Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Grayson #11 (HERE BE SPOILERS!)

To be totally honest, I'm not really sure what's going on here.

Let's start with the good.  Dick's fight with himself (or, at least, his doppelgänger) is hilarious at the start.  He begins by taking a good look at his ass and, noting that he's never previously seen himself from that angle, comments that he isn't really what "all the fuss is about."  (Amazing.)  He then fights the doppelgänger while delivering a commentary on how he's expecting that he's Clayface but, just once, he'd like it to be Killer Croc behind the mask.  He delivers the seeming coup de grâce -- a headbutt to the nose while leaning toward the doppelgänger to kiss him -- and remarks that it's a metaphor for every time he's had a crush on a girl.

Then, Seeley gets serious.  Recovering from the blow, the doppelgänger comments that it might've gone that way with Barbara, but Koriand'r would argue that she head-butted him first.  King does a great job here of portraying the shock on Dick's face; you can essentially see his blood run cold.  The doppelgänger then cuts to the quick as he attacks again.  He tells Dick that he's always seen the fighting as entertainment and asks what one-liners he used when Damian and Jason died or when Barbara was paralyzed.  He asks what joke comes to mind when he thinks about his loved ones crying at his fake funeral.  He asks whether he used a hilarious story to tell Agent 1 about Agent 8's death.  With each comment, Dick insists that he stops, forcing him to get seriouser and seriouser.  In the end, an enraged Dick charges him, but the doppelgänger then activates his hypnos to stop him.

It's here where it gets weird.  It's clear that the doppelgänger works for Spyral, giving the control that he possess over Dick through the hypnos.  He tells him that "they" learned everything about him and then came after him because he was weak.  He then utters a word that knocks Dick unconscious.  Meanwhile, Agent 1 awakens as the hypnos implants bleed from his eyes; seeing clearly, he discovers that the doppelgänger was Agent 8.  However, he later tells Helena that it was Maxwell Lord, the head of Checkmate, framing Dick.  Disgusted at the spy game, Dick leaves and radios to Batman that he's coming home.  The issue ends with Agent 8 walking down a street with Dr. Netz, telling her that Agent 1 will tell the story about Lord and "they'll" never know all that they did to drive away Agent 37.

I have a lot of questions.  First, I was confused why Dick was surprised that Agent 8 (as we'll now call her) knew who he was.  Doesn't everyone know who he is?  But, then I remembered that we still pretend that the world only knows that he was Nightwing and doesn't know that he was also Robin.  [Eye roll.]  More to the plot at hand, I'm not really sure what Agent 8's goals were here.  Dr. Netz refers to Dick's arrival on the scene as an "interruption" and congratulates Agent 8 for capitalizing on it.  As such, it doesn't seem that getting him to leave Spyral was the point of her impersonating him.  Initially, we found her poised to kill Agent 1.  Again, it seems unlikely then that she always intended to leave Agent 1 alive so that he would provide the cover story about Lord to Helena.  Otherwise, she would've deactivated his hypnos earlier.  If her plan was to kill him, then you have to ask where the killing was going to stop?  Was her plan to kill all of Spyral's agents as Dick?  If so, why did they chose Dick as the doppelgänger?  Even if so, what was the goal of killing all the agents?  Was it just to get Spyral to go to war with Lord and his Checkmate organization?  Instead of leaving Agent 1 alive, was she going to kill him and leave some telltale clue at his body pointing Helena to Lord?  If she was, then why risk keeping Agent 1 alive after the "interruption?"  Netz implies that the game that Agent 8 was playing here is part of Netz's competition with her sister, Agent Zero, but we haven't really seen Kathy in ages so it's hard to tell.  If it is, how did setting Helena after Checkmate help Netz in the game?  Also, at some point, someone has to explain how Agent 8 is still alive.  In other words, as I said, I have a lot of questions.

Finally, I'll say that I had a "digital-comic moment" here, where the hypnotic splash-page didn't work because I couldn't remember how to lock the screen on my iPad.  Given how crucial that scene is to the plot, it was frustrating to say the least.

I was inclined to give this issue two stars, given just the remarkable number of questions that the denouement raises.  But, Agent 8's taunting of Dick is such amazing character work -- using Dick's pathological need to keep the fighting that he does "entertaining" against him -- that I gave it a three.  But, we really, really need some clarity on what we just saw here, and we need it soon.

*** (three of five stars)

No comments:

Post a Comment