GrimJack: The Manx Cat #1

Written by John Ostrander
Art by Timothy Truman
32 pages, color
Published by IDW

It’s been a few years since John Ostrander and Timothy Truman ventured into the world of GrimJack, right? When IDW began their Legend of GrimJack reprint series in 2005, accompanying it was a GrimJack: Killer Instinct mini-series. Since then, it’s just been reprints; or at least, that’s what I’d thought. Turns out has run an entire new GrimJack story online since then, one that they and IDW are now bringing into print. It seemed like a good a time as any to check back into the city of Cynosure and see just what Ostrander and Truman have done while I wasn’t looking.

Things are going pretty much ordinary in GrimJack’s life. He’s been hired to steal… or "retrieve" if you’re looking for a nicer word… a statue known as the Manx Cat. When a second thief shows up at the same time, though, things start going badly. And getting arrested as a direct result? Well, that’s certainly not good. But why does everyone want the Manx Cat so badly?

Ostrander kicks off GrimJack: The Manx Cat in a way that introduces the character to any new readers. You get an immediate sense of his character and his focus of purpose; his abandoning an imprisoned gatorlizard because he’s got a job to do, for example, is a good way to help show that GrimJack isn’t a "good guy" but rather someone who has a job to do. Of course, once things get rolling, what happens next is anyone’s guess. Ostrander does his best to show all sides of his main character; not just what he’s like when on the job, but also kicking back at Munden’s Bar as well as dealing with the aftermath of trying to steal the Manx Cat. It’s an entertaining enough opening chapter to the story.

Truman illustrating a comic is always a real treat, something that doesn’t happen often enough for my own personal enjoyment. He’s the kind of artist who can draw all sorts of people, creatures, and everything in-between while still having them all look natural. It helps that his line is crisp and clean, and the art fairly pops off the page towards the reader. Cynosure under Truman’s watch is a dark, run-down city that has a character all of its own; anything and everything seems to happen there simultaneously, and it’s part of the attraction of reading GrimJack. That said, GrimJack’s feathered beret and general look is starting to come across as a bit dated; I’d love to see a redesign of his working outfit because what was cool in the ’80s is looking to be a bit much now. I’m also a little surprised at the cover looking surprisingly rough and muddy, considering how great the interiors look. It’s certainly not the way to entice in new readers.

I must admit that I’m half-tempted to just read all of GrimJack: The Manx Cat online to find out what happens next. For those looking for a permanent edition to have in their homes, either housed in a back-issue box or on their bookshelves, GrimJack: The Manx Cat hitting print is certainly a nice switch. With all of the different series running at that I hadn’t known about before now, though, it’s a double jackpot.

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