Thursday, January 14, 2016

Grayson, Volume 1: agents of Spyral

written by Tim Seeley, Tom King; art by Mikel Janín, Stephen Mooney, Guillermo Ortego, Juan Castro

I have great affection for graphic novels, but I also have a dirty little secret: I don't actually read many graphic novels. I also love movie adaptations of comic books, but I very rarely read the super-hero graphic novels or comic books. Further confession: I didn't know Professor Xavier had a sister until I'd finished reading an entire book featuring her and asked my friend "But who's this weird bald guy?" (Mitigating factor: the book was third in a series, and I hadn't read the first two.)

On the other hand, I am signed up to get e-mails from DC and Marvel, as well as a big comics and manga distributor, about new releases and such. One of those e-mails is how I came across this new series (volume two coming soon!) and decided to give it a go, though I'm not entirely sure why. I have great nostalgia for the 1960s Batman television show, and I've seen all the recent Batman movies and two or three of the older ones, but I wouldn't say I'm a big Batman fan, and even less of a Robin fan — Chris O'Donnell's 1997 costume nipples and codpiece notwithstanding. Perhaps I was attracted to the lurid pink cover and a character named Dick?

Whatever the reason, I wound up really liking this book. In this universe, everyone thinks Dick Grayson is dead. Some group of villains who wanted to unmask all the heroes took him on television and outed him as Nightwing (or outed Nightwing as Dick?) and killed him. Being dead is a great cover for becoming a super-secret double-agent, which makes for a promising series storyline. I anxiously await volume 2, and I almost regret that I read volume 1 when it was brand new, because my only complaint is that it's short and I want more.

A final admission: sure, this Dick Grayson is pretty attractive, and that certainly is part of his appeal for me. I also appreciate seeing a male character get a bit of the lady–super-hero treatment with sexual objectification and beefcake shots (and in a book written and drawn by a bunch of men, to boot).

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