Tag Archives: agent 37

Review: Grayson #12

STK682753“Back to the Nest”

First off I will say that I have been saying the praises of this series for quite a while now, and I must say now I want to start singing them. Every time I think the bar has been raised, the creative team seems to trapeze with ease right over it.

For the past 11 issues Dick Grayson has been taken out of Gotham and thrust into the world of SPYRAL and international intrigue. It has been a wild ride thus far and even with Dick being in a new element it’s been him at his most “Grayson” in a long time. Well this issue might just be him at his most “Graysonest” (Not a word I know, but it darn should be) ever. Whether it’s as Dick Grayson, Nightwing, or Agent 37, this team just gets it. So when I read that this would be the issue that he makes his grand return to Gotham, I got so excited. I had my reservations but my faith in this series far outweighed my worries. I was right. This was brilliant.

Those who are regular readers are usually treated to high-octane action, secret agent double crosses, dangerous romantic exploits and quips and jokes by the boatload. Well this month we take a slight hiatus from that format. This is a simple story at its core. Just a story about a man who has been estranged from his family for a long time, and he finds his way home.

First things first, the former first Robin needs to see: The Bat. To his chagrin, Bruce Wayne is and no longer remembers being Batman. Ever.

GRAY_12_2Alfred, has made it clear to Dick, that during Bruce’s final battle with the Joker, (Back in Batman #35-40 by Bat Lords Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo) Batman finally died but Bruce Wayne survived. Dick needing to see this for himself, decides to dress in disguise to go see a Bruce Wayne who doesn’t remember him anyway.

What makes this scene work so well is that the page is adorned in many thought bubbles. To the not so keen eye, they appear to be random thoughts. To the eyes of an honorary detective however you discover that every single solitary one of them has been seen in print in the pages of a Batman or DC Comic before. I thought this was a fantastic touch, almost a literary semblance of seeing ones life flash before their eyes but with thoughts. They are all excerpts from former conversations between the original Batman and Robin: Bruce Wayne and Dick Grayson. The writers managed to take the very long history between the two and condense it down into just quotes on one page. A great device that brings the reader up to speed without having the overuse of long-winded narration to get the point across. Before Dick leaves he asks Bruce just one last question. “Are you happy?”  Bruce isn’t able to give him a clear-cut answer since he has no memory of his past and isn’t quite sure what to feel. Dick realizes that it may not be the same Bruce Wayne standing in front of him at that moment. One thing is crystal clear though. Batman is not home anymore.

tumblr_nv4panMqjJ1spjdwjo1_1280Next stop up, we find Dick getting punked out on a rooftop between his former “Robin boy wonders in arms” Jason Todd and Tim Drake. Like Bruce, Dick has a storied past with both these individuals. They all at one time were the successor to the mantle of Robin in some form and the teen sidekicks of the Dark Knight. Dick tries to explain his side of the story to the both of them but it falls on deaf ears. (Faking your own death to your best friends, has a way of getting to the toughest of us) He goes on and on trying to explain the reason, that it was the greater good and the greatest burden he had to bear to keep them safe. They simply say to him that he shouldn’t have lied to them because above all else, they aren’t just siblings of the Bat, they are brothers. Then and there, Dick understands they are right. Before he leaves he says a small speech to each and presents them with two Batarangs. He tells them Bruce would want them to have it. Like the previous scene with Bruce, this was done very well. First we had Jason slug Dick right in the face and Tim try to break it up. Simple touches like that gives the effect these characters all have a deep relationship and maintains that they are a family. Simply put, all families fight. Especially brothers.

75afa9c1089cf4e28e4c82a5b7c65396  tumblr_nuzyb3lXO71u0u277o1_1280

A short time later we find ourselves atop a bridge in the midst of a reunion conversation between Dick and Batgirl herself: Barbara Gordon. This was the one conversation Dick dreaded the most. It’s not just a former caped crusader or sibling or friend, this is the love of his life. The love of his life that he has lied and deceived and no excuse on Earth is good enough for her. So he doesn’t try. He just mans up and lets her know how much he’s missed her and he’s sorry. Unfortunately like in real life, sometime saying your sorry isn’t good enough. Nor should it be. I really liked this approach, another tip of my hat to the writers here, showing they understand that Dick Grayson is a humanized superhero. He is not above reproach or tries to be holier than thou. It’s one of the reasons Dick Grayson is at the top of my list of all time favorite fictional, not just comic book characters. He has a purity in his fallible nature that is refreshing. He may make mistakes, but he always tries to make up from them and more importantly learn from them. Barbara doesn’t have to accept his apology but she at least hears him out. She then leaps off the bridge (that’s a better exit that over dramatically slamming a door any day got to give the girl style points there) and in true chivalrous fashion Dick follows suit. (flying off bridges is nothing for a child of the circus and Batman’s side kick, helloooo)

tumblr_nv4qg86gjV1upytp1o1_1280Once Dick catches up to Babs (as he always called her) and says he just wants to give her something. He hands her the trapeze bar from their first date at the circus when Barbara was still rehabilitating after her torture at the hands of the Joker. Being a human being, this strikes a nerve with Barbara and then hears him out. It isn’t the love fest one would expect but it is heartwarming nonetheless. Barbara then figures out that the deliberate speech pattern and words Dick used and pulls a clue from it. (I won’t spoil, but it is a very clever concept that is repeated through the issue) Before she can get confirmation, Dick is long gone.

