AWA Upshot Studios 2020
Written by Jeff McComsey
Illustrated by Tommy Lee Edwards
Lettered by John Workman
For two generations, the rural hill town of Grendel, Kentucky has honored its Faustian bargain with the monster living in its abandoned coal mine: a human sacrifice every season in return for agrarian prosperity the likes of which this rocky region had never before seen (including its greatest cash crop: the dankest weed in the land). When one town elder breaks this pact, Grendel's only hope is that its prodigal daughter will return home to face down the creature of her nightmares—and bring her all-female biker gang with her.
Oh my goodness gracious I was expecting a lot from this and boy was I NOT disappointed because the quality of the storytelling here is at a level that others can only strive for. I love the idea that While Denny runs the family business while Marnie took off and is the leader of a all-female biker gang. I also adore the fact that while Marnie may be blood she’s still a daughter and sister and is thought no other way. I don’t think she even realises how much she is loved in this town by her family and this might end up being the wake-up call to end some of the hostility she holds. Then again I am supposing my own ideas into this here and the power of this storytelling has over me anyway and that should speak volumes of the skill and talent we are seeing here.
I am a huge fan of the way this is being told. The story & plot development that we see through how the sequence of events unfold as well as how the reader learns information is perfectly rendered. The opening here is a great example because not only do the kids learn what happened but we all do and those who’ve never known are all now privy to the secret that’s been hidden for generations. The character development that we see is sensational. I like how through dialogue and through how we see them act and react to the situations and circumstances they encounter continue to shape who they are. Denny however I don’t think he’ll ever be anything but what he is and part of me is chagrined by that. The pacing here is superb and as it takes us through the pages revealing the twists & turns along the way it’s easy to see the story’s genesis in Grendel.
The interiors here are really rather great. I love the linework that we see and how much strength they can bring to the work. How we see the varying weights being utilised along with some different techniques really showcase the detail work that we see. From the facial hair, or hair period to the creature and heck even the liquor bottles all make this what it is. The way backgrounds are as integral to the story as the words make me excited for what we see here and honestly the depth perception, sense of scale and that overall sense of size and scope of the story makes this much more believable. The utilisation of the page layouts and how we see the angles and perspective in the panels show a masterful eye for storytelling. The colour work is utterly magnificent! The way that we see the hues and tones within the colours being utilised to create the shading, highlights and shadow work is extraordinary. I mean the green bottle that has shades of blue yeah those are among the details that we which are actually what happens in the real world so to see the care put into this is mind blowing.
The way we see this being structured and how the layering within the story keeps moving forward and uniting different aspects is really impressive. How everything works together to create the story’s ebb & flow is marvellously done. The whole book is utterly bloody mindbogglingly exceptional.