The Sensational Character Find of 1940 is now a two-fisted super-spy in the employ of Spyral.  Teamed up with Helena Bertinelli, Agent Grayson must infiltrate rival agency Checkmate to stop the superhuman arms race.  Your Major Spoilers review of Grayson #4 awaits!

Grayson4CoverGRAYSON #4
Writer:Tim Seeley
Artist: Mikel Janin
Colorist: Jeromy Cox
Letterer: Carlos M. Mangual
Editor: Mark Doyle
Publisher: DC Comics
Cover Price: $3.99

Previously in Grayson:  After the invasion of the Crime Syndicate during the ‘Forever Evil’ crossover event, Dick Grayson’s identity was revealed to the world, and he was killed by Lex Luthor in order to save the world.  Now presumed dead, Dick has given up both his Nightwing and Robin identities and gone underground with Spyral, a clandestine organization which may or may not have entirely benevolent intentions.  A race to recover stolen superhuman body parts between Spyral and Checkmate has officially become a sprint, and now Dick has to infiltrate Checkmate itself, all the while keeping his communications with Batman secret…


Of course, the fascinating part of this issue is that the mission goes off without a hitch, as Grayson and Bertinelli escape Checkmate’s headquarters with the maguffin by page three, leading us back to St. Hadrian’s School For Girls, where they are quartered.  Dick has a quick radio check-in with Batman, we get a one-page vignette of Apollo and The Midnighter, before settling into our slightly pervalicious main story.  Several of the girls of St. Hadrian’s have hidden cameras around the school, and caught pictures of Dick skulking about the grounds.  The girls sneak out after curfew (wearing the costume of the original Batwoman, which I found to be quite distracting), only to find that the former Nightwing is faster and more cunning, leading them on a merry chase about the grounds.  Meanwhile, Matron Bertinelli tracks the mysterious transmissions from somewhere on the grounds back to Grayson’s room…  There’s a not-subtle undertone of lust in the college girls’ pursuits of Agent Grayson, and at the end, when Bertinelli finally comes clean, she entreats him to chase *her* around the grounds instead, in a clear sexual metaphor.  That said, I enjoyed it, and found some parts of the character work to be well-handled throughout the issue, with the exception of a couple of borderline offensive “accent-as-entire-character” moments for the girls of St. Hadrian’s and the inexplicable Mr. Minos.


I had no interest in this series when it debuted, based entirely on the crude metaphors used in the advertising (“You don’t know Dick”, indeed), so I happy to see that the issue is much less crude than that rock-stupid setup line would infer.  That said, the pacing of this issue feels somehow off, skimming past the actual mission content to give us a lot of drooling over our hero’s abs.  I do like the art throughout the issue, especially the sequences with Grayson in action, and the ending, with its reveal that Bertinelli may not be as hard-bitten a case as she seemed was nice, but I just wasn’t drawn into the issue.  This issue felt aimless and its hero feckless, with little explanation of his actions, and weird vignettes thrown into the story here and there without context.  I’m still not sure what exactly this series is meant to do in the greater context of the DC Universe, although it is nice to have a male character get treated as eye candy for a change…


All in all, if you’re not a regular Grayson reader, this probably isn’t going to be an issue that appeals to you as a first entry into his world.  With it’s almost silly tone and lack of plot, it’s got a lovely father/son conversation for Dick and Bruce Wayne, but not a whole lot else to play with.  Moreover, if Mr. Minos is so smart, why doesn’t he just have a mic on his agents at all times?  That aside, though, Grayson #4 is a cute issue, with attractive art in spite of it’s slightly sophomoric sex references, and no real reason why The Midnighter is featured, earning 2.5 out of 5 stars overall.  As much as seeing Robin as James Bond could be interesting, there are some puzzling moments in the issue that leave me confused and somewhat cool on the premise…


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Once upon a time, there was a young nerd from the Midwest, who loved Matter-Eater Lad and the McKenzie Brothers... If pop culture were a maze, Matthew would be the Minotaur at its center. Were it a mall, he'd be the Food Court. Were it a parking lot, he’d be the distant Cart Corral where the weird kids gather to smoke, but that’s not important right now... Matthew enjoys body surfing (so long as the bodies are fresh), writing in the third person, and dark-eyed women. Amongst his weaponry are such diverse elements as: Fear! Surprise! Ruthless efficiency! An almost fanatical devotion to pop culture! And a nice red uniform.

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