Tag Archives: dick grayson

Review: Batgirl Annual #3

batgirlannual003When reading the modern medium of comics, it is easy to forget that comic stories did not always have the same format.  As opposed to the modern day where one-shots are an absolute rarity, they used to exist more or less in this format across the entire medium.  Long story arcs were rare, and heroes usually met a villain and dealt with them in a short amount of time.  These stories which can be more easily located in the silver age, had a fairly common format of hero encounters villain, is beaten at first but then quickly recovers and wins.  This format is interesting because it is still occasionally used, but also because it is used in this most recent Batgirl Annual, and used quite cleverly.

Facing off against a mysterious villain and organization tied to the name Gladius, Barbara is forced to make some unlikely alliances which take her around the bat-family.  The cover alludes to the one that fans would be the most excited about, with an encounter with Dick Grayson, but there are also some clever other interactions as Barbara follows the trail of Gladius.  She encounters two other former Batgirls from previous years (Stephanie Brown and Helena Bertinelli) as well as Batwoman, a decent collection of Bat-ladies that is only missing Cassandra Cain.  The story diverges in an unexpected direction as well, crossing over what might be DC’s two best titles at the moment, as Batgirl and the residents of Gotham Academy get to meet for the first time.

What is most interesting about this story, is that while it is told in a series of separate vignettes, each with their own style, it also still manages to be a fluid story that makes sense, without the cameos seeming too forced.  Barbara is still the star but she cedes that status easily to those that she teams up with, making this issue more than the sum of its parts.  While the main series occasionally gets tied down in its own plots, this annual seems to represent a desire by the main creative team to cut loose a bit and have some fun with the character, and they succeeded.

Story: Cameron Stewart and Brenden Fletcher Art: Bengal, David LaFuente, Ming Doyle, Mingjue Helen Chen, Gabe Eltaeb, Ivan Plascensia
Story: 9.4 Art: 9.4 Overall: 9.4 Recommendation: Buy

Review: Grayson #9

GRAY-Cv9-ds-236ca“Do you know Dick?”

Grayson #9 was my first foray into the world of Dick Grayson: Secret Agent Super Spy (or Agent 37 as he’s referred to inside these pages, but mine sounds cooler) and as a very long time fan, I must say I absolutely loved it! I have followed Dick Grayson through all his character incarnations. He started as the original (and some would argue best) Robin. He then moved on to becoming Nightwing, a solo hero in his own right. Then when tragedy struck he’s taken on the mantle of Batman, on a few occasions. All those however awesome they may be at the time, always felt like he was in Batman’s very large shadow. Well not this! This is Dick Grayson at his most Dick Grayson. It was just flat-out cool.

We start the issue out with Dick in seclusion at a Finishing School for Girls, using a communicator to secretly (a secret spy using a secret communicator? how appropriate) contact someone. He is attempting to reach out to “Mr. Malone” and he refers to himself as “Bird Watcher”. I thought this was extremely cool. Long time Bat-Fans will know that “Mr. Malone” is actually Bruce Wayne’s undercover alias and “Bird Watcher” is just a play on words of Dick’s previous life as Robin. Just a very cool “easter egg” for anyone who is a Batman fan. I was worried there might be too many references to Batman in here, but this was a nice touch. He attempts a few more times and to no avail. Readers can tell at this point, Dick is in despair as seemingly he says to Bruce “Can I come home?”

4644242-gray_9_5From here we switch the action into high-octane, through means of a flashback we find ourselves as spectators in a riveting rooftop train battle. The two men go back and forth until there is only one. One of the assailant murders the other with sticks (Escrima sticks to be exact) and this raises the question as to whom the ID of the murderer is. The man who was killed turns out to be an Agent of the secret organization SPYRAL. This action brings us the arrival of a very prominent female: Helena Bertenelli (aka the Huntress for fans of Arrow TV show)

Her presence means this is a top-level threat and she is aboard to investigate. This turns out to not have been an isolated incident as there are more dead spies. This appears to be an inside job. There are many clues suggesting that these actions are being done by Dick Grayson, also a valued SPYRAL agent. Helena having an on again off again relationship with Dick (heh no pun intended) will have none of these accusations and sets out to clear his good name.

