Welcome to an all-new edition of Parlay Points, the comic book review blog to the ODPH podcast via Nerd Initiative!
For this entry, we are following the ever-changing adventures of Van Nguyen in the pages of Comixology Originals’ latest hit series. Grammaton Punch #3 by Miles Gunter, Briane Andan, Lee Loughridge, Taylor Esposito, Dee Cunniffe and Ed Dukeshire catches readers up after a time jump last issue to further explore his abilities and the evolving challenges arising. The series has been a wild ride thus far and shows no signs of slowing down. Let’s take a closer look at where things are heading now, shall we?
*** POTENTIAL SPOILER WARNING ***
Van Nguyen is no ordinary person. Being born during a solar eclipse, Van has developed abilities. Van can see ghosts. They could see him and fed off his energy for many years in his young life. That was the stat quo until Van realized not only could he see ghosts, but he could have physical contact with them as well. No longer helpless to fight back, Van could punch away any attacking spirits. As he has grown older, the spirits have changed as well. Luckily, he has a mentor in Rick Walker, who is very familiar with Van’s situation to provide much needed guidance. However, with a nine year time job, Van might not be ready for his biggest threat yet: High School.
Last issue, Van walked into school and witnessed the biggest ghost he has ever encountered. Dodging that obstacle, Van walks the hallways and sees another spirit draining energy off the student body. How can this be? is the thought running thru Van’s head. Unfortunately, he has another challenge in front of him. The school’s vice principal confronts Van for his special sunglasses (which helps him deal with his abilities). Van has medical clearance but the vice isn’t believing him. Van winds up winning this round but also breaking down how the school is a feeding ground for ghosts. In one class in particular, a punk ghost sets their eyes on Van. They learn in a short amount of time that Van isn’t the student to try that with.
During that encounter, Van draws the attention of another ghost, who isn’t exactly happy with someone fighting ghosts back. While dodging that ghost, Van runs into someone who might be a game-changer in his life. Will he get the chance to see where this new-found friendship goes? Not if the ghosts have anything to say about it! Readers witness Van dodging dangers behind every hallway on top of maneuvering through high school. Can he manage? And what of Rick’s idea to handle some ghost business? Will the plan work? There is much to process as the story hits’ the midway mark before taking readers into the final arc.
BREAKDOWN: With the timejump in effect, Gunter has broadened Van’s challenges much to the readers delight. Seeing Van face the social awkwardness of high school is difficult enough, but being the only one to see the dangers lurking is a whole other factor. Gunter plays into Van’s naïve personality when he encounters a fellow student that provides a break from the ghost conflict. Their conversation comes off genuine and throws readers a different look for the lead character. The story doesn’t stray too far away from the overall themes from the previous issue. The dangers still affect Van’s supporting cast. Even though not featured heavily, they make the most of their panel time. It brings the attention back to Van’s never-ending battle. The final act demonstrates a huge turn in direction and looks to set the seeds for the overall conclusion.
Andan’s art is fluid and energetic as ever for this issue. The ghosts of “high School” have distinct looks to them and instantly stand out to the readers. However, this issue features more personal moments which Andan plays up for a solid break in the overall story. Seeing Van’s reaction to someone not caught up in his ghost world shines with capturing Van’s nervousness and gives the story some “normal” breaks before amping back up into the ghost battles. Speaking of which, the final act comes to life with Andan interjecting some strong emotional panels with Rick advising Van on his current situation and the plan he is compiling heading into next issue.
FINAL POINT: 8 out of 10
The latest issue of Grammaton Punch presents Van with his greatest challenge to date: High School. The book never ceases to keep readers guessing by taking this story into a personal break before speeding up into the drama. Gunter, Andan and the team present this chapter with solid storytelling and vibrant art, making it an issue you don’t want to miss on New Comic Book Day.
Hit me up on ODPH social media and let me know what you think of Grammaton Punch #3. Thanks for reading Parlay Points on Nerd Initiative.