Chopping Block Review: Grendel Omnibus Volume 2
Review by Nolan P. Smith-Pastrami Nation
Writer: Matt Wagner, Diana Schutz
Artists: Matt Wagner, Tim Sale, Arnold and Jacob Pander, and Bernie Mireault
Publisher: Dark Horse Comics
Release Date: December 2012
FOR MATURE READERS
In the first omnibus for Grendel, which I reviewed here on Pastrami Nation, we read about Hunter Rose, the original Grendel. A cold, calculating killer for hire, behind the mask was one of the smartest men in the world, as well as an award winner author. Sadly, the story of Hunter Rose seemingly ended with the first omnibus: so what’s in this second omnibus? It’s the story of Stacy, the young girl Hunter took in, and her daughter, Christine Spar. Wait, what?
Story: Stacy was a strange young girl who became orphaned after her Grendel killed her caretaker, so her life wasn’t all that grand to begin with. Well, we see what happened to Stacy before the epic Grendel/Argent dual, as well as what happened after, and far after. So far that most of the book has to do with Christine Spar, the daughter of Stacy. The Grendel legacy is something of the past, but his mark was left on society nonetheless. So much that Christine takes on the mantle after a series of tragic events occurs.
This book is primarily Christine’s story, but there is some crucial backstory to Stacy and what was going on in her mind throughout her life. Tujiro XIV, a vampire Kabuki dancer, is one of the main antagonist for Spar, as well as the wolf Argent, who is still alive this far in the future, but more decrepit. Aiding Argent is Captain Wiggins, a detective that is a thorn in the side of Spar as well. We even get a glimpse at another would be Grendel, but he makes a lot less of an impact in the Grendel legacy than Spar.
Art: Matt Wagner, the creator of Grendel, provides some artwork here, but it is his cohorts that take up much of this massive omnibus. Tim Sale, known for notable work at both DC Comics and Marvel, crafts a creepy, haunting tale of Stacy Palumbo, and how life never got easier for her as time went by. The Panders provide the artwork for Spar’s story, create a slightly futuristic story with a clearly 80’s vibe to it. Blocky body shapes, odd choices in color, it all screams the 80’s, which makes sense since it was originally published in 1988.
Overall: I was blow away by the first omnibus, and halfway through this second volume, I was once again in awe of the quality storytelling I found. The Christine Spar story, however, did lose some of the allure found in past Grendel stories. Nonetheless, this is a great addition to the Grendel legacy, and for the low price of the omnibus, it should be a must buy for comic book fans. Highly Recommended, I give the Grendel Omnibus: Volume 2 a solid **** out of 5.