Sunday, January 31, 2010

Grendel: Red, White and Black #3

Written by: Matt Wagner
Art by: see below

The Devil continues his crime spree in the third installment of this anthology.

Devils Clash - Michael Avon Oeming

We finally get a glimpse of the first fight between Argent and Grendel in this story. Takes place in the garden of the Palumbo's right after Barry's death. Nice little story - good art, nice banter between Grendel and Argent.

Devilish Escapades - Phil Noto

These "Minute Mysteries" left me feeling a bit put off. This is something we've seen before from this series and its predecessor: illustrate text pieces. I did like the one about the tiger, but the stories just lack a certain flair. Kind of boring. And the illustrations are stagnant and add very little to the text. The illustrations are supposed to supplement the text - these just leave me wonder what they have to do with the stories below. Forgettable.

Devil, Devil On the Roof - Zander Cannon

Now here is a Grendel story. Mob boss holed up in a hotel suite, hiding from Grendel. Armed guards everywhere, but the Devil always gets what is his. Makes me smile just thinking about it. The art is perfect - and so is the story. Best in the book.

Devil, Deed, Denouement - Ashely Wood

Here is an example of an enjoyable illustrated text piece. It's pretty much Devil By the Deed in one page installments, but the text is imaginative and the illustrations sublime. I liked the foreshadowing of the things to come on the last page. Good show with this one.

The Devil' Tide - Mike Huddleston

Another good, simple Grendel story. A mob doctor's fall from grace is profiled, and we get a first hand look at what happens when you try to undo Grendel's handiwork. The art is probably my favorite in the book, but the story is just a bit too slow for me. Good all around story.

That wraps up the third issue of this devilishly fun comic. One more left in this title, then I might put Grendel on the back burner. You never know.

Remember, this and any other issue showcased on FourColorCrusader can be purchased at MyComicShop.

Until tomorrow, happy reading.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Grendel: Red, White and Black #2

Written by: Matt Wagner
Art by: see below

More tales of the Devil in red white and black, courtesy of Matt Wagner and friends.

Devil Dreams - Kelley Jones

This is more an Argent story than a Grendel story, but it's a good one none the less. Argent goes to a wizard who makes him a potion to be able to smell out Grendel where ever he goes; but what Argent learns my not be what he wants to hear.

I like Kelley's art (big fan of his work on Batman) and the story gives us some more insight to Argent's past. Nice ending.

Chase the Devil - Mike Hawthorne

Two cops are out on patrol when a dead body lands on the hood of their squad car. Grendel quickly follows and takes out one of the cops. The surviving officer gives chase and...well, I won't give away the ending.

The art has a speedy quality - it makes you feel like you're in a hurry. The story pays off nicely in the end. Best in the book.

Devil's Karma - Andi Watson

Kind of really hate this story. Another set of illustrated text, but this time with a Japanese motif. A story isn't present - it's just impressions of the events. The art is nice, but the piece is overall boring and forgettable.

Roulette Du Diable - Dan Brereton

This story outlines the events of the Eastern Seaboard massacre (when Grendel killed off all the heads of organized crime on the East Coast in a single day) in caption boxes over illustrations of a boring day at home with Stacy. The juxtaposition is nice and the captions allow the mind to create its own violence. We also see Stacy overhear that Hunter is Grendel. Nice little story.

Devil Crossed - Phil Hester

Here we see the events that lead up to the death of Barry Palumbo (Stacy's uncle) who was working for both Grendel and Argent - with his own agenda being the death of both of his benefactors. It explains why Grendel killed Barry and shows a nice tender moment between Stacy and Argent. The art is polished and uses the black and white format to its advantage - not a terrible read.

Well, that wraps up another handful of Grendel stories - not the best of the pack, but all in all a good read.

Buy it at MyComicShop.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Grendel: Red, White and Black #1

Written by: Matt Wagner
Art by: see below

Matt Wagner and friends return with another 4-issue anthology series chronicling the exploits and exploitations of the first Grendel, Hunter Rose. Much like its predecessor, this series is presented in black, white and red - but with a bit more emphasis on the red.

