Welcome to the Grass Kingdom, a microcosm of civilization. In Matt Kindt’s newest series, Grass Kings, a collective of people have laid claim to a small territory of land. Here, they abide by their own laws and rules. The first issue has the local officer escorting a trespasser off the private land. The trespasser is a young man who calls the people who live there squatters. From there, the first issue is mostly expository as we’re given a tour of the Kingdom; it’s not a terribly involving first issue story-wise. Despite its lackadaisical beginning, Kindt has earned my trust in building a story, which only comes into focus at the end of this issue. Echoes of the past point to conflicts in the future, conflicts that appear to rise from a mystery that has been left unsolved: a crime.
I’ve been reading Harrow County since the second story arc, and not once has Cullen Bunn broken the reality for a good scare. Not once has he cheapened the world by breaking the rules set forth. That’s not what kind of horror this is. The horror Bunn is dealing with is much deeper and darker than that. I think even profound. Yes, it has the witches, the monsters hiding in the dark, the struggles that take place at the ledge of life and death, but we’re talking about a character’s soul here. The soul of Emmy: a young woman born of evil, the offspring (of sorts) of a witch, and imbued with the power to direct the fate of others - humans and haints (those monsters in the shadows) alike.
I’ve taken to listening to music while reading comics, and I found the perfect (for the moment) song to listen to while reading Joelle Jones’ Lady Killer: "Zorba’s Dance" from the film score for Zorba the Greek. It has a nice, slow build with escalating anticipation, a playful rhythm, and a promise of something that’s about to happen while the enjoyment of what’s happening unspools before you. Like with the classic score by Mikis Theodorakis, you can tell Jones is having a hell of a good time on this book and that she really cares about it. How can I tell? Look at the detail.
Rule 63 in Sherwood
The Robin Hood stories have always had a strong following. There’s something about taking from the rich and giving to the poor that resonates well with the majority of folks…can’t imagine why. The myth of the honorable thief mixed with an altruistic nature and forbidden love is hard for anyone to pass up. It’s the story that has it all, which is why seeing someone hit it with an alternate vision is such fun. It allows us to separate ourselves from the tales as we’ve heard them before [whether Flynn, Bedford, Costner, Elwes, or Crowe are your seminal take (We can all agree it’s not Crowe, right?)] and apply the touchstones of it in new ways (i.e., stealing from the rich and giving to the poor could be the result of trying to trick a populace into support, hiding your true self of being altruistic, and all the best things end up lining the rich boy’s son’s pockets). It’s a technique that can be very useful; changing minor parts allows the author to play us against the standard narrative and opens the world to incredible changes that can not only re-imagine a world that hasn’t been updated in a century or so, but broaden its message for the modern reader as well as being very entertaining.
Inspector Oh #1 ended with Ziyi valiantly trying to return her uncle to life with a magical pearl. The latest issue proves our fierce heroine succeeded, but Oh . . . well, isn’t quite back to his old self. (He initially confuses Ziyi with his nephew, Ging Han – of course, that’s pretty classic for the crazy exorcist.) Before their reunion can be complete, the pair has to escape from Hell and return to the land of the living, but without Oh’s powers, it could be a complicated task!
What would happen if the legend of King Arthur were propelled into the twenty-first century? Arthur would be a woman, of course. Dark Horse’s five-part series, The Once and Future Queen, brings us the exciting adventures of Rani Arturus, a 19-year-old chess whiz who pulls the sword from the stone. Chess is a fitting activity for a modern-day King Arthur, because it highlights Rani’s strategic skills and foresightedness. I expect Rani will have prowess and a cunning ability to be one step ahead of any enemy she faces in this series.
Fighting the Alliance and its operatives has never been a pleasant or easy task for Mal Reynolds, but then again, Mal has never been one to turn away from a challenge because it won’t be easy or pleasant. The captain of the Serenity and its crew continue this behavioral trend in this month’s Serenity: No Power in the ‘Verse #5, written by Chris Roberson and featuring the art of Georges Jeanty. While Mal and his crew make a move to reacquire the abducted members of their group, the captain goes toe to toe with another Alliance operative, determined to defend his family to end.
If you’re looking for a light, fluffy graphic novel about rainbows, unicorns, and a world full of magical happiness, do not pick up Dark Matter II. If you want something that functions as pure mind candy (No judgment; we all need mind candy!), do not try reading Dark Matter II; however, if you’re in the mood for a graphic novel anthology of pessimistic and thought-provoking stories about the less savory sides of humanity, this book is definitely what you need.
Writer Zack Kaplan discusses “being hopeful in dark times” in a letter to fans, which can be seen in the trade paperback, Eclipse: Volume One. The theme of hope in this story does not get lost in translation, especially since Kaplan has created a world where life must be preciously captured in the darkness.