Current Reviews


Grendel: Behold the Devil #8

Posted: Friday, June 20, 2008
By: Steven M. Bari

Matt Wagner
Matt Wagner
Dark Horse Comics
Plot: Hunter Rose, New Yorkís best selling crime novelist, is in reality Grendel, the bloodied hand that controls the crime world. After dispelling an evil curse on his head, Grendel can focus on important things like impaling a certain meddlesome reporter who have gotten to close to his secret identity.

Commentary: I lied. He doesnít impale the guy. But what Grendel does in this last issue of Grendel: Behold the Devil is vicious, disgusting and spine-tingling sadistic fun! Nonetheless, Wagner doesnít fill this issue which much and looking back on it makes one realize how so.

Nine out of the twenty-two pages of this comic is devoted to either two page spreads or splash pages, where six out of the nine have either less than five words or none at all. Although this doesnít necessarily affect the pacing of the story, it does kind of irk me that I paid 4 bucks for a comic with substantially less in it than previous issues.

Now that Iíve gotten that petit bourgeois fret out of the way, I loved this ending. It tied up all the loose ends and made use of all the preceding plot devices and characters to do so. Wagner uses the reporter Lucas Ottomanís interview footage, excerpt from Christine Sparís book Devil by the Deed, and the return of Roseís criminal confidant Larry Stohler, to bring the drama to a close.

Ottomanís footage, which was used to give context to his search for a connection between Rose and Grendel, is used here to set build the tension toward the climax. Ottoman now has the last piece to tie Rose to Grendel, but Grendel knows the sneaky reporter is on to him. These first four pages, which includes the footage and Grendel burning his diaries, puts these two men face to face for the first time in eight issues. What happens? Youíll have to see for yourself!

Similarly, Sparís excerpt is used differently, where it has been used as exposition and even as a dialogue with Roseís diaries. Here it is resolution, the final word on Hunter Roseís life after the events of Behold the Devil. It neatly, but ingenuously gives the reader all they need to while admitting not to necessarily understand the context of this information. After all, Christine Spar isnít reading Behold the Devil. Sheís uncovering as much information as she can get about Grendel and trying to piece it together like a jigsaw puzzle. Yet, there pieces she can neither understand nor ever begin to know about (i.e. the curse on Grendelís head). Therefore, Wagner provides a clean resolution without unrealistic omniscience.

If you have been following along, this issue will not leave you disappointed. For those who havenít, either wait for the trade paperback or find yourself some back issues, but get your hands on this exciting, bloody cat and mouse game.

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