‘Grass Kings #9:’ Advance Comic Book Review

I have such up and down feelings for Matt Kindt and Tyler Jenkins' series, Grass Kings; some issues are wonderful, and other issues are missing a connective tissue that would otherwise pull me into the journey that the characters find themselves on.

A mystery is being uncovered in what should be a peaceful utopia, set apart from the rest of the complicated world. The Grass Kingdom is a self-governing area of land where people live freely, but maybe not as freely as one would assume. That simplicity has been muddied and marred over the last several issues, and even more so in this current issue. It’s such an interesting premise chock full of potential themes. When the story strikes this chord, it’s harmonious and there are moments of that in this current issue. Alas, the emotional point of view in this issue wavers.

In the first six-issue story arc of the series, we were briefly introduced to two characters: Ashur and “Pinball.” We return to them as we find that they’ve become curious about what Robert and Bruce have been investigating. They are pretty sure it is about a possible murder, and they are pretty sure who would have been murdered. I get it. I get what Kindt is attempting to do. He’s opening up the world a bit more by allowing characters who maybe don’t care as much about the proper way to do things to find out more about what’s going on. The problem I found myself having is that I have no idea who Ashur and “Pinball” really are to each other or anyone else in the community. For this issue to be truly effective, I feel like there needed to be an issue before this that drew them into the story. Something that gave them some sort of emotional dynamic within this world as opposed to simply being used to uncover more story. That could have even been done in this issue, but the closest we get to knowing them is that they play music and are curious. The closest thing we get to real stakes or possible repercussions in this issue is that they may miss out on a music gig if they don’t look around quickly enough. Kindt makes a point of reminding us this on three separate occasions, but the gig doesn’t really play into dynamic of anything else that’s going on. The humanity of these two characters and why they care were left relatively underdeveloped, and that kept me at arm’s length during this issue.

Tyler and Hilary Jenkins' (colors) art continues to grow on me. There are some beautiful images in this issue. There are images that have stayed with me from previous issues. When I’m not completely connecting with the story, those images are nice to have there.

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