Review Grifter #2 by Nathan Edmondson and CAFU

I’m somewhat surprised as to why I chose to purchase Grifter this month. It was a decent comic book, but there were others that were just as decent. I mean generally I have liked the antics of the Grifter character in the past, but it existed more as my “I like cook mercenaries with kick-ass costumes” comic book period, rather than the “I want quality writing” period.

But there is something to be said for having the complete freedom to take a new approach. Lex Luthor must have a presence in the Superman titles. Batman must be the defender of Gotham City. The Legion of Superheroes must be an intergalactic police force.

But when you are rebooting a character like Grifter, whose heyday was probably 15 years ago, you have total freedom to recreate the character however you like. So I guess that freedom, that feeling that I don’t know where Edmondson is taking the character, is appealing enough to bring me back.

Grifter #2: The Advantage Angle
Writer: Nathan Edmondson |Pencils: CAFU

In the first episode of Grifter, we were introduced to Cole Cash a conman operating in New Orleans who gets abducted by some sort of alien/demon creature, where he seems to have lost 17 days of his life. Once he is freed, people who are possessed by the same alien/demon creatures try to attack and kill him, but Cole is able to detect them and fight back. In the course of defending himself, he kills two possessed humans and is on the lam. In Washington, Cole’s brother is sent out to track him down.

Synopsis

  • Cole convinces his partner Gretchen to meet him at a coffee house and explain what happened, when he is attacked by a possessed police officer.
  • Cole incapacitates the cop, but Gretchen leaves him at the coffee house. Cole steals a police car, and drives away putting on his mask.
  • At the Pentagon, a Sgt. Brooke shows the Colonel (from issue #1) the tapes from the airplane where Grifter killed the people, and they notice some strange interference.
  • Gretchen pickpockets a man and boards a train to Gotham City, ignoring telephone calls from Cole.
  • Driving down the road towards Baton Rouge, Cole’s car is shot by his brother. Cole and Max have a gun fight on the side of the road.

Questions and Answers

Answer: The creatures doing the possessing are indeed Daemonites.

Answer: Cole Cash was in a special ops group in the military.

Question: Why did Cole leave the military, but his brother stayed?

Question: What are the Black Files that are mentioned by Sargent Brooke.

Question: Who is this Owen that the Colonel was talking to?

Analysis

So, we mention Daemonites on the cover, but their name isn’t used in the comic book at all. I mean the name is familiar enough to me, but wouldn’t it make more sense to save the name reveal, and keep us guessing until you want to show us who and what the Daemonites are?

Grifter is supposedly a conman, but apparently he really cares about Gretchen. So, either this relationship is extremely one sided, or Cole isn’t good at reading people at all. You don’t get the sense that Cole doesn’t have any options and MUST turn to Gretchen. But he feels that he owes her an explanation. That sounds like an intimate relationship, and she just turns and bails on him. Cuts bait.

And somehow she has no problem stealing people out of their hard-earned (or even hard-stolen) money, but has a strict morality when it comes to killing people. Don’t get me wrong, there is a difference, but to see someone who is a professional thief take a moral stand is peculiar.

There had better be a reason to give us more of the Gretchen character. I mean she’s alright, but we certainly got a lot of her, for a character who seems like she is going to be forgotten in the very near future. The diner scene, sure that may be very important, but if she doesn’t show up in the next few episodes then I would definitely question the boarding the train sequence in the grand scheme of things.

For the second month in a row, we get no explanation of the Grifter mask whatsoever. This is the most ridiculous when he steals the car, and then dons the mask for some unknown reason. Why? Does it provide better visibility when driving the highways of Louisiana? Not very sure here.

Okay, I’ve looked a few times now, and I do NOT see Cole’s brother at the Diner. Cole says he sees his brother, but I don’t see it! I’m hoping it’s my lack of attention to detail, and not missing art.

The comic book had poor art breakdowns or storyboards during the gun battle, where Cole shoots at his brother and is able to shoot a bullet into the firing chamber of Max’s gun, rendering it useless. Okay, I can live with that little bit of comic book physics. The problem is that when Cole shoots at Max, the artwork does not show that Max is in Cole’s line of sight at all. Cole shoots, and the next panel is Max hiding behind the car.

And then there’s a standoff with only a police car between Cole and Max, and Max looks down at his gun. When Max looks up Cole has disappeared. Gone! He is completely out of frame. And now we’re in an open area, and Cole is suddenly off panel. There’s no way that Cole could run so far that Max would not be able he could at least make the effort of trying to catch him. This is especially true as Max is still with the army.

Verdict

All in all, this did nothing to decrease my interest in Grifter, but it also didn’t do anything to increase it. I keep waiting for answers and character progression, but I’m not getting it. I’m probably in for another month, but I need to see something soon, or else this title is going on the scrap heap.

5.5 (Above Average but nothing special)

Tags: , , , , ,