It’s a light week at Nerdophiles. Kylee took a look at Cryptocracy #1 from Dark Horse Comics, while Jackson enjoyed Grayson Annual #3.
Check out the full reviews below and tell us what you’re reading in the comments!
Author: Van Jensen
Artist: Pete Woods
Publisher: Dark Horse Comics
Source: Dark Horse DRC
Somewhere around the middle of the first issue of Cryptocracy, I was hit with such a nostalgic feeling that took me until the aliens showed up to place: Men in Black. Between the talking Bugbear companion, the snappy dialogue, and the working class aliens, there was a tone to the series that was reminiscent of the movie. Which worked in the series’ favor, because as much as I was rolling my eyes at the start, I really began to enjoy the cliches from that point on.
Grayson Annual #3
Author: Jackson Lanzing and Collin Kelly
Artists: Roge Antonio, Natasha Alterici, Christian Duce, Flaviano and Javier Fernando
Publisher: DC Comics
I would be the first to admit that Dick Grayson becoming a super spy was not a plot twist that I was looking forward to when Nightwing was unmasked back in Forever Evil. I’m a diehard Nightwing fan and seeing one of my favorite heroes as a gun-toting, Bond-esque secret agent was not a proposition that excited me much.
However, Grayson ultimately proved to be one of my favorite books of the last few years, a complex and nuanced take on super heroics and espionage, secrets and lies, sex and violence and much more. Tom King, Tim Seeley, and Mikel Janin offered a nuanced take on a more than 70 year-old icon, displaying his flexibility as a character while keeping true to just what keeps Dick, well, Dick.
Grayson ultimately ended on a bit of a whimper, with Jackson Lanzing and Collin Kelly taking over for King and Seeley on the last arc, which was designed first to put Grayson back in the classic Nightwing costume, and second to wrap up the ongoing storyline.
With the series vastly done, this week’s Grayson Annual #3 gives readers a last look at Dick’s time as a super spy through the eyes of a cast of characters who encountered Spyral’s greatest agent. The book’s something of an artist showcase, with Roge Antonio drawing a framing story seeing Jim Corrigan try to decipher just who Agent 37 is while each of the assembled heroes’ tales being illustrated by a different artist. Everyone does a pretty great job with their short stories with Natasha Alterici’s sexy vampire thriller and Javier Fernando’s Green Lantern team-up being the visual standouts of the bunch.
The biggest disappointment is what the issue doesn’t do. Without spoiling anything, the framing device is a clear homage to a classic episode of Batman: The Animated Series, right down to the final twist. Grayson was always a book proud to homage and duplicate from a host of genre staples and iconic comics and this is a story that would only benefit from leaning into more of those references.
Still, the greatest strength of Grayson Annual #3 is that it manages to showcase how flexible this portrayal of Dick Grayson is, showcasing the hero’s charms, charisma and character one last time before he returns to his most famous identity. It’s a fitting finale to one of DC’s most daring shakeups to an iconic character and a much stronger finish than Lanzing and Kelly’s first shot at ending the series.