GRIT #3, available from Scout Comics on September 16th, pits Barrow against Ari in a competition to see who can beat the Blood Demon first. Brian Wickman’s story takes the concept of the lone wolf and gives it a twist that ends with a refreshingly human reaction.
Kevin Castaniero’s cover sets up the issue perfectly. Ari believes the Blood Demon was never truly vanquished and picks up the hunt where Barrow left off. Barrow, not wanting to be shown up for failing his job, follow suit. The Blood Demon uses every tool at its disposal, including the townspeople, to stop the hunters. All that can read from this one cover, and Castaniero nails it.
Writing [No Spoilers]
Wickman’s continuation of Barrow’s hunt leans heavily into the old adage: “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks.” Barrow is feeling his age, and Ari’s constant challenges to Barrow’s capabilities aggravate Barrow’s stubbornness and push him to recklessness. In the end, Barrow is forced to question whether or not he’s too old to keep hunting.
The ending of Wickman’s story was swift but extremely potent. Too often, the grizzled hunter is stereotyped into a caricature of invincibility. Unflappable. Unstoppable. Here, Wickman chose a different path that’s much more relatable and opens up a wider possibility for storytelling in the following issues.
You can tell Castaniero had fun pushing the comedic elements of the story much more in this issue than previously. Barrow’s exaggerated attention to scat in his attempt to track the demon. Ari’s bizarre plant magic attacks that de-possess the possessed. And Barrow’s bare hint of a smile as he’s enticed to buy some unsavory looking street food. It’s these little touches that layer on dark humor charm to the issue.
In stark contrast, Castaniero’s designs for the blood demon and the big battle are tense and horrific. The juxtaposition of the humorous shows of bravado from both Barrow and Ari, combined with the deadly urgent action sequences, makes for an exciting and thoroughly enjoyable issue.
Simon Gough continues to make a very powerful choice with the coloring by keeping everything restrained in as many earth tones as possible. When the Blood Demon shows itself, the red stands out shockingly and with a much higher impact. The coloring signifies that the Blood Demon doesn’t belong in this world, and it projects an unnatural element to the character—nice work by Gough.
Micah Myers’ lettering is most notable here for the imaginative creation of sound effects that have no analog in the real world. Myers dreams up a Blood Demon manifesting through vomit and seed pods that explode on impact. All through very imaginative, and at times gross, sound effects that match the tone and spirit of the issue. Great work by Myers.
GRIT #3, available from Scout Comics on September 16th, takes the story of the old dog being shown up by the young upstart and gives it a fresh coat of paint. The writing has plenty of rise and fall to keep the reader engaged, and the stylized artwork marries to the story perfectly. A strong series so far from Scout.