This book is god damn beautiful. Grass Kings #3 opens as the past two issues have, with a flashback. It’s stunning. The sunset, the reflections on the cars, the complete lack of dialogue…this is a book where the art steps up and takes the wheel at times, and Matt Kindt is smart enough to let them slow burn every single page with watercolors.
Writer: Matt Kindt
Artist: Jim Campbell
Publisher: BOOM! Studios
We’re not told who this bootlegger crew is, or why they’re killing each other, and it doesn’t matter. This is the true face of the Grass Kingdom–blood, theft, and graft all rolled into one, and all displayed gorgeously, no matter how destructive the subject matter is.
This is just the prologue. That blood leaking out of our dead bootlegger? That’s the same blood red as the sky. The Grass Kingdom is a bloody place.
Meanwhile, the modern story continues to heat up.
We’ve got a “Kingdom” of people in a cold war with the town next door, a mysterious woman who’s shown up in this free zone, a leader drinking himself to death over the loss of his daughter years before, and a wide cast of strange live free or die-type characters.
Tensions are rising on both sides, and now the identity of this mystery woman threatens to bring about open war.
The character studies are designed well, to bring sympathy and underdog status to the Grass Kingdom’s subjects while still letting you keep in mind that all of these people are trapped on this spit of land because they’re all breaking the law. This is their last stop, the corner they’ve been backed into–or maybe backed into themselves.
You all know what happens when you back something with nothing to lose into a corner right? They lash out. They lash out, and that’s exactly what the powers that be who want this blight on their land gone want to happen.
So is this woman here because she needs help? Is she here to be the spark in the keg that makes this cold war hot as the sun? Could she be the missing girl? All is left very up in the air, just like how real life unfolds. Every character really feels like they have a legitimate reason for their backstory, or for their reluctance to explain everything to us, the lowly reader.
Stellar art, slow storytelling allowing characters to find themselves, and a setting unlike most I’ve read is bringing this book into my must-read pile every month.
There’s a reason why #1 sold out. Snag #3 before it’s gone.