15th Jun2017

‘Grass Kings #3′ & ‘The Unsound #1′ Review

by Dan Clark

Grass Kings #3

grass-kings-3

Written by Matt Kindt | Art by Tyler Jenkins | Published by Boom Studios

Matt Kindt and Tyler Jenks are building something special with Grass Kings. This is a book with so much unique character to it. Only three issues in and this world already has a lot of texture due in large part to the opening epilogs of each issue. Outside of the foreshadowing, it also gives a time and place to this unique location. We find out more about this world bit by bit and what it took to get to current status quo.

For a third issue, it is impressive how well so many of these characters are established. Kindt has dedicated the majority of these first issues to conversations. Whether it’s people talking about their desire to watch real cinema or what happened to their missing child a lot of exposition has been spouted in a rather organic way.

With this issue, we get some major developments and a clear picture of what our first major conflict will be. Big Dan has snuck onto the Grasslands to cause trouble but may find more than he was planning, and we also discover who the identity of the woman Robert pulled out of the lake. It is a discovering that will have major ramifications for sure.

Tyler Jenkins’s art is  beautiful and does a lot to construct the character of this book.  As stated he is working with a lot of dialogue focused scenes and makes it work through his character designs and animation. Much of the personality of these characters is a direct result of his designs, which is similar to the atmosphere of this story. His lighting techniques are effective at giving each scene a distinct time and place.

Matt Kindt has had quite the year for himself with his work on this book as well as his work for Valiant. Grass Kings is not a title I hear enough people talking about and that is quite a shame. It may be a slower paced story but it is one that has a much bigger audience than it is currently getting. Those who read past Jeff Lemire titles like Essex County will find much to enjoy with this series.

**** 4/5

The Unsound #1

the-unsound-1

Written by Cullen Bunn | Art by Jack Cole | Published by Boom Studios

Current comics are filled with a lot of quality horror books. Cullen Bunn’s own Harrow County may be the very best. Nearly all of them are from indie titles as most of the big two attempts have not quite hit the mark. Cullen Bunn recently attempted to unleash monsters earlier this year but the series felt like it was weighed down by editorial decisions. That becomes even more evident when Bunn gets a series like The Unsound that allows him to flex his horror story muscle.

One of the common complaints with horror is that it can often be formulaic. The Unsound does not disprove that theory. A story set it a possibly haunted mental institution is not going to get any points for an original location. As the groundwork for this series is getting placed it is not difficult to see where this story is going, but despite being predictable the execution is quite strong.

The story centers on Ashli and her first day at Wiermont Psychiatric Hospital. On her first day, she does something super horrific by showing up late. As her day goes on she seems to see stranger and stranger things that have her questioning her own sanity. The hospital itself has its own storied history. Previously shut down for lack of funding it is now making a comeback, but the cost of its return may be more dire than intended.

It all starts with the proper pacing of this issue. Bunn gives us the gradual build that makes you forget you are reading a horror book at first. Bit by bit it is evident something is not quite right. That gradual pace is quickly escalated with the last few panels as we come face to face with how truly insane this medical institution. Bunn is like the pitcher who is just on a role. Locating his pitches exactly where he wants them so he has us expecting a curveball but instead, we get a fastball straight down the middle that leaves us standing still.

**** 4/5

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