Grayson Annual #3
By Jackson Lanzing, Collin Kelly, Roge Antonio, Natasha Alterici, Christian Duce, Flaviano Armentaro, Javier Fernandez, Jeromy Cox, Nat Lopes and Chris Sotomayor
Grayson’s third and final annual is a personal account anthology style piece that makes use of the book’s past traverses throughout the DCU by telling the stories of some unseen adventures. What follows is an attempt to discern who the mystery spy with no face is. Dick Grayson is cleaning house by wiping the minds of those that know he wasn’t killed by the crime syndicate and so he has gathered John Constantine, Simon Baz, Azrael and Harley Quinn. Unlikely as it may seem, all of these characters have at least one thing in common: they have all encountered the elusive and attractive Agent 37.
Lanzing and Kelly put together some pretty fun vignettes for each of the characters to tell. All of the stories have a different artist giving them all a separate visual flavor, Lansing and Kelly really bring the swiss army knife of books this month. This was a fun read that from the first page, jettisoning timeline and continuity with a nice note from the editor. Antonio draws the interstitial art and they look different enough to keep them discernible from the other stories. Of all the things that are enjoyable about the issue at time the dialogue does get a little on the nose, it has that every comic is someone’s first feeling to it in places and while it can sound somewhat out of place, it’s still a good way to catch any new reader up.
The art through and through is solid even with the frequent style changes. What separates this issue from the rest of the series is its anthology style storytelling and quazi ‘who done it?’ vibe throughout. Each art style reflects the personality of the person and in some cases seems to intentionally resemble the mainline series’ art style for the character. Something that stand out is everyone’s take on the hypnos, at times it has color and is just a white space and other is skin tone and just a spiral. An aspect that prevailed throughout not only Grayson as a series but here in this issue as well is Dick Grayson being portrayed as a very attractive man. Both Harley Quinn and John Constantine make mention of his physicality. Jon goes so far as to say that he would have given Grayson a bite. Pencils and inks have no problem making themselves distinct from one another but color can can boost the mood with just a few shades and having different colorists is one more way that helps make their stories being told feel like individual stories.
This third annual is a wonderfully fun P.S. for the series that wasn’t wasted and took some time to add a couple of delightful last notes to Grayson’s spying days. The issue ends with Dick and his backup Helena leaping off of a roof to go find their next adventure. Wherever that next adventure may be, if Dick Grayson is involved it’s going to be a good time. Regardless of whether they fit into the continuity or no,t stories like this are a welcome shakeup from time to time.