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Grimjack: Killer Instinct #4

Posted: Thursday, May 26, 2005
By: Jason Cornwell



Writer: John Ostrander
Artist: Timothy Truman

Publisher: IDW Publishing


Plot: As Grimjack does battle with a band of ninja mimes who prove to be far more dangerous that the average street performer, his efforts to stay alive don't go unnoticed, and he has to make a quick retreat when the vampire who owns the club storms into the room. Jo then decides to help Grimjack enjoy a bit of well deserved downtime as she takes him to Munden's Bar, and through a series of unusual events Grimjack ends up owning this establishment.

Comments: How can one not love a comic that has its hero doing battle with a legion of ninja mimes? John Ostrander deserves extra credit for actually making these silent killers out to be quite dangerous, as one actually can believe Grimjack is in real danger. In fact, if there's one thing that John Ostrander has done extremely well on this miniseries, it has been to offer up action where Grimjack's victories don't look guaranteed. I wish more of today's writers were able to deliver this illusion as this does seem to be an elusive quality in many titles. The writers seem a little too invested in playing up the strengths of their heroes that they forget the most exciting battles are the ones where the hero's victory isn't set in stone. I love that Grimjack has to struggle for each and every victory, and the wide variety of the threats that he faces also helps to keep this book interesting. The very nature of this book provides for a very impressive sandbox for John Ostrander to play with. Now this issue makes it pretty clear that this miniseries is set before the original series began, and as such some of the dramatic tension is removed, as we know Grimjack has to survive in order to star in the monthly series, but this doesn't mean the miniseries can't still offer up some unexpected surprises, as we discover how Grimjack came to be the owner of Munden's bar. The story developments that result in this outcome were a lot of fun. There's also a pretty solid bit of writing on the final page, as Grimjack discovers that not everyone welcomes a candid assessment of their personality. Still, the opening battle with the ninja mimes was more than enough to earn this issue a recommendation, so having the rest of the issue be equally engaging was the icing on the cake.

Timothy Truman deserves a lion's share of the credit for the success of the ninja mimes, as not only are these killers quite unsettling visually, but the art also captures the gimmick, as I loved that panel where Grimjack's bullets were bouncing off the invisible wall. There's also a pretty nice sequence where the vampire club owner discovers that Grimjack has been busy upstairs, as the panel where she storms up the stairwell sells the idea that Grimjack had best be making tracks. The art also does some nice work on the facial expressions when the character visits Munden's Bar as there's a cute little moment where Jo reacts to the arrival of her ex-husband, and I also enjoyed Grimjack's reaction shot to when Jo declares she's married. I also enjoyed the battle in the final pages, as Grimjack has to step in to rescue Jo from a gang of gangster demons. The cover visual also nicely reflects the action inside, as the ninja mimes are captured in all their unsettling glory.



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