Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Review: Grass Kings #1

By Reboot

“Welcome to the Grass Kingdom. Where fools like you come to get their asses kicked.”

Reboot here again. Back so soon, I know. I’m a pretty big Matt Kindt fan though, so when I heard that he was writing a new comic, Grass Kings, at BOOM! Studios with Tyler Jenkins illustrating and Jim Campbell lettering, I wanted to review the first issue of this six part miniseries. Lucky for me [insertgeekhere] got a review copy. Get ready for some reviewing!

Those of you unfamiliar with the story, Grass Kings is about a piece of land called the Grass Kingdom. For hundreds of years the land has only bred violence starting before European colonization and leading right up to the present day. Despite the fact that the area seemed to have short bursts of prosperity in the past, it’s now been reduced to trailer parks. Three brothers rule over the area and are very protective of this land at seemingly any cost. While this may seem odd to an outsider, this is the culture that’s been accepted in the Grass Kingdom for seemingly quite some time; at least by some of the people we encounter.

Matt Kindt does an excellent job here of creating vignettes throughout this oversized first issue of both the history of this land and of the people that live there currently. He masterfully weaves a narrative full of mystery and doubt of those in authority here. One of the more clever devices used in this first issue is having a lot of exposition come from one of the brothers who arrested a kid from out of town. Here we get a very fleshed out view of this town and the mystery behind it. In the hands of a lesser writer this first issue could have lacked the momentum necessary to get readers picking up the next issue. Matt Kindt makes you want to see what happens next.

A big part of why you want to pick up issue one is Tyler Jenkins’ art. You may know Tyler from Shadowline Comics Peter Panzerfaust. I actually didn’t realize he was the same person until I looked him up after. One reason for this is that his pencils are a little looser here than in Peter Panzerfaust, creating more of that “Matt Kindt look” we expect from his comics. The other reason would be the coloring he does for Grass Kings. The watercolors are absolutely gorgeous and create a unique mood for a book like this, and again feel very Matt Kindt. While another artist might have tried to take a more traditional approach to the colors using heavy blacks and going for a more noir feel, Tyler Jenkins goes for something more colorful and unique that makes Grass Kings really stand out. The influx of mystery/thriller comics in rural settings we’ve seen in rural settings lately with comics in great books like Southern Bastards and The Dark And Bloody, a move like this is not just practical, but necessary.

I really want to go into more details. I want to talk more about the brothers, the characters that cover for each other, the intricate web of codependence and neglect that creates a place like the Grass Kingdom. The story is too good for me to want to spoil any more of it than I may have already spoiled for you. This is yet another interesting and unique take on genre that BOOM! Studios is tackling and it is worth your time.

Grass Kings #1 is available today at comic book stores everywhere.

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