Like a bucking bronco, Grass Kings #12 suddenly kicks! It’s an about-face shift in tone from the last few issues which were gradual and poetic. It made me wonder if I had missed reading an issue. This sudden shift has scattered the sheep. Characters that were on a specific trajectory have now been sent reeling in every other direction. You start poking around in the ash, and you’re bound to get the fire started again. I’m getting ahead of myself…
There’s a utopia that exists in the Midwest called the Grass Kingdom. The people there abide by their own laws; they take care of themselves. They mostly live in trailers and rundown houses. On the outside, they look peaceful and calm; however, writer Matt Kindt and artist Tyler Jenkins alluded very heavily to a cycle of blood for the last century or so that has come with living on this land. The people on it now may not be able to avoid it, especially since the sheriff of a nearby town named Cargill is obsessed with finding a serial killer, and he thinks that killer is in the Grass Kingdom. The Sheriff and the Grass Kings have already had one war (the first story arc of this series) and a few people died, but now it looks like it’s really going to hit the fan.
The last few issues have been spent between the people of the kingdom, trying to figure out who among them may be a murderer. These have been some of my favorite issues of the series. Secrets are uncovered, trust is shaken. Since visceral action was not the focus, Tyler Jenkins, Hilary Jenkins, and Jim Campbell have been able to create images and panels of incredible artistic storytelling merit. The emotional heft they’ve fit into a single panel has been astounding. This issue deals with some of that fallout, so all of the story threads are there, but the stakes have been injected with caffeine pills or cocaine. The art, while still really capturing that Midwestern world and the people that inhabit it, it’s more straightforward in its approach. Some of that poetic freewheeling has been restrained… though the cover art is beautiful.
This is one of the more intriguing serials right now, with some really great conflicted characters – and some characters who I forget who they are from month to month. It’s the type of story that, when collected in graphic novel form, will attract more than just your typical comic book reader, and it deserves it! I also think it will be a much more fluid read as a collection. I can’t wait for next month’s issue. The fan is spinning, and someone is winding up for the throw…
Creative Team: Matt Kindt (story), Tyler Jenkins (art), Hilary Jenkins (colors), Jim Campbell (letters)
Publisher: BOOM! Studios
Click here to purchase.