On the outskirts of the “real world,” a rural empire provides for its citizens without the aid of those outside of its borders. This “Grass Kingdom” doesn’t want or need any help, and its ruler Robert leads his community while attempting to lead his own life back to some semblance of normalcy – after his daughter, Rose, disappeared years ago. The strain of her absence and the unknowing behind it became unbearable for him and his wife Amber until she also left, leaving him all alone with his misery.
BOOM! Studios presents Grass Kings #2 with an intriguing story filled with artwork that seems to pull the reader into the story. The artistic style leans toward watercolors from co-creator and artist Tyler Jenkins, as semi-defined characters and backgrounds heighten your focus toward the characters themselves and the story moving forward. Each panel is critical, generating a sense of listening in on private conversations that happen throughout this chapter, as soft background tones do not draw your attention away from important memories being shared, and the desires of those living in and out of the kingdom.
Co-creator and writer Matt Kindt tells a tale that reads as a masterful first issue while setting the stage in such a way that keeps your gaze and leaves you wanting more, as if this were issue eleven leading into a final arc. The backstory Kindt shares instantly sinks you further in, as if you’re one of the characters trying to find their way – you want to know more and the only way to do so is to dive deeper, hoping there’s enough air (in the second chapter) to find out what’s happened and to solve part of the mystery. The main character Robert, along with his brothers, must deal with the repercussions of his leadership, or lack thereof, and they must find a way to sustain their way of life as brewing turmoil bubbles on the brim of their grassy knoll.
The cover page alludes to the urgency that will fall upon the reader once the first page gets turned. Jenkins draws dark trees, with its canopy blocking out any light from the sky, with the blue and pink hues of the lake helping to balance the focus to its center. A woman clutches onto one of the trees, leaning onto it for dear life as her hair covers her face. Who is she? Does Robert know who she is? They encounter one another within the first few pages of this story, and your curiosity doesn’t wane once after that moment. The colorful illustrations are well balanced, never deterring from the story, and the conflict ahead seems inevitable, making the reader wonder – will the life inside of this kingdom survive?
Grass Kings #2 is available for pre-order until its print and digital release on Wednesday, April 12, 2017.