If you’re not familiar with comic book writer Kurtis J. Weibe, don’t worry; you will be soon. There’s no doubt he’s one of the freshest new voices in comics, first debuting his creator-owned series about the afterlife in Green Wake, and most recently delivering a new take on Peter Pan through the prism of World War II in Peter Panzerfaust. His new miniseries, Grim Leaper is akin to his previous work, most notably because it’s an interesting idea that is completely fresh. Oh, did I mention it’s a quirky love story intertwined with the weird world of reincarnation? Fresh is one thing, but Is It Good?
Grim Leaper #1 (of 4) (Image)
You’ll quickly find this book shocks the senses on every page, but mostly in a good way. The first surprise is the art. Colors, pencils and even letters are done by Aluísio C. Santos who is an artist I’m not familiar with. His style is a definite shock, largely because it’s so different from anything I’ve seen before. It’s very reminiscent of graffiti art, due to the color flourishes and chaos in each panel.
Notice the lighting around the figures.
The second idiosyncrasy is the story, which spends most of its time explaining the protagonist’s lot in life. The man dies over and over and every time he dies he comes back to life assuming control of the body of another person in his hometown. It’s clear there’s going to be a “Kenny” vibe to this book, since the way the character dies appears to be a punchline that will be reused.
I’m so TIRE-d of decapitations. You see what I did there?
So is this simply Groundhog Day in a comic book? Not so fast, as there is an added fish out of water element, since the character assumes a new body and must figure it out each time he dies. It appears something is out to get him as things are flung at him and buses attempt to run him over at every turn.
Now that is a trippy looking street.
I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention that this is in fact a love story, and the main plot device definitely adds an extra complication to finding your true love. What if you found your true love, but she keeps dying and changes bodies just as you do? How do you find her? One plus is it helps when explaining how you’re the same person with a different body if you’re both going through the same reincarnation thing, but it comes with a whole slew of new problems; such as how do you find them? The twisted artwork helps create a weird vibe that suits this complication.
The premise is good, but how about the actual comic? Overall, Wiebe weaves in the character’s personality well. He doesn’t have a lot of time to set up the female lead, but you get the impression she’s just as confused and annoyed with the whole dying thing as he is. A definite plus was a Love Fights vibe throughout the book. That story, written by Andi Watson, was a lot less weird, but it contained a love story intermixed with interesting uses of the art. The love story hasn’t exactly kicked up yet, but this is a good first issue setting up a potentially great story.
In a single image using a fake TV show, the entire premise of the book is set up.
This book also comes with a five page booster story written by IGN editor Joey Esposito. This story is a straight up romance, with no supernatural elements. Two folks wish they could be together but can’t seem to meet up. The twist at the end is cute.
Santos can draw a mean curved world.
Weibe is doing something different, which appears to be his M.O., and while this issue delivers a very basic intro to the premise and protagonist, Santos’ wild style puts this book over the top for me. Check back later today to see if we can fit it in our 10 dollar budget over in ComiX Weekly.
Is It Good?
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