The first issues of DC’s “Faces of Evil” event hit stands this week. Immediately, I found myself recalling the New Year’s Evil event from the late 1990s with eager anticipation. Presented as a one-shot, this issue promised a gripping tale of the adventures of Solomon Grundy. Except it is not a one-shot. It’s more like a zero issue. One-shots, to me, are done-in-one. This issue, most decidedly, was not, right down to the “Don’t miss Solomon Grundy #1 in March!” blurb. But isn’t this Solomon Grundy #1? No, it’s not. It’s “Faces of Evil: Solomon Grundy #1” a situation almost as murky as the depths of Grundy’s origin.
The story itself was no shocking revelation. Grundy is reborn, again, as he has been since his first appearance in “All-American Comics” #61. This time, however, Grundy wants to end the cycle of dying and being reborn. Grundy, in this version, is super strong and moderately intelligent. He is aware of his grotesque actions and the resultant consequences.
Kolins and Johns clearly have a passion for this character, otherwise I doubt this issue would have ever been commissioned, let alone published. It is their passion for the character that brings life to this swamp zombie. Grundy is no longer a shambling shadow of a muck monster, nor is he DC’s answer to the Hulk. He is a man possessed. Intrigued and driven by his own murder, Kolins and Johns set Grundy upon a path that will, undoubtedly, cover a larger corner of the DC Universe (of course Alan Scott makes an appearance, as does a fellow Stranger than most) than that which appears in the pages of this issue.
Kolins art is tailor-made for this character. When inking himself, Kolins gains a murkiness about his renderings, which befits Cyrus Gold in these new adventures. Hi-Fi’s coloring, however, muddies the waters a bit, as Grundy goes from his pale ghastliness to a “normal” flesh tone seemingly without explanation.
Tack on the Hulk-like reversion to a slighter build and this story has some murkiness of its own which is not readily addressed here. Grundy can be a compelling character, as can any character, given the right motivation and creative support. Johns and Kolins appear to be the right team, I just hope they can finish this story in a more self-contained manner.