A review a day: <i>Grune</i> #2

It's time for A Review A Day: The Sequel!!!!!

Back in May, I reviewed Zack Giallongo's Grune, and Giallongo was nice enough to send the second issue along to me. To recap that first issue quickly: Three companions, refugees in a war-torn land, come across a creature called a Grune in the aftermath of a battle. The Grune sits silently, and doesn't resist when the three - Gilda the big-time warrior, Rolan the tactician, and Varli, who ... well, she's cute.

And she has compassion for the Grune. Gilda wants to kill it, but they decide to take him to an outpost and maybe get a reward. In issue #1, they're attacked by "wayracs," which look a bit like Jeff Smith's stupid, stupid rat creatures, and they manage to fight them off. So that's pretty much where issue #2 begins.

This issue, I should point out, is 15 pages long. So it can't, by necessity, give us a lot, but Giallongo does a nice job packing a lot into it. Rolan is trying to communicate with the Grune, but Gilda still thinks they should kill it, especially because the soldiers at the outpost will do that anyway. Varli remains wildly naïve, not realizing what Gilda means when she says the soldiers will "finish" the Grune, but that doesn't matter for very long, because they're attacked from underground by a giant crab/bug thing - an "osi," specifically. The Grune attacks Gilda, who appears to be possessed and has attacked her friends, and then he kills the osi. It turns out that not only can he talk (his name is Zuu), but he can explain - the osi hypnotize things to fight for them, specifically the Grunes. Zuu can resist because his brain doesn't work right, and he also tells Gilda the osi can only hypnotize you if, deep down, you want to do what it wants, implying that Gilda wanted to kill her companions.

She also lets us know why she hates the Grunes - they killed everyone in her "sisterhood," inexplicably leaving her alive. So she's willing to not be enemies with the Grune, and the issue ends with their uneasy alliance.

It's a nice, exciting little story, and although it finishes with "the end," Giallongo writes that he is doing another issue, plus he's apparently working on a graphic novel for First Second Books that takes place in the same world, so there's that. Good for him, I say - while it's tough to really review these two issues as the story is only 25 pages and feels truncated, what's not in question is Giallongo's very solid art. He has a very nice sense of design, both of the human figures and the giant crab thing, and he lays out the pages very well. While his writing is decent, his storytelling - through the layouts and the facial expressions - is very good. These two issues (plus Giallongo's other project, Novasett Island) work less as complete stories and more as tastes of what Giallongo can do. So far, it's apparent that he has a lot of talent, and it will be interesting to see if he can write a longer story as well as he can draw a short one.

Saturday (due to new comics being pushed back, I'm skipping tomorrow so I can publish those reviews): Shaolin monks! Yay, ass-kicking monks!

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