By Ben Kahn, Bruno Hidalgo, James Peñafiel and Sal Cipriano
Gryffen #4 is a momentous end for the series’s second arc. There are battles of wit and of strength, colorful displays and surprising twists. Kahn and Hidalgo and a story to tell and nothing is going to get in its way. Being twelve pages or so per issue, they stay true to the main conflict while using it to reveal more about the characters. There may be a major galactic conflict going on, for instance, but that doesn’t mean our Captain Gryffen and their crew will stand idly by.
Picking up on the hype that the last issue left off, Telika begins Gryffen #4’s spotlight and subtly hands the baton off. It’s a deft transition that welcomes the rest of the cast into the fold and enhances the relationship between its members. This is one of those casts that you’d read just to spend time with, even if the fate of the universe wasn’t on their shoulders. You’re constantly wondering what Gryffen, Telika and Dao will do to get out of their latest jam; what will they come up with or, more often, what will come out of the Captain’s mouth next?
Nothing feels better than when your favorite character puts a bully in their place – so Gryffen #4 feels pretty great to read. Poignant dialogue between Gryffen and the Al-Haytham’s latest guest is funny and cathartic when they first meet and their resolution at the end of this issue is, somehow, even moreso. Kahn’s characterization of Rojon, the man trying to sacrifice all of Telika’s people, makes him perfectly punchable. Before this issue, he’s only appeared in a few panels. Yet, almost as soon as he shows his face (though stylishly drawn by Bruno Hidalgo) you’re right there with Telika and Gryffen ready to throw hands.
As always, Bruno Hidalgo turns this comic into a visual treat. In just about every comic of his we’ve reviewed, he’s played a major role in its success. His colors, his designs, his emotive lines – they all charge momentum and life into Gryffen #4. In a way, Hidalgo plays the soundtrack to every comic he draws. His animative lines are the bass line to Kahn’s already energetic scripting.
Gryffen #4 is another welcome helping of Ban Kahn and Bruno Hidalgo’s absurdly enjoyable team up. As their work together continues, it feels more and more like your favorite Saturday morning cartoon grew up while you weren’t watching and got much, much better. It’s quirky, it’s sci-fi and it’s a must-read.