There weren't many books on my pull list last week and so I purchased Grayson Annual #2. I have heard decent things about the Grayson book. I enjoyed seeing Dick in the recent Batgirl Annual. And this book guest starred Superman. So ... why not?
Writers Tim Seeley and Tom King look at the current situation of these heroes and contrast them to the earlier lives and heroic identities. The current DC Universe is a bit off from the one I grew up with so this issue riffs on that change. They might be different in powers and surroundings. But have they changed internally.
The art is standard fare by Alvaro Martinez. There is nothing flashy here. But I was not distracted or unhappy with the art either.
This will be a quick review just looking at the moments that resonated.
We start early on with a flashback of Batman, Robin, and Superman teaming up to defeat Blockbuster. It is a nice look at their personalities. Superman easily defeats Blockbuster but remains a down-to-Earth hero, acknowledging that he was part of the team and fist-bumping the young Robin.
And Dick is impressed. Dick calls Superman 'cool' and 'just a guy' as a compliment. Superman is approachable and friendly.
Of course, Batman isn't buying it. Superman is an 'unknown'. This is a universe where it is clear, Batman can't be friends with Superman.
Dick is in Gotham on a mission for Spyral. Clark is in Gotham as well, probably around the time he was there in Batman/Superman. The two run into each other and catch up.
You want to see how crazy the DC universe is? Read the recaps of recent times the two give. It sounds a bit ridiculous when you read it in such an encapsulated form.
Robin and Superman?
Agent of Spyral and Clark 'Superman' Kent.
The two don't have much time to reminisce. The Fist of Cain is in the city and they are looking to cash in by killing either of the heroes. And to make matters worse, the agents of Cain are hopped up on the blood of Blockbuster.
There are some cute moments as Clark and Dick go on the run and fight when they can.
For one, Superman talks about how he continues to wreck his motorcycles. But I love that he names them. This one is called Lana. That does sound like something Clark would do.
But it is clear that Dick and this depowered Clark are no match for this army. They have to hide out for a bit.
In another nice moment, Dick talks about picking the name Nightwing. If the legend of Nightwing is powerful enough to inspire someone as incredible as Superman than it is worth adopting.
I like this callback to some old school Kryptonian culture. There is some history in this universe.
And then another good moment. Superman looks at this Grayson who has become a bit jaded and calls him on it. Superman cannot believe that this world would somehow dim Dick's bright outlook.
Dick recalls that moment when Batman said that Superman isn't just a guy. And I think the point here is that Batman is someone who has let the world get to him. And it reminds Dick of what he used to be, way back, when he wore a bright suit and smiled.
Again, an inspirational Superman.
No surprise, the two defeat the Fist of Cain and Blockbuster ... albeit with a hand from Luthor. In fact, Luthor is sort of a deus ex machina, teleporting in the weapons needed to defeat the crew.
In the end, the two do get a quiet moment. Superman talks about how everyone has changed, can change. Because they aren't legends yet. They are just guys.
Is this Seeley defending the recent dramatic changes in these characters? Is it reminding readers that they can change? Is it just a callback to that early moment where Superman showed that even with immense powers he was relatable? Now, without powers, he is the same man?
It is a good issue with a good Superman. And I always liked these two characters interacting. So I would keep my eye out for this issue, especially if you are sick of the 'eye for an eye' Clark in Superman. While the price point might be a sticking point, keep it in the back of your mind. Maybe when it eventually hits the dollar bin or during a store sale?