‘Ch05En: Grizz Volume 2’ - Advance Trade Paperback Review

Awhile back, I was given the opportunity to review William Dickstein's Ch05En. In a unique world where science is able to figure out something spectacular, things aren't always as they seem. The world now has access to genetic mapping that can show a person if they have a latent gene, one that will allow for those with the gene to be someone of great importance, including those who have powers. Our lead for this second volume is the same as the first, the feral but soft-spoken Grizz. When we last left Grizz, he had abandoned his life as a teacher and superhero with the Global Heroes Society in favor of long-time lover and, at the time, adversary, Mische. This innovative ending sets up for the second volume of the series, which shows Grizz and Mische as the two are now on the run and attempting to move on with their lives.

This is a fantastic world, with a unique perspective on the world of heroes. With the idea of a latent gene that could reveal your fate delivering so many different possibilities, this is a universe rife with opportunity. Focusing on Grizz for the first two volumes is an interesting choice, especially considering the character himself. His power is a wolf-like transformation, making him violent, feral, and dangerous. This is accompanied by the fact that Grizz is a gay man, something that holds no impact in the world, but is totally normalized. This is a great thing to see, because normalizing sexual orientation this way isn't something normally done, and I commend this series for being able to do it successfully.

As far as the story itself, it's best to talk about it as a whole. On the run, Grizz and Mische are tasked with one final mission before setting off on their life together. To get to that point, the couple must retrieve a mystical dagger for Mische's business partner, a task which does not come easily. As the story unfolds, the two discover much more about themselves and the world around them.

With Dickstein on writing duties, he is joined by artist Kamil Boettcher and letterer Lukasz Marko. On the whole, I think the premise delivers more promise than we've been given in this volume. While the art has a unique style, the way it's laid out, especially with the letters, makes it a bit tough to follow. I would also like to point out that there is a bit of an issue with repetition, especially in terms of endearment between the two leads. While that kind of thing usually wouldn't take away from what is a solid plot, in this case, it does draw away from what is trying to be told.

While there are some criticisms, I have to say that I quite liked this series. Both volumes I read have a lot of promise, especially in a crowded, but overlooked, indie comics scene. Dickstein and crew have found a premise that is all their own, and it works well as an isolated world. I would like to read more in the Ch05En universe, and, hopefully, more is on the way in the future.

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