With DC’s Rebirth looming on the horizon, the thus far excellent Grayson title unfortunately nears its end. While this is a sad thought, it’s a bit sadder that the power writing team of Tom King and Tim Seeley has left the book early, leaving the remainder of the story for a completely different group to wrap up. That’s a worrying sign… or is it?
Let’s ask the usual question: Is it good?
Grayson #18 (DC Comics)
Let’s refer to the solicitation here:
Civil war has broken out at Spyral with Dick Grayson stuck in the middle. When true allegiances are revealed, which agents will be left standing?”
Let’s keep this nice and short since there are a lot of things happening and many spoilers within the comic I’d rather not spoil. Grayson #18 sadly disappoints. Story-wise, I like how story elements have come together with this huge battle in Spyral’s base and with characters trying to assassinate Helena. The ending caught me off guard and there are some really good moments, like Midnighter’s return. The problem lies in the fact that this story feels very rushed and trying desperately to wrap everything up within this and the next two issues.
There are a bunch of character arcs ending and events happening within the 20 or so pages, making the story feel very cramped. On top of that, there are also some surprises, like the return of an old foe out of the blue, and radical shifts in loyalty that make things even more complicated. These moments, while potentially interesting, feel stuffed into the cramped tale without much development. For instance, there’s a bomb that goes off in the middle of the issue that amounts to absolutely nothing — so what was the point behind the pretty explosion? Maybe this story and its developments could work if they were given more time, which this comic sadly does not have much of.
The creative team of Collin Kelly and Jackson Lanzing is burdened with a tough act in following King and Seeley, and certainly coming into a comic during the middle of an ending story arc and having to pick up the pieces didn’t help matters. The characters don’t have the same wit to them, there’s no sense of cleverness in the actions that they take, the exposition and dialogue is far more awkward sounding in its delivery (the scene with the girls of the school stood out in particular), and the pacing is rushed as heck.
Then there’s the new art team of Roge Antonio and Geraldo Borges: on the plus side, they are a much better fit for Grayson than Carmine Di Giandomenico, who drew the last issue; their work is much cleaner, easier to follow, the coloring by Alison Borges and Jeremy Cox is easier on the eyes, and the issue doesn’t come off as a chaotic mess with too much lines and odd details. That being said, their work is not without its faults either: a lot of the female characters have the same faces, the majority of the action is static-looking, characters’ musculatures looks irregular, hair on people looks inconsistent on the same pages, and more.
Is It Good?
Grayson #18 is a fall from grace. A combination of the established creative team leaving and being replaced with a new team in the middle of the final arc; the book being cancelled in the next few months, which forces the story to wrap up much more quickly; artwork not as good as the rest of the series’ run; and the feeling that the comic would be much better if there was just more time given… just hurts the book so much that even someone who was as huge fan of the title as myself can’t ignore the faults. If you are this far in, you might as well see it all the way through at this point but temper your expectations.