I’d actually got this before release date, but work got ahead of me. Once again, thanks to Kurtis J Wiebe for sending it over. Read on to find out what I thought!
If I haven’t mentioned this before – with clever titles like Peter Panzerfaust and Grim Leaper, one would thing that Wiebe thinks up his titles before his stories. Great news is, far from being distracting, the stories are enhanced by the titles. I can’t put my finger on it, but man, I’m enjoying what Kurtis is coming up with.
So we’re back into the “lives” of Lou and Ella again. We follow Lou, who at the end of issue #1 isn’t dead (again), but instead living the life of whatever current body he’s possessing. The news is all over the death of Goth-Ella before Lou finds out the name of the body she inhabited – Sheila Potter. With that, he’s going to be able to find Ella somehow – is he?
Kurtis does a great job with issue 2, and by the end of it we’re halfway through the mini-series (4 issues only? Man …). Things weave in and out the new life (lives) that Lou inhabits, but at not point does it get dull, especially since Lou’s seemingly meant to jump into lives at a crossroads. Lou solving other people’s problems? It’s really quite a nice touch, given that he doesn’t have to – and seeing how the decisions he makes affects him strengthens the tale.
Artist Aluisio Santos ups his game here, working very well with an (extremely) rotating cast of characters. His art, especially once it gets violence, reminds me of a certain Robert Crumb. Things can get a little uncomfortably gruesome at times, but it works as a great counterpoint to the extremely lucid and used to it Lou.
What doesn’t work, oddly, is how the central premise revolves around this town that’s now being plagued by a series of unfortunate events. This is integral to the series, but considering that Lou himself has died thirteen times before the start of the first issue, I’d think people in this town would be running for their lives. Maybe it’s set in a huge city like New York – but even then the horrific nature of each accident would be cause for concern for all citizens, especially the more superstitious. This is a sticking point for me, but if you can get past this, there’s a strong tale right there.
Add to that a little bit of deus ex machina – and there you have it. Grim Leaper’s a fun ride – it’s not perfect, but Wiebe and Santos work well together and I’m excited to see how this goes.