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I am a comic book collector and happy to be one. I might say “proud” if I hadn’t, over a year ago, switched to reading digital as opposed to print comics. I feel a bit robbed of the tactile sensations of the hobby – of the turn of the page, the sneaking look to the panel a page over, the bagging and shorting and stacking and filing. Though I read my comics in a different medium than I used to, I still treat each Wednesday (comic book delivery day to specialty shops around the country) as different from the other days of the week. I subscribe and now, rather than go to the comic store to be handed the books pulled for my “Hold Slot,” I click a button on my iPad and watch them download.
Then I read them.
Rare is the week that I don’t read them all between Wednesdays and some weeks I have, well… let’s just say more comic books in my digital downloads than a grown man should. Comic book legend Will Eisner (creator of The Spirit) is one of the most influential men even to put pencil to drawing board in the pursuit of making comics. So influential was he that the industry awards (think the Oscars or the Emmys or the Grammys) are named The Eisner Awards. He called comic books “sequential art,” perhaps because he became embarrassed by his profession when he had to admit what he did for a living. This is my weekly reaction to the comics I read.
I read 3 comics last week (and all of them in the Bat-Family): We Are Robin #4, Batgirl #44 and Grayson #12.
The best comic I read last week was Grayson #12.
This selection marks two months in a row for Grayson. Without question, this was the best book I read last week and it would have been even had I read more titles than 3.
To say that I was greatly anticipating this issue is an understatement. Though I’ve really enjoyed Grayson and the team of Tom King, Tim Seeley, and Mikel Janin have, with consistently entertaining and inventive work, sold me on the Dick Grayson and super-secret-super-spy storyline, this, this is the story I’ve been waiting for. Yes, while Grayson was technically back in Gotham during the Endgame story line, this issue marked him revealing himself to his family. This issue had Dick letting his friends, including a Bruce Wayne who remembers nothing of a life spent as Batman, know he was alive.
It’s a big moment and it is perfectly handled.
A word has to go out to editor Rebecca Taylor for this book because, at it’s heart is a device that really packs an emotional punch. As Dick encounters his family members for the first time in the book, each character (Bruce, Barbara Gordon, Jason Todd, Tim Drake and Damien Wayne) are surrounded by dialogue balloons and each of those balloons is from a previously published story featuring Dick Grayson and the character with whom he is connecting. Wow. It’s a powerful device so very well done.
The plot and writing by King and Seeley is so well tuned that it all but sings. I could hear Dick’s voice – the pain in it, the regret – as he met with each of his old friends. And the meetings were just as well written. As far as I am concerned, DC should give King and Seeley free reign with this character… I am dying to see Nightwing back in costume, yes, but I love their take here. They’ve made Dick Grayson incredibly cool and, a bigger trick, totally distinct from Batman. Not many writers can pull this off.
Mikel Janin is the unsung hero of the book and I hope he stays with it a very, very long time. His Dick Grayson has become recognizable as the standard look of the character. His work somehow evokes a bit of Kevin Maguire – a VERY good thing – in its rendering of facial expressions and Janin has a great sense of comic timing in his layouts – something very important to this book.
Grayson is a terrific read, easily the best of the Bat-books outside of Batman itself. Issues like this make me impatient for the next story. I’ve read Grayson #12 three times… I am sure I’ll get into it again before #13 hits the stands… er… my iPad.