Grayson – From Front To Back To Front Again

grayson coverShawn Perry writes,

This past week Grayson: Futures End by Tim Seeley and Tom King was published and it exceeded all my expectations. It's a unique one-shot where each page goes further back in time…

Holy Crap.

Grayson: Futures End was awesome! The story begins with a jarring flash-forward to five years from now that I will not spoil and every page that follows is a flashback to an earlier time all the way back to the night the Dick's parents were murdered. Tom King and Tim Seeley have crafted a compelling and thoroughly engaging one-shot and did a fantastic job building on all of the components of the new status quo while being unpredictable. The art is also something to write home about as Stephen Mooney and Jeremy Cox bring this great story to life with magnificent panels on every single page along a slick cover by Andrew Robinson.

I'm telling you this now, if you are even remotely a fan of the Dick Grayson character or the modern canon of DC Comics then you should pick up this book now.

Spoilers Ahoy.

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Grayson: Futures End gives us a great view into the mind of Dick Grayson. From his days as Robin to his current role in Spyral we see the evolution of his character but also the consistency of his good heart and strength. There is a touching moment when he holds a child that has just been through a terrorist attack and sings the reprise of a song he heard at the circus the night his parents were killed. There are also a number of exciting sequences where Grayson leads his partner Helena out of danger that call back to his upbringing as Robin. Speaking of his Robin days, with just a few pages this book provides what I personally think are the best moments of the original dynamic duo during their glory days that I have yet seen in the New 52.

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While the conversations between Dick and Bruce during the first two issues of this series have been strong I have often felt like they were an unnecessary crutch keeping this story from really being Dick's book. In this issue however Seeley and King utilize Dick's relationship with Bruce during his formative years as the perfect juxtaposition to his evolving relationship with new partner Helena Bertinelli. As a means of establishing the, for lack of better words, heterosexual through-line of this comparison there is also a short conversation between Dick and Barbara where she tells him that what he needs is a girl more like Bruce than a girl like her. Yeah, that last part kind of sounded like bull to me too but I think its ultimately supposed to build desire to see Dick end up with Babs which this book has hinted at a few times already. But with that being said, the biggest thing to talk about in this book is the well-executed development of Dick's relationship with Helena who gets fleshed out in this issue.

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While I was not referring to the art with the preceding statement, it has to be said that Mooney brings her to life memorably and beautifully. Actually, I'm not going to sugarcoat it – this is one sexy book. In the first two issues we saw the budding romance hinted at a couple times but here we get to see the relationship between Dick and Helena run its full-course and I do mean to death do us part. As I said last month, Dick's no-nonsense partner is an extremely competent woman and when the two are together I am irresistibly reminded of his time in the Dynamic Duo. Over the years Dick has always been portrayed as openly kind while strategically masking his strength whereas Helena, similar to Damian and Bruce, maintains a tougher exterior but also proves to have a heart of gold that wins Dick over in the end.

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Helena has some of the best lines of dialogue an issue filled with them but the two that ultimately stuck in my mind was when she said "if we get out of this I am going to kill you" and the last thing she says to Dick which is perfectly tragic because, for reasons you will only understand if you read, her hands are tied because of Dick's actions.

This issue is all about ropes… including the ones that Tony Zucco cut that ended Dick's childhood to the ones that he uses to play the hero to those that he willingly ties himself to throughout his life. These ropes represent the dual-nature of our relationships and choices in life – how we tie ourselves to a path or a person when ultimately we know it could lead us to harm. Controlling that fear and having the courage to soar is what being a hero is all about and this issue does a great job reestablishing how Grayson is and always was willing to take that leap even when it meant getting a little blood on his hands.

Last month I said my flowers were starting to wilt on this series and bear witness as I am currently eating my words. After reading this story the proverbial roses of my experience are in bloom once again and I think that this issue – even despite the entirely hypothetical nature of its timeline which, much like the rest of Futures End, I personally do not believe will ever come to pass – will be looked at as a landmark issue for the character for a long time to come.

My advice: save a little money on The Death of Wolverine and grab this rope.

Shawn Perry is a comic book and film enthusiast striving to be here now.  He currently rests his head in East Hartford, Connecticut. Tweet him @thesperry and email him about life and your stories at Shawn.Perry88@gmail.com.

About Rich Johnston

Founder of Bleeding Cool. The longest-serving digital news reporter in the world, since 1992. Author of The Flying Friar, Holed Up, The Avengefuls, Doctor Who: Room With A Deja Vu, The Many Murders Of Miss Cranbourne, Chase Variant. Lives in South-West London, works from Blacks on Dean Street, shops at Piranha Comics. Father of two. Political cartoonist.

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