REVIEW: ‘Grim,’ Issue #1

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Grim #1 - But Why Tho

Grim #1 is written by Stephanie Phillips, illustrated by Flaviano, colored by Rico Renzi, and lettered by Tom Napolitano. It’s published by BOOM! Studios. Jessica Harrow works as a Reaper—a being who shepherds the souls of the dead to their final resting place. There’s just one problem: Jessica doesn’t know how she died. When her latest soul steals her scythe and absconds back to the land of the living, Jessica must find him before her boss does.

The concept of death and the afterlife is one that’s been explored in multiple comics, including Killadelphia from Image Comics and even the death of major characters like Doctor Strange and the Justice League. This comic takes a different approach. What if working with the dead was your job? Phillips’ script slowly reveals more about this world, including the Reapers themselves; many of them come from different points in time and dress according to that time period, while myths such as the River Styx and the Afterlife are given a more contemporary look.

Phillips also grounds the book in the interactions between Jessica and her latest charge Bryan Andrews. Bryan, while attempting to reconcile with his ex-girlfriend Abigail, ended up crashing his car – the bulk of the issue is dedicated to his attempts to cope with the fact that he’s dead, which makes him the de facto audience surrogate. In contrast, Jessica gives off a detatched, rather inhuman air. She doesn’t like talking about herself since the subject of her mysterious death is still sore and feels rather bored by her job. A twist in the back half of the issue only raises more questions than it answers but ensures both Jessica and Andrew will be staying around for a while. Phillips knows how to start a mystery.

She’s joined by Flaviano and Renzi, whose artwork takes on a neo-Gothic flair. Jessica and her fellow Reapers are clad in uniforms that are mostly black with blood-red accents; said outfits change based on the person wearing them. For example, Jessica’s fellow Reapers Eddie and Marcel wear a vest and a trench coat respectively, which fits Eddie’s rock star aesthetic and Marcel’s Victorian-era time of death. The River Styx takes on the form of a horde of shadows outlined with blood-red lines, and the Afterlife itself is akin to a waiting room. There are even numbers called out for each soul!

Finally, Napolitano gets the chance to be extremely creative with his lettering. When Jessica summons the River Styx, the accompanying “KRAK” effect feels like it’s literally spreading through the icy exterior of the Hudson River. And when she grows possessed by a mysterious force, her word balloons grow jet black with jagged white letters. Good lettering feels like it’s part of the artwork, and Napolitano more than succeeds when it comes to that part of the job.

Grim #1 takes a creative look at the concept of death, featuring some beautiful artwork and a killer story hook. BOOM! has been delivering a steady stream of original comics, and this is one of their best launches yet. I’m already looking forward to the next issue.

Grim #1 is available wherever comics are sold.

Author

  • Born and raised in Texas, Collier “CJ” Jennings was introduced to geekdom at an early age by his father, who showed him Ultraman and Star Trek: The Next Generation. On his thirteenth birthday, he received a copy of Giant Size X-Men #1 and dove head first into the realm of pop culture, never looking back. His hobbies include: writing screenplays and essays, watching movies and television, card games/RPG’s, and cooking. He currently resides in Seattle.


Grim #1
4.5

TL;DR

Grim #1 takes a creative look at the concept of death, featuring some beautiful artwork and a killer story hook. BOOM! has been delivering a steady stream of original comics, and this is one of their best launches yet. I’m already looking forward to the next issue.

ButWhyTho