I am more than my name.
Dick Grayson faces Midnighter again and shows new tricks even as more is revealed about their antagonist and SPYRAL.
The non-linear yet serialized style by Tim Seeley and Tom King is a little jarring, but makes for nice surprises. Like an island prison populated by Spider Orcas.....what?
Blending something fantastical like that with espionage is something Batman Inc toyed with, and Grayson is realizing that.
I feel like a broken record when I talk about the artwork, as Mikel Janin is awesome! His ability to be detailed even in the small things is so great, and each issue brings another new arrow to his bow.
Dick Grayson aka Agent 37 and Helena Bertenelli aka the Matron investigate the Gageo-oo Island for the Paragon Brain where apparently the resident mercenaries have all been killed.
As they search and find one survivor calling himself ‘Macabre’, Midnighter manages to take Dick away from the Island and onto his ‘Garden’.
Meanwhile, Mr Minos has problems of his own as he is contacted by a higher authority known as the Spyder, a group of three mysterious being, who advise him to drop the Paragon mission. Apparently, this is personal for Minos because of a painful incident in his past.
Midnighter uses his knowledge of Nightwing’s moves to attack Dick, but by moving back to his style during the Robin days, he is able to get the upper hand. This feels like a meta-move towards people who want Nightwing back, as Dick mentions that whatever the monikor (Flying Grayson, Robin, Nightwing), he is the same person underneath the mask.
Being on his playing field though, Midnighter uses the environment to rob Dick of his hypnos implants. Helena concludes her interrogation to find Dick missing, and reports back to Mr Minos about her findings.
Apparently the terrorist group The Fist of Cain plans to use the Brain to trigger an outburst at a Peace Rally before planning to take it on a global stage.
Dick meanwhile is on the backfoot before using the posthypnotic suggestion embedded in the hyphos implants to knock out Midnighter, before the Gardener appears before him.
As she leaves after some mysterious ruminations, we see what and where the Garden is – a floating platform at the edge of Earth’s atmosphere!
There are multiple themes used here. Individuality, Philosophies and Mentalities clash.
While the Spyder explains that it seeks existence through others, Dick is his own man beyond the monikors he employs. Midnighter and Mr Minos are both blinded by self-destructive obsessions, and are put down.
We also learn a little more about the Gardener. She is obviously more than just an old woman, as her musings that Paragon was created to end her and it was made from ‘Earth Bound Gods’. Oh yeah, the Garden is like a freaking Watchtower.
We get some answers, but Seeley and King play unfairly and give us more questions instead! Still, an enjoyable read and a great character study for Dick Grayson.
The artwork as usual is great and complements the story very well.
So, I give it 8.0 out of 10.
+We finally get some answers
+Exotic and intriguing locations
-Still remains a little too secretive for comfort
-Jarring opening despite the attractive scenery