Story: Matt Wagner
Art: Matt Wagner
Colors: Brennan Wagner
Letterer: Dave Lanphear
What They Say:
With his home planet possibly destroyed, has Grendel Prime discovered a new home for humanity’s rebirth—or has he found an icy, permanent tomb for himself and Sigma-7? Far in space, an intelligent alien race holds a startling secret that Prime is about to uncover!
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers):
With a bit of a break between issues, Matt and Brennan Wagner get back to business with Grendel. If there’s a creator-owned book I don’t mind delays for with the quality of the work, both in art and story, it’s anything Matt Wagner is working on. This issue brings the story to a close with what began in the last issue as we mostly seem to be getting two-issue tales, which is more than fine. I love the world that gets presented here with its design and simplicity that makes sense with how it operates but it also has a kind of ageless beauty to it with its naturalness that really does click well.
Prime being accosted by the residents of this world has landed him in some very cold water. With their nature of having people placed for “lodging” when they come to visit the world, he’s found himself placed within one of the sections while Sigma-7 has been kicked into the freezing waters, plummeting downward. What’s engaging with this is that the two can still communicate things to Sigma’s quick thinking in providing a way for Prime to survive and retain some consciousness while also drawing on Sigma’s own backup drones to come and help – even if it takes a few days. The relationship between the two on this journey has been difficult for quite some time as there’s a friction to be sure – and that does continue throughout here – but Prime definitely would be in a real problem without Sigma’s help here.
What I really love, and I’m not sure if it was ever covered before, is that while Prime ends up shutting down to conserve power we end up seeing some of his past from when he was turned from man into Prime. It doesn’t delve into the who but just the process that the doctors put him through and it reinforces just how brutal it was, and how it made him as powerful as he is. It’s a great section with the visuals for it and left me wanting to see more. When it does shift back to the present, with him busting out in a great spread, it’s all about the action as Sigma makes it clear that escape is the right option as opposed to eliminating their captors. Or, at least, all of them. It’s a grim sequence when you consider what the survivor is going to go through all alone and likely will damage this species significantly.
Grendel continues to be one of my all-time favorite properties and while I’m hopeful for a time beyond Prime, this story is delivering what may take us there. I’d love to see Wagner finish this off and turn it into public domain and let anyone else tell stories going forward based on how he ends it here. This issue is a solidly strong one as we see Prime’s past a bit more and the way he and Sigma are able to work together better than Prime might think they can. It’s got a great look that delivers on what I love about the Prime material while capturing his voice perfectly. I can’t wait to see what’s next.
Age Rating: 17+
Released By: Dark Horse Comics
Release Date: March 18th, 2020