Reading “Grifter” #4 reminded me of another book from the DC re-launch that I read last month, but it took me a minute or two to figure out which. Then it hit me: “Grifter” and “Voodoo,” both Wildstorm refugees, have had guest-appearances by an established DC hero with a name that begins with the word “Green.” “Voodoo” got Green Lantern, and now “Grifter” is getting Green Arrow. And in both cases, it feels a bit pointless.
I did appreciate that “Grifter” at least pulled in a non-powered superhero for the guest-appearance. Having the daemonites possessing people in “Grifter” being the most powerful creatures in the book is an important balance of power, so it was a good call on using Green Arrow here. But aside from firmly establishing “Grifter” as being part of the DC Universe, I’m not sure it accomplished that much.
The confrontation between Grifter and Green Arrow is right out of Superhero Team-Ups 101 (with the inevitable mistrust between the pair), and while there’s at least a hint that this might be leading to something greater, judging this issue on its own it feels a bit lackluster. In general, the fast-paced thrill of “who can you trust?” has also dropped out of the series a bit. It’s what worked well in the writing for the first three issues, providing us that suspense story that zipped along merrily. Now it just feels like another superhero comic.
CAFU has unfortunately left the role of artist on “Grifter,” and his gorgeous art will definitely be missed. Fortunately they’ve chosen Scott Clark and Dave Beaty to replace him, and Clark’s pencils are not that far off of CAFU’s style. The big, thick locks of hair on Grifter’s head reminded me a lot of CAFU’s approach to the comic, and while Grifter is a little too muscle-bound in some scenes (as in, it looks like Grifter’s been hitting some serious steroids) there are moments where it all clicks together perfectly. The panel where Green Arrow de-masks Grifter, for instance, just looks beautiful. I like the texture that Clark is providing, but if he can just remember that Grifter isn’t super-strong and doesn’t need quite so many tendons popping out of his legs and neck, we’ll be good.
“Grifter” isn’t a bad book, but it’s starting to feel like it’s losing what made the first couple of issues special. Hopefully this is just a temporary misstep and we’ll be back up to speed again next month. For the first issue penciled by Clark instead of CAFU, though, it’s an unfortunate moment for Clark to come on board. We’ve had better.