The Nasty Li'l Devil - Jill Thompson

This story is kind of a jumping on point for the uninitiated Grendel reader. It covers all the events in Devil By the Deed (death of Jocasta, fight with Argent, adoption of Stacy) and has one pretty cool ending. I won't spoil it, but I'm still surprised after reading this book for maybe the tenth time. Jill's art is cartoony, but the cute edge she gives to Hunter makes me smile every time. Good marks all around.

Devil's Assumption - Andy Kuhn

I love this story; it is up there in my list of Hunter Rose tales. This story finally shows us the first meeting between Teddy Chicone (notorious mob boss whose seat Grendel eventually usurps) and Grendel. After giving a fat check to a Catholic charity, Teddy gets word to meet with his top hit man, Leroy, at the docks - he's pretty shook up. Leroy tells Teddy of a hit gone bad; of his target was dead when he got there and in a messy way. Enter Grendel,who leaps in quoting Lewis Carrol. So awesome. So, Grendel kills two of Teddy's body guards and Leroy. He then tells Teddy Leroy was too messy and that he'll step in to fill his shoes. Teddy turns to tell Grendel he has the job, but the devil is gone - disappeared into the night.

I love this story. The art is clean and uses the confines of black and white very well. Just enough gore and literary quotes to make me happy. Best in the book.

Devil Say, Devil Do - Stan Sakai

Almost completely silent story - a nice little cat and mouse story. Grendel chases a man who, presumably, has stolen a large bag of cash from one of his numerous holdings. A breeze thought though, not much substance. But what this story lacks there, it makes up for in the eye candy department. Stan's Grendel is great - I especially like the sub way scene in the hat and overcoat.

Devil Colors - Jim Mahfood

This is another good story - it involves a spray paint artist who is hired y Grendel to tag some of his devilish deeds. The kid gets cocky and Grendel has to step in to save his sorry hide. I liked the art (which has a very spray painted, hurried look to it) and enjoyed the story. There is also a nice playlist on the opening page. Good read.

Devils's Dash - Tom Fowler

Matt and Tom aren't just playing with a character in this story, they are playing with the whole form of comics here. This is the story of an overweight Senator who finds himself on the Devil's wrong side - told in half page illustrations and text underneath. Grendel hardly shows his face, but he is present in every panel. Okay story, better art.

Grendel continues to pile up the bodies as his reign of terror continues. All in all, this book adds nicely to the laundry list of misdeeds the Devil has wrought. Like what came before, these short stories add a depth to a character that was never really developed in his own series.

If you want to read this or any other comics, get them from MyComicShop.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Batman / Grendel #2

Devil's Masque

Written by: Matt Wagner
Art by: Matt Wagner

So the fight between these two creatures of the night ended last issue with Batman buried and Grendel surrounded. Batman digs himself out, Grendel kills his way out. Grendel continues to manipulate and play with both Hillie's and Rachael's live in his search for info on the sphinx. He even kidnapped Hillie's daughter (who she gave up at birth). Batman is still confused and not sure if this is the Riddler or not- but he is starting to catch on. One thing leads to another, Grendel finds out hen the sphinx is to be delivered and begins to get his plan in motion. Both show up at the museum and they fight. I'm leaving out quite a bit and don't want to spoil the ending. Anyway, Grendel's master plan was to burn his mask into the face of the sphinx and to play with Batman. It goes off without a with; Hillie and Rachael arrange to pick up Hillie's daughter on top of one of the Twin Gotham Towers. Batman shows up right as Hillie's daughter is being released and the two titular characters g at it again. Batman breaks Grendel's arm - the child slips and falls off the high tower - Batman saves her - Grendel gets away.

Wow, a lot happened in those 48 pages. I have to admit it was a hard synopsis to write; I apologize for its lack of flair. Now, this is probably one of my favorite Hunter Rose stories simply because he is almost remorseful at the end of it. He returns to New York with his evil spirit renewed

The art - I love Matt Wagner's art in both of these books. There is a splash page in this one that still makes my jaw drop. And the fight n the top of the tower is just amazing. He uses a 5 x 6 grid layout that gives the reader a view of just about every blow.

Batman / Grendel is probably 3rd on my list of Hunter Rose stories - Devil By the Deed being second. My favorite Hunter Rose story is further down the line. But, for both Grendel and Batman fans, this is a can't miss book.

