Monday, November 17, 2008

Retro Review #1 - Batman / Grendel

A few weeks back I was strolling through Barnes and Noble, as I do sometimes when bored, and I noticed this trade on the shelf. Batman / Grendel...I thought : Batman is good and Grendel is good so this must be great. You know what? I was totally right.

This trade paperback (cover price $19.95) collects two seperate storylines, one featuring the original Grendel Hunter Rose and one featuring the futuristic cyborg Grendel Prime. Both stories are entertaining but I have a nostalgic bias towards the original Grendel.

You can clearly see the evolution of creator Matt Wagner's artistic ability between the two stories. The first meeting between Hunter Rose and Bruce Wayne is perfect and their meetings and battles as Batman and Grendel are excellent. For those that don't know, these are very similar characters. Grendel is basically Batman if he had little to no moral code and decided to run the mafia as a masked killer. The attitudes of the two characters could not be more different though. Batman sees his patrols and crimefighting as vengeance for his parents, whereas Grendel sees what he does as a game or an interesting pasttime.

The second story is also good and shows what the legacy of Grendel spawns in the future. Like I said, the art is much improved in the second half but I still prefer the story in the first half.

An interesting and enjoyable read and worth picking up if you like either of these characters. My only little complaint is that the "handwritten" Hunter Rose text is a bit hard to read but you get used to it.

- Jason (all best-selling novelists are secretly brutal killers)

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