By Matt Kindt, Tyler Jenkins, and Jim Campbell
Sometimes the universe conspires against you and entangles you with someone else that will drastically change your life, whether you want it to or not. Robert and Bruce in Grass Kings are discovering this in issue #3 as the mysterious woman reveals her identity. Her arrival absolutely means bad news for everyone that gets wrapped up with her like fog suffocating the land.
Matt Kindt’s story in issue #3 has taken off as we learn who the young woman is and where she comes from. From the moment she reveals her identity the reader feels grounded in this world. It acts as a legend that brings clarity to a once unmarked map. Unfortunately for the characters, the maps seems to only lead towards more tragedy; the events of this issue have almost guaranteed that. Kindt’s dialogue is done impressively well, but the panels that just have a one word or a short statement are the most impactful. It says a lot about Kindt’s storytelling prowess that he is able to tell so much through the expressions, actions, and artwork, which leaves the dialogue to be much more natural and less exposition filled. This issue’s ending builds to its culmination over three pages. It’s a magnificent flow from one panel to the next awash in bright yet ominous color tones. The final five panels work as a smooth camera zoom into a nice reveal. It feels like foreshadowing for the future of the Grass Kings.
Tyler Jenkins’ art in Grass Kings continues to be gorgeous. The work that he has done gives it so much atmosphere, it makes the story come alive. The line work is borderline minimalist, but that is really all that’s needed. Jenkins has done an excellent job at using the character’s body language to communicate what they are feeling in the moment. The colors, though, are what really make this book work. The watercolor washes add depth and texture to each surface. Fog or smoke seems to waft and blood spatters like spray flying off a paint brash tip. The palette choice is perfect and really draw the reader into each moment. Of note are a couple of scenes set in the waning light of the end of the day that are beautifully colored. The inking adds a lot of sharp textures to trees and messiness to hair and the panel layout complement the story well, giving it a very cinematic feel with lots of wide shots. Even the panels that aren’t as wide feel like a movie as they are a bit taller than many traditional comic book panels. There is a page of flashbacks that is nicely done in monotone washes and a switch in lettering style that make it feel cold and detached, as if the memories leave the character numb. The artwork style itself has become a main character in this book. Without it, the reader would not connect as deeply to the story as they do.
Overall Grass Kings continues to go above and beyond just a another story. It is a must read. Kindt and Jenkins make a spectacular team that draws the reader in just as much as the universe has entrapped Robert and Bruce.