GRIM #13 by BOOM! STUDIOS
CREATIVE: Stephanie Phillips, Flaviano, Rico Renzi & Tom Napolitano
Welcome to an all new edition of Parlay points, the comic book review blog to the ODPH Podcast!
For this entry, we are checking out a series that transcends comics. Since its’ debut, GRIM from Boom! Studios has been more than just “reading a comic”. It literally has been an experience and vibe all its’ own.
With unique visuals and an ever-engaging story, the life and times of a reaper and her friends have never been more featured in such a stand-out way. Now on its’ third arc, all bets are off on how Jessica Harrow gets out of the latest situation she finds herself in.
GRIM #13 by Stephanie Phillips, Flaviano, Rico Renzi & Tom Napolitano breaks away from the main story to focus on a dive into one character’s personal hell (literally). Let’s not waste another moment and jump into this incredible series, shall we?
*** POSSIBLE SPOILER WARNING *** SEE PREVIOUS ISSUE REVIEW
Since readers have been introduced to Jessica Harrow, they have bared witness to danger following her at every moment. From an initial runaway soul transfer to finding out she is the daughter of Death, “It’s Complicated” is arguably the easiest way to describe her life. Along for the ride are two friends: Eddie and Marcel.
In the current arc, Jessica was betrayed by Annabel, a fellow reaper to Adira, the current reigning figure of the afterlife. Adira is also Jessica’s aunt. Annabel has had ulterior motives for what she does. Working a deal with Kelly (a devil), Annabel uses Marcel’s soul as payment. Feeling the pressure of her plans caving in, Adira tries pleading with Jessica to assist her in a surprise twist. However, Jessica has never lost sight that Marcel is gone because of her scheming.
This issue finally catches readers up to what happened to Marcel as Kelly sent him to hell (literally). The story begins with an “Act 1: Creation” introduction like a play. A narrator speaks in French to let the audience know the back story. Suddenly, the story lands in France 1898.
Marcel and his lover Henri are in the Cabaret watching the narrator. The couple’s playful banter camouflages the situation at hand. Henri pleads his case with Marcel until they wind up on stage in-front of the crowd. The scene turns quickly as Marcel is confronted with questions if he is an angel or devil? While trying to escape the mob, the breaking of Marcel has begun with haunting questions.
What level of Hell has Marcel wound up in? Readers quickly see that Marcel is being forced to relive his past mistakes along the way down. The mood is brooding and at times, Marcel becomes shaken at what he is witnessing. There are more acts to follow until the final destination is hit but is it truly the end? There is much to break down in this emotional issue.
Phillips pens a tale of self-exploration, forcing Marcel into uncomfortable territory. Due to the tragic way things ended with his lover previously, the writing reflects that pain. The pacing takes Marcel’s decent into personal hell slowly enough that readers can feel the torment.
The conversations of Henri and Marcel vary from playful to anger with more in-between. Once the final act starts, the tension built unloads into a boiling point. Its’ resolution concludes the issue on an intriguing note as to where things go from here.
Flaviano and Renzi construct the visuals in another standout way. Marking the acts in Full Page Panels let readers know what level Marcus was descending into. The coloring inside the Cabaret gave a distinct feel as Henri and Marcel’s banter took the chapter into a noteworthy direction.
This is mixed in with strong images ranging from a frightening end to the middle act while raising the emotional tension between the two in the final act. The closing panel poses some questions but completes the torturous journey for now.
FINAL POINT: 9 OUT OF 10
The descent into personal Hell makes a lasting impression in the pages of Boom! Studios’ hit series. Phillips presents the emotional turmoil of a tortured soul with the always impressive visuals of Flaviano, giving this series a feel and look like no one else. There is no excuse to pass on this issue on New Comic Book Day!
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