As always, if you are interested, you can get this issue at MyComicShop. Happy reading!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Batman / Grendel #1

Devil's Riddle

Written by: Matt Wagner
Art by: Matt Wagner

The Devil comes to Gotham to play with the Bat; but what in the heck is Hunter Rose up to? That's the theme that dominates this first issue of Batman / Grendel. Quite a bit goes on in these 48 pages. Hunter Rose comes into town to shop a new book. Wayne-Corp (and Bruce Wayne) is scheduling a viewing of a restored Sphinx at a Gotham art gallery. Hillary and Rachael are roommates who happen to be envoys to Hunter and Bruce Wayne respectively.

There really is way to much going on it this book to write up a short synopsis. Grendel is in town committing crimes as the Riddler. Batman is on the case, and he knows that the clues point to someone other than Edward Nigma. After being blackmailed by Grendel, Hillie tries to get Rachel to tell her when the Sphinx is supposed to arrive at the gallery. She won't budge and convinces Hillie to call the cops. They in turn up Grendel. Grendel's riddles lead the Dark Knight to an abandoned warehouse by the docks - also a set up.

The issue ends with Batman buried in rubble and Grendel surrounded by a dozen cops.

Lots of things are left unresolved - good thing there is another issue.

I love Matt Wagner's style. He weaves a mystery that keeps the reader guessing. But it is the parallel panels used in this book that really make it a stunning read. You have to see it to understand what I mean.

It's just a great book.

If you want to check it out, go to MyComicShop.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Grendel: Black, White and Red #4

Written by: Matt Wagner
Art by: see below

This series of Hunter Rose stories wraps up with this issue. Like the previous issues, this one adds new dimension to the first, and most ruthless, Grendel. I like to anthology format of this book - it allows for a nice variety of artists to showcase their own interpretations of this character.

Devil's Cage - Jason Pearson

This first tale is about what Hunter and Stacy do when they are both bored: she rips up stuffed animals, he kills some muggers. This story shows how the animal urge that Hunter so embodies is hidden in his young ward. I like the cartoony feel of Jason's art; it's the cutest rendition of Stacy I've ever seen.

Devil's Witness - Woodrow Phoenix

A man sees Grendel kill a gangster through a window and is called in by the cops to tell them what he saw. Solid story, tight art, awesome ending.

Best in the book.

Devil's Domain - Chris Sprouse & Jason Martin

Not really sure if there is a story here, in the sense of a plot. It's more like a series of vignettes covering the all the major points seen in Devil By the Deed. I do like the presentation, which also hearkens back to Devil By the Deed - Full page illustration with text below. Chris Sprouse is one of my favorite artist, so I give this story high marks.

Devil's Stigma - Jay Geldhof

Here we get our first real glimpse f the bond between Argent and Stacy - this story shows them telling stories that parallel their lives. It's kind of touching, but that's not what I look for in a Grendel story. The art is so-so, the story is kind of dull. Not enough bodies or aggression.

Devil's Mark - Troy Nixey

You never really think of assassins taking out other assassins, but this what happens in this story. We meet our would-be assassin trailing his mark and find out that his mark works for Grendel, who is in turn trailing the assassin. Interesting ending - sorry for ruining the surprise.
I liked the art, but there was one page with out any red and almost no gray tones. It felt very bare.

Awesome story simply for this line: "Shakes twice. Tucks left."

That wraps up Grendel: Black, White and Red. All in all a good series and worth a read. Tomorrow, the Devil goes to Gotham in Batman/Grendel.

Get the whole run at MyComicShop for less than $1 an issue!

Monday, January 25, 2010

Grendel: Black, White and Red #3

Written by : Matt Wagner
Art by: see below

Matt Wagner's anthology of Hunter Rose Grendel stories continues in sparse black white and red. So far this series has done a good job of filling in and fleshing out some important events and people only glossed over in Devil By the Deed. This book gives further insight into the world of the man under the mask.

Devil's Apogee - Mike Allred

In this story we see an early contract killing by Grendel and his reflections on his youth in suburbia and a fated trip over seas. The story is fairly straight forward, and Mike Allred's art is clean and almost perfect.

A good read, but the hit takes a back seat to the love story. Not quite enough bodies. Keep reading, Hunter gets bloodier and bloodier each issue.