Next the action switches to the Pradd museum in Spain and through courtesy of an air duct, Dick and his cohort Agent 1 arrive secretly on the scene. Agent 1 tells Dick to lose his clothes and slip into more appropriate attire for the mission at hand.

untitledThis scene was greatly entertaining as it captured Dick’s personality perfectly. Even though he grew up as a child of privilege through Batman, he is still as down to Earth as any of us can be. From watching him struggle with the cuff links to having difficulty with the tie was quite hilarious. It’s through little moments like this that the book shines. The rest of the issue results in Dick using some good ole’ Grayson charm and sweeping a debutant off her feet (with ulterior motives of course) to a pretty cool chase scene involving Dick and Agent 1 and even more into The Stick Man Murderer (that’s what I’m calling him here). The issue ends on a cliffhanger that makes me can’t wait to pick up the next issue and even now I’m going back to pick up the first 8, just to catch up on what I might have missed.

Overall: This one had it all. There was a murder mystery, well placed Bat-References, romance, hilarious moments, espionage and intrigue. What more could you ask for? While reading this I felt like I was watching a great TV show that I caught in it’s Second Season opener. The pacing and art, writing and dialogue was just great.  I may have come to the party late, but now I certainly don’t want to leave. Now THIS is how you do ” Punch in the face fun!” I’m going to go out on a limb here and say this could very well be the best incarnation of Dick Grayson yet. Move over James Bond. The name’s Grayson. Dick Grayson.

Story: Tim Seeley and Tom King  Art: Mike Janin
Story: 9.5 Art: 9 Overall: 9.5 Recommendation: Definite Buy

Review: Grayson #9

grayson009With Convergence acting as a convenient place to break from all which has come before, this most recent issue of Grayson represents the beginning of a new story arc.  However, the break for Grayson for Convergence might have come at a relatively bad time, as the concept of one of history’s oldest superheroes being repurposed as a superspy might have not been on the most solid ground from the beginning.  The series has nonetheless been fun enough to this point, as the transition of Grayson to superspy after his entire publication as a superhero has been handled pretty effectively, especially as he has been paired with another repurposed superhero, Helena Bertinelli.  The only risk is that being this is all forgotten with this two month break after only being eight issues into its run.

Grayson continues to work under the guidance of Spyral, and especially as they are under the control of a new leader.  A mysterious fate if befalling a number of agents as they are on missions.  They are being carefully assassinated by an unknown assailant, who happens to bear a resemblance to Grayson, and it doesn’t take long for the leaders of Spyral to figure out that when people end up dead that they tend to do so where Grayson has been.  Although this is the setup for the double cross (or triple cross) of the main character, the plot doesn’t really much focus around this as Grayson is sent to the Prado museum in Madrid to retrieve a Kryptonite gem from the necklace of a socialite.  The execution of this plot is pretty fun, as he relies on some unconventional assets in order to accomplish the mission.

In terms of an espionage story, this fits a fairly common formula, but it does so in such a fun way that it can be excused.  There is a bigger story happening in the background, but this issue becomes all about the mission at the art museum, and as that is executed in an engaging and fun way, it elevates the remainder of the story to the same level.  The underlying plot seems to be pretty intense as well, as Grayson is going to presumably become a renegade agent before proving his innocence.  In the meantime this issue acted as a perfect issue to get the momentum rolling once again for this series and incidentally provides an excellent jumping on point for new readers.

Story: Tim Seeley and Tom King  Art: Mike Janin 
Story: 8.6 Art: 8.6 Overall: 8.6 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.



Cong. Grayson’s Email Today Not First Green Lantern Reference

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After we broke the news earlier about former Congressman Alan Grayson using Green Lantern heavily in an email today, friend of the blog Elana reminded me that Grayson had Green Lantern on the mind this weekend as well when he spoke at Netroots Nation 2011.  From Elana’s tweets of the weekend.

By just saying Grayson, she confused the non-politically plugged in and had to tell someone it was Alan not Dick Grayson, the former Nightwing/current Batman.

P.S. Certain sites, feel free to swipe this too and not give us credit… jackasses…

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