Finally we make our last stop. Dick arrives to see Damien Wayne, son of Batman and Dick’s former Robin. (Dick as Batman in Grant Morrison’s run on Batman and Robin is one of the all time best stories in my opinion) This scene was my favorite in the book. It was brief but, near perfect. Damien rushes and somersaults his way with joy right over to Dick as soon as he learns he’s alive. No cold shoulder just a warm embrace for his back from the dead brother. A long hug and a couple of wisecracks exchanged between them and that was all that was needed. Such a great touching moment.

Overall: Like I said before the bar keeps being surpassed each and every single month and it is a true joy as a reader to pick up a book that you don’t want to put down. Those who were looking for fast paced espionage might have been a little disappointed this month but not me. I couldn’t have been more pleased. This was just a good story about a uniquely estranged family which was raw and had a lot of heart. I’ve enjoyed this book a little more every single issue and with Dick back amongst the Bat-Family, it’s only going to get better. Ladies and gentleman the band is back together and this might just be their best performance yet. Keep the lights on in the cave and see you all here in 30 days.

Story: Tim Seely and Tom King Art: Mikel Janin 
Story: 9.9 Art: 9.3 Overall: 9.9 Recommendation: Buy

Review: Grayson #11


“The me you think you know”

This month we open right up with action, action, action! Agent 1 is down from his heinous attack by the Agent Killer (that’s my name for this character) Agent 1 looks up just in time to see his assassin and it appears to be… Dick Grayson?? Wait no, AK just got attacked by Dick Grayson! (So.. will the Real Dick Grayson please stand up?)

Just then Agent 37 (our Dick) says what most of the readers must have been thinking. He asks if the killer is really Clayface (from his old cape and cowl Gotham days), and tells him it’s been boring and done so many times before. (Hush, the new 52, etc.) He banters on with his doppelganger and begins to slowly realize this can’t be Clayface, and he’s intrigued. His curiosity starts to turn to worry though when the villain starts talking more. Little by little divulging things only a member of the Bat Family or someone close to them would know, which is bad news. Agent 37 is becoming more unnerved by the moment and wants to shut it down, but now he is on the end of someone maliciously taunting him. The mystery foe gets deep in his head with all the mentions of Dick’s past tragedies and failures. The verbal onslaught makes Grayson sloppy and he starts to fade quick. It’s then apparent that Dick is no match at this moment and falls to his deadly foe.

4759300-4-gray_11_4-5It is here that the writer reveals to the readers who was masquerading as Dick Grayson, and I must say I am glad they didn’t go the old tired route of Clayface or one of the other Bat Villains. Instead they gave Dick and all of SPYRAL a new antagonist to work with. Which is just fine with me. Having not been too familiar with this character as others, I’m not sure it packed the emotional gut punch it was supposed to for me, but it still worked well.

Overall: I’ve said it before, this title presents Dick Grayson at his very best. The spy shtick suits him nicely and his humor is a breath of fresh air. The mystery keeps compounding which I am enjoying and can’t wait until Dick finally gets the chance to reunite with some more familiar characters very soon. I in no way want this title to come to an end and just force Dick back to his Nightwing role. This is like a hit tv show that just keeps getting better and is about to hit it’s stride. So please tuck the capes in the suitcase for a little while longer please DC Comics and throw him in an Astin Martin and have him cruising the mountainside and crank it full throttle! (After all James Bond should not have to sully himself leaping across rooftops at night) One thing this issue taught me is Dick, like the folly of most great dashing spies needs to keep it in his pants more. After all, Hell hath no fury like a… whoops, may have said too much. I’m stowing all communicators and SPYRAL IDs until next month. See you then. Agent H out…

Story: Tom King and Tim Seeley Art: Mikel Janin
Story: 9 Art: 9 Overall: 9 Recommendation: Definite Buy

Review: Grayson #10

GRAY_Cv10_ds_55ad2c6ecbadc8_02661129“Bird without a net”

We open up where last issue left off, at the museum during the aftermath of the daring heist on the Duchess.  Our hero Dick Grayson Super Secret Agent Spy (or Agent 37 to you cool kids) is currently making his exit stage left with a smile and witty quips in tow.

While making his escape he is talking to his Director (the lovely former Huntress: Helena Bertanelli) as she informs him that someone is killing fellow agents and making it look like he’s the one doing it. Naturally Dick knows this isn’t true so he sets off to clear his good name.

