Review: You Don’t Chop Up A Blood Demon In ‘Grit #2’

by Malissa White

Mushroom caps crawl the trees of the Blood Soaked Grove. Here, dark fantasy and pulp blend in the timeless lands just south of civilization. Made a monster by his fellow humans, it seems only Barrow is capable of handling the real terrors of this world. For a price, that is.

Grit #2. Cover Art by Kevin Castaniero.

Written by Brian Wickman, Grit is sparse on dialogue and heavy on visual storytelling. Not that we need Barrow to do much talking; artist Kevin Castaniero communicates through Barrows’ furrowed brow. I particularly love the juxtaposition in his hard-nosed machismo: Barrow’s flat face feels cliff-like in the sharp angled points of his nose and eyebrows, yet through it we see the range of his emotions. 
Grit #2. Preview Page.

That hard-nose lands him into trouble in Grit #2. After landing axe first in a summoning circle while on a job, Barrow finds himself facing off against a magnificently imagined blood demon. A chop or dozen later, bemoaning his shit luck and pay, he finds himself at the mercy of a Bog Witch. But before he can punch his way out, Ari, a mysterious shrub shepherd with a vine to pick, pulls him out of danger for a full dressing down. Looks like Barrow isn’t the only one with skill in these parts.
Grit #2. Preview Page.

Colorist Simon Gough’s watercolors bleed and sprinkle the pages beyond panel borders. The heavy wash of marshy greens and brown blacks of the swamp trees create a sense of dense heaviness, reminding me of humidity and the smell of wet dirt. I especially loved the transition into the Bog Witch’s poisoned dream state, how the greens shift to a gray blue punctuated by washed and speckled black. Evoking a sense of being underwater, Gough played nicely on the Bog mother parallels established by Wickman, and capitalized on Castaniero’s characteristic artwork.
Grit #2. Preview Page.

Another star in this series is Micah Myers on letters. The Bog Witch’s blue and yellow bubbles were such a wonderful surprise to the usual black bubble, I did a second take. The lettering choice also uses runic O’s that play to her Gaelic mythos. When we get to the end, we do return to a black bubble. Yet, used here, it reminds us who the big bad in this story arch really is. Grachiel’s scratching chiller-esque font is more than enough to catch the eye. 
Grit #2. Preview Page.

Grit in many ways pays homage to and deconstructs the hard-man of a certain bygone era. These men are wicked in their own right, as Wickman’s townsmen discuss in issue #1. Yet, I get the distinct feeling in Grit that fighting monsters, the real monsters, makes you a bit of a monster yourself. And, perhaps, what we think of as monstrous is only that which we misunderstand. If that’s true, Barrow and Ari are exactly the monsters we need. Though, how exactly remains to be seen.
Grit #2. Preview Page.

Grit #2 is written by Brian Wickman, with art by Kevin Castaniero, colors by Simon Gough and letters by Micah Myers. Be sure to check out the exclusive variants, too! There’s a Goran Gligović variant cover so good, you’ll want it framed. Get your copy on Scout Comics or from your local shop!

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