Image Comics is a proverbial hotbed for under-the-radar titles that, despite their lack of initial popularity, prove to be at least decent reads if not better. Last week saw another such release in the form of the first issue of Grim Leaper.
Fully titled Grim Leaper: A Story to Die For, is a book that focuses heavily on dark comedy. If you are one to shy away from gore and foul language, turn back now. Parents, take note. This one’s not for the kiddies. The series was co-created by writer Kurtis Wiebe (Peter Panzerfaust) and artist Alusio C. Santos. The book focuses around, well, the book focuses around one man who had many names. The thing is, he’s cursed. He can’t stop dying. This is body thirteen and who knows how many days he has left in this one before he clocks out…and starts all over in someone else’s human shell.
The story seems to borrow from DC’s Ressurection Man in the respect of the multiple reincarnations, but the similarities end there. Grim Leaper reads in a fairly sarcastic manner, so needless to say, there’s a good amount of brashness and tongue-in-cheek dialogue that comes to life here. I can’t seem to pinpoint if that’s great or just so-so, but either way, it works. I slowly fell into a position of “this works” as I went from panel to panel, following Paul or Lou or whomever he is in this issue before he buys the farm again. Add in a little bit of love at first sight, which should ultimately be love at second and third sight in future issues (read it and you’ll see what I mean), and you’ve got a decent plot waiting to unfold.
The art isn’t as easy to describe. It’s definitely more of a cartoony feel, maximizing a limited palette of color with an anbundance of sharp lines and corners. The style is slightly reminiscent of the pages of Robert Kirkman’s The Astounding Wolf-Man. The pages here typically stick with one color scheme before moving on to a different combination in proceeding panels. It’s mildly trippy with prominent uses of pinks and violets throughout. While it’s not a favorite style of mine, non-traditional color mixing does serve relevance to an otherwise unconvential book.
While any series is difficult to future-critique based on the premier issue, Grim Leaper makes that notion even more true. The foundation is laid out here in issue #1, but it doesn’t feel like a whole lot takes place. If it makes any sense, that’s not a bad thing. A few big things take place which is enough to propell this writer’s interest into issue #2 which comes out June 20th.