Sunday, February 04, 2007

Graphic Novel A Day: Grendel Tales: The Devil May Care

Writer: Terry Laban
Artist: Peter Doherty
Company: Dark Horse Comics
Price: $19.95

I've read most of the Grendel Tales series, the ones that came when Matt Wagner opened up the post-apocalyptic world of Grendel for other readers. In general, they were great reads, and this one, a rare story that I hadn't already read, was no exception. This time in, writer Terry Laban and artist Peter Doherty focus in on a nurse trying to run a hospital in Indianapolis, where the corrupt Grendel warlord system has turned the Indianapolis 500 into a barbaric ritual that is pretty much the only reason the city still exists. Like all of the Grendel stories, it has a nihilistic tone to it, and it's definitely a tragedy, but the characters are fascinating, the plot and its many twists gripping and Doherty's art really beautiful, reminiscent of Wagner's stuff but clearly his own style. Doherty, a Judge Dredd artist, clearly knows his way around futuristic violence. It occurred to me in reading this book that Grendel has a real Shakespearean feel to it in many ways, with doomed or forbidden love and a corrupt, often brutal feudal system at its heart.

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