back to Spyral and takes Gotham for one last ride before he goes by jumping off a rooftop. A powerless Superman, who is in Gotham for... I don't know, reasons? Thinks Dick is one of those jumpers and tries to intervene, only to find out that he's carrying a faceless man who recognizes him.

Dick and Clark catch each other up on their current status quos, with one being a very much alive Super Spy and the other being a not-so super man. Reunion is cut short by the Fist of Cain, who show up whenever Grayson needs someone to punch in the face.

If you've forgotten the Fist of Cain, Murder Cult, murder people for points. Superman is worth double. Spyral agent triple. So there's this whole thing between FoC and the super bros, which leads to a long chase through Gotham. Turns out the FoC has a convenient and thematic secret weapon in their newest recruit: Blockbuster.

With Superman having no powers and Dick never having them in the first place, the two take temporary refuge in an old Batman safe house, where they try and think up a way to rebuild the hypo-de-somethinganotherer that they used to take down Blockbuster the first time. Clark's only idea of who to call for help is Lex Luthor. Dick objects, they talk it out all meaningfully-like, and Lex abides, because he thinks Clark Kent is some imposter Superman or something and I don't know, I don't pay attention to those books.

ANYWAYS. They win, talk some more, the end!


The Opinion:

So this was one of those issues where it's not super heavy on plot (as in I don't think a whole lot of future plotlines got set up here) but it's super heavy on the talking, comparing and contrasting the two main characters. Dick and Superman always had a unique relationship, less so now that we're in this post-New 52 landscape, but Tim Seeley and Tom King do their best to salvage that relationship between the two characters even bringing up stuff about the old Kryptonian legend of Nightwing and Flamebird. At the end of the day, while Dick and Clark are about as opposite as you can imagine, they share one binding similarity: They're both dudes who Batman really likes, but at the same time, they kind of annoy the shit out of him. Mind you, that point is made a bit more eloquently within the text, but when you think about it, how I put it is basically true and pretty brilliant. That's the beauty of this issue, how Dick and Superman are both put on the same level and you really get to see their similarities. 

From a technical standpoint, the issue was illustrated by Alvaro Martinez and Raul Fernandez, who contributed to Batman Eternal and I believe maybe some of the Futures End stuff? Memory is hazy. While this issue isn't flashy or distinctively stylistic as series artist Mikel Janin's work, it really got the job done and was consistent throughout, especially given Jeromy Cox's colors maintained a sense of visual continuity.

All in all, while I'm not digging into this annual for clues about the future of Dick and Spyral, it was a fun read that sought to re-establish some elements that were lost in the reboot, and I feel lit did a pretty good job of it.


  1. I have such mixed feelings about Annuals. On the one hand, I like that they can serve as longer one-off stories and give writers and artists room to stretch their legs. On the other hand, they can be downright useless from a serving character or story arc standpoint. However, it's always seemed a little silly to shoehorn an Annual into a larger story arc as well -- it typically has the feel of a one-shot tie in (e.g., Batman Annual #3 that was a non-essential Endgame Joker story).

    I think the nail in the coffin for me and Annuals is that they are typically a dollar or two more expensive than the ongoing monthly. I find it hard to shell out $5 for what may amount to a mediocre, forgettable story.

    All that said, thanks for recapping it here. It sounds like there may be just enough decent meat in it to check it out. I have to give Seeley and King the benefit of the doubt given how great the Grayso ongoing is...

    1. That's exactly how I'd describe it - just enough decent meat. It's probably non-essential, unless the restoration of a lot of Dick's pre-Flashpoint elements is as important to you as it is to me. It's not the most insane, essential, best issue of Grayson ever, but it's the best DC book of the week, and part of the run that's consistently the best DC book every month. And the art, though not penciled by Janin, is quite up to snuff.

  2. Pretty sure Seeley and Kin have stated that there is something in this annual that will come back in B&R: Eternal, so there's that. This issue was awesome though, and that last page was great.