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‘Grass Kings #13:’ Advance Comic Book Review

Issue #13 of Grass Kings finds a really nice balance between the war that’s been brewing between the Grass Kingdom and the outside world and the slow burn of uncovering who the serial killer is that might be hiding nearby. For me, it’s the first time this perfect synchronicity has been reached – though it wouldn’t be working as well as it is if building blocks weren’t previously put in place.

In Grass Kings, a kind of sovereign piece of land in the Midwest is under assault by the police forces and federal government from outside. The residents of the kingdom abide by their own rules and don’t take kindly to outsiders trying to tell them what to do. But a murderer is still at large, having left a scar on the soul of the kingdom many years ago. Now, the outside forces of law are using the murderer as a means to tear apart the kingdom. This book is part serial killer mystery, part small town drama, and part…well part… I’m not sure what to label the third part as… It’s a battle of wills, a psychological standoff, watching the small town’s passive aggressive behaviors manifest in an actual standoff. If you can imagine the Cliven Bundy standoff from a year ago at the National Park – in some ways, there are echoes of that situation, though the characters in Grass Kings aren’t quite as cartoonish as the Bundy family, nor are they as selfishly belligerent as the Bundy family. It’s just the closest thing I can think of in recent Americana history to compare this story to.

How do I talk about Grass Kings? I like it. A lot, in fact. Some issues more than other issues. I didn’t at first. But there was something about it that drew me in, and I’m glad I kept on it, because it’s an incredibly intriguing and original story in a world of comic book stories that are either superhero based or – if dramatic – have some kind of science fiction or horror bend to it.

Grass Kings is ambitious as hell, which means that even when it trips or stumbles, it does so trying to break the mold and leave the reader with something that is truly tangible. There is a lot on the creators’ minds, and you can see it in every detail from Tyler Jenkins’ art, Hillary Jenkins’ colors, to Jim Campbell’s lettering. This world is like nothing else in comics currently. The cliffhangers don’t always scream, “Read the next issue!” yet I keep coming back, because I want to know. I want to be there as each layer of the onion is pulled back to see what makes this world tick. Grass Kings is just as much a puzzle box than anything else, and I look forward to see how all these elements fit together.

Creative Team: Matt Kindt (story), Tyler Jenkins (art), Hilary Jenkins (colors), Jim Campbell (letters)
Publisher: BOOM! Studios
Click here to purchase.

Phillip Kelly, Fanbase Press Contributor



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