Devil's Curse - Arnold and Jacob Pander

I really liked this story; it's about a voodoo priest trying to conjure up Grendel so that some marked men can take him on face to face rather than have their throat slashed during the night. Needless to say, the Devil always gets what is his - whether you call him or he comes calling. The thing that makes this story is the priest, D'oro. He lives in an abandoned oil refinery where he is surrounded by zombies of his own making. The Panders always please with this kind of story.

Best in the book.

The Devil's In the Punctuation - Stan Shaw

This story centers on Hunter's editor, a man named Cush, and his rise to stardom on Hunter's literary coat tails. This story is more about how it is presented that what it has to say. It is written as a book pitch by Cush - it just feels kind of forced. The art is nice; it has a kind of angular grace about it.

Art is nice to look at, story is a bit unnecessary. There's a very nice splash page of the fight between Grendel and Argent.

Devil On My Back - Teddy H. Kristiansen

Flashbacks abound in this issue. This is a story of an arsonist who sets fire to some of Grendel's waterfront property and provides a mirror for Hunter to see his past. Grendel lets the kid let down. The art is sketchy and minimal - not very nice to look at.

Does give us another glimpse at how ruthless Hunter is - a sprinkler of gasoline. Awesome. But I'd still call it the weakest of the 5 stories in this book.

Devil's Labyrinth - Guy Davis

Now this is a Grendel story. Argent setting up Grendel who is really setting up Argent. They fight, Argent can't keep up, splice in some images of Stacy (they both care deeply about this little girl) and ultimately ends with Grendel looking off into the distance and telling Stacy he loves her. Almost feels text book; but in a good way. Guy Davis' art is good, but his style doesn't lend itself to action very well.

This book ends on a high note.

If you want to pick this or any issue up, get it from MyComicShop, they have the best back issue pricing around. Trust me, I've looked.

Well, that's it for tonight. One more issue of Black White and Red, then the Devil heads to Gotham...

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Grendel: Black, White and Red #2

Written by: Matt Wagner
Art by: see below

The carnage continues in the second issue of Grendel: Black, White and Red. This is another solid entry in the tales of the first man to don the mask and fork - Hunter Rose.

Devil's Cue - Bernie Merault

I have loved Bernie's art since I first saw it in Grendel #13 - he has a style all his own. The story involve Larry Stohler, Grendel's right hand man, the leader of a foreign cocaine ring, and a night long game of pool. This story really shows off one of the minor characters in the world of Grendel and what a large part he plays in the Rose's criminal empire.

My favorite story in this book by far.

Devil's Requiem - David Mack

This tale centers on a fencing tournament where a young (pre-Grendel) Hunter Rose throws the champion match and meets the love of his life Jocasta Rose. (for those of you wondering, at this point in the story Hunter's name is Eddie. we never learn his real last name. After the death of Jocasta, Eddie takes on the name Hunter Rose.) This is a nice story that gives us a glimpse at the love that burnt between these two characters - so bright and so brief - and how it cam to influence Hunter Rose. Mack's art is good for the story, but nothing I've never seen before.

Not a bad read - a bit slow and low the body count. It fills in the a chapter only glossed over in Devil By the Deed.

Devil's Coup - Timothy Broadstreet

This story tells of how Grendel manipulated one of the highest ranking crime families in New York to do his bidding. The story itself is nothing new, it's the presentation I liked. The story is told through sections of newspaper clippings, shipping receipts and ship's manifests - like little clues that the reader must put together to get the whole story. The art compliments the story, giving further hints into the plot.

Good story, better execution.

Devil's Blessing - C. Scott Morse

This is probably my least favorite piece in this book. It's a story about a cleaning lady and her son witnessing a robbery that Grendel gets involved in. It reinforces the paradoxical blood-thirsty but compassionate Grendel. The art is lack luster and kind of muddy as it is done in water color.

Bland story, bland art.

Devil's Garden - Paul Chadwick

This is another character study of a secondary character in the Grendel world - Stacy Palumbo. He life is the real tragedy in the Hunter Rose cycle of Grendel. Her we get a glimpse of what her life is like on a regular day: a stroll though a garden, a lonely birthday party, a gala ball with Hunter, and a lonely night in a large empty house. Paul's art is just right for this story as the violence is at a minimum and the focus is more on the emptiness.