Meanwhile back at the scene of the crime, Agent 1 is clearing the cobwebs having just been knocked for a loop by his fellow cohort and is not happy. Before he can collect his thoughts he has a brawl with museum security (seriously?) and dispatches them very swiftly. He thinks to himself that Dick has had it easy under the tutillage of “some billionaire”. (We all know who that is, and it ain’t Donald Trump) Short story even shorter, he vows vengeance. He contacts Director Bertanelli and asks for permission to eliminate Dick, with extreme prejudice. She does not comply with his wish, and he accuses her being too “involved” with this agent. (Quick way to get your butt stuck on latrine duty, fella.) She tells Agent 1 that she will be handling Dick personally.

Grayson10_2(You’ve got to love that splash page, this team really gets Dick Grayson!)

We then switch gears to a remote bistro, where Dick is enjoying a nice latte and he receives the company of the most unexpected guest: The man who “murdered” him (back in Forever Evil #6) Lex Luthor.

Lex rocks Mr. Grayson’s world by telling him that not only did he know he was still alive, but it’s his company’s technology that SPYRAL has been using on all his missions. He then tells Dick to hand over the Kryptonite that was procured from the neck of the Duchess. Dick laughs and refuses, saying he will not hand over such a dangerous substance to a Super Villain. Lex enlightens him that the world at large no longer considers him as such. He is now a card-carrying member of the Justice League of America! He also informs Dick that he knows Bruce’s secret and that Batman is gone.

Dick still refuses and after a few “Mr. Clean” jokes tries to leave when Luthor drops another bombshell. The hypnosis training that Dick received becoming Agent 37, is his to control. He makes a rather crude demonstration by making Dick attempt to grab the derriere of the barista walking by. Knowing that sexual lawsuits are bad mojo for Super Secret Agents he does the only sensible thing, and splashes hot coffee in Luthor’s face and jumps off the cliff!

lexLex then states he killed him once, he can do it again. Dick hops in his ultra cool spy plane and has a quick duel with Lex’s attack drones and escapes. He realizes at this point that even though he hates it, there is some truth to what Lex said. At this point he attempts to reach out to Bruce one more time and fails. He sets course for Rome for answers.

Overall: The remainder of the issue is a conversation between Helena and Agent 1 and we leave off again on a cliffhanger that makes you want to come back next month. I am really digging this series and it feels like I’m watching a TV show in its sophomore season. I love the art, the story is strong and having the long-awaited confrontation between Dick and Lex was fantastic. As I read that scene I envisioned Michael Rosenbaum’s performance as Lex from Smallville TV show. (The best live action version of the character, until you prove me wrong Jesse) This issue was another great “episode” for me, but it went by far too quickly. I can’t wait to see where it all goes.

So while I prefer my beverages neither shaken nor stirred, I prefer my spy stories Grayson style straight up with a twist. Till next month folks, stay safe and don’t blow your cover.

Agent H… out.

Story: Tom King and Tim Seeley Art: Mikel Janin
Story: 9 Art: 9 Overall: 9 Recommendation: Buy

Wizkids Announces Dick Grayson, Marvel Mystical, and Arrowette to their OP Kits

dick_grayson_opmarvel_mystical_opWizkids has announced three new organized play kits of their Heroclix game. Two of the kits are based on the DC Comics license, while one is from Marvel. Wizkids’ organized play is a way to get players into stores to participate in regular weekly gaming, with the figures being handed out as prizes to participants and limited edition figures not to be found anywhere else. Usually the first place player gets a figure and another is handed out for sportsmanship.

In June, Heroclix celebrates the crime-fighting career of the original Boy Wonder, Dick Grayson!

The kit is to be used in organized play and not sold by stores, and features three version of Dick Grayson. Two of the figures are redials of Robin and Nightwing. But, the set features a brand new sculpt of Dick’s secret agent moniker, Agent 37!

That’s a whole lot of Dick!

July sees the organized play kit shift to Marvel! There’s an evil that exists in the shadows and mystical planes…. and only a few are able to protect us.

arrowette_op_kitAs is pretty standard, this organized play kit features two redials of previously released figures. In this case it’s Dr. Strange and Blade. The release also features a brand new sculpt and dial for Dr. Strange’s most notable adversary – Dormammu!

In August, the organized play shifts focus back to DC Comics and features the mother-daughter sharp-shooting crime-fighting team of Arrowette and Miss Arrowette… plus a special appearance by none other than the Caped Crusader himself – Batman!

The set features two all new dials, and one brand new figure. The Arrowette and Batman will feature the redials, while Miss Arrowette features a brand-new sculpt and dial!

Heroclix has just seen it’s latest set release based on DC Comics’ Trinity War. So far, it’s all Marvel in announced sets, well into July. The next release will be an Avengers quick-play set in time for Free Comic Book Day, followed by Heroclix: Avengers – Age of Ultron in April. May sees numerous releases involving the Avengers including boosters, a new Fast Forces set, and a set focused on Ant-Man. May sees an organized play release focused on Spider-Man and his Symbiotes and the start of organized play based on Avengers: Age of Ultron. July sees the release of Heroclix: Nick Fury – Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D.

In pure speculation, I’d expect the next announced DC set to likely be based on the Forever Evil storyline, or possibly their Multiverse.