Good glimpse at Stacy's everyday life. Not much action, but this is a scene that needs to be there to make her actions in Devil By the Deed at the least understandable.

Man, I love this series. Even at its low points, I am left with a good story and a smile on my face. The body count gets bigger as this series moves on.

If you want to buy this, or any issue, of Grendel: Black, White and Red, you can get them here.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Grendel: Black, White and Red #1

Written by: Matt Wagner
Art by: See below

This is the first of four issues of Grendel: Black, White and Red, an anthology about the further exploits of the first Grendel, Hunter Rose. The art is done in stunning black white and red, allowing each artist to show off their skills for better or worse. I love anthology books like this. It's a comic full of shorter comics. What a bargain! This particular issue contains five short stories:

Devil's Advocate - Tim Sale

This twisted tale is about Grendel's personal lawyer. Tim Sales art, as always, is awesome and the story of a honorable man being twisted to Grendel's will really shows the character's ruthless nature.

Devil's Mate - D'Israeli

This is a nicely constructed parallel story: on one side we see Hunter teaching young Stacy the subtleties of chess and on the other we see Grendel breaking up a child prostitution ring. I enjoyed the story but I'm not really a fan of D'Isreali's art work so I left feeling a bit unimpressed.

Devil's Toll - John Paul Leon

This is a simple story of give and take between Grendel an a rival mob boss - I like the art, really dark and brooding, especially when Grendel takes the guy's finger. I also enjoy the three wide-screen panels per page and the use of single word captions as opposed to word bubbles. All around good stuff here.

Devil's Tongue - Duncan Ferredo

This story is just plain awesome; it's about a torture session with Grendel. The art is spectacular and the story is chilling. It shows just what a heartless bastard Grendel can be. A must read for any fan.

Devil's Thrush - Ho Che Anderson

This is definitely the weakest story in this issue. I HATE the art work; it is far too sketchy. The story is hard to follow and just plain mediocre. I would pass on it.

All in all, this was a worth while read.

That sums up the first issue of tales of the first incarnation of Grendel, Hunter Rose. For more of his exploits, keep reading. Copies of this issue can be purchased here.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Grendel: Devil By the Deed

Written by: Matt Wagner
Art by : Matt Wagner

Grendel: Devil By the Deed is one of my favorite comics, so I decided to start today by reading it. It's the story of a man and a monster both trying to gain the love of a little girl and control of New York City. It's a story of hidden agendas, a wolf, and a horrible betrayal. It is beautiful. Now I say that for many reasons. The art is stunning; it has an art deco feel to it that dominates the entire book.

To read this is like reading an illustrated novel. The whole story is told in caption boxes; there isn't a single word bubble. The story is about two cursed men: Argent, who's curse is ancient and has physically turned him into a monster and Hunter Rose, whose curse is more modern and best described as ennui. You see Rose excels at everything, so much to the point he dons a mask and the name Grendel to take over all organized crime in New York. And this is where he runs afoul of Argent, the wolf-man-cop who hunts him relentlessly.

I could go on and on about this story, but that isn't the point of this entry. The point is to tell people who have never read this book to go find a copy and read it. If you have read it, dust your copy off and give it a read. It's still just as good. It is a seminal work in sequential art and is often overlooked.

There is a whole lot more of Grendel to come and this is where the story all begins.

If you want to pick this up, buy it here.

Spoiler (highlight to read):

Hunter is betrayed by his young ward, Stacy, after she learns he killed her uncle. Hunter is then lured into a roof top battle with Argent. Argent ends up paralyzed and Hunter loses his life.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010


As some of you might not know, this coming Friday is my birthday. I've made a promise with myself for this coming year to read and review one comic book a day, as I own far too many to begin with. I know so far this is nothing to look at, but it will evolve as I spend more time at this. So, a little bit about me. I enjoy comics (of course) and books really of any sort; the stranger the better. I am currently in the middle Libra by Don DeLillo, Even Cowgirls Get the Blues by Tom Robbins and Titus Groan by Marvin Peake. I used to live in Oregon, but now live in Pennsylvania. I have a wife, a son and a dog.

I enjoy checklists more than anyone in their right mind should.

Well, it's Finn's bath time so I'm done for the day