The past is prologue, as the beginning of each issue of Grass Kings shows. Each issue so far starts off with the violent history to the Grasslands. It seems to be a cycle that the freedom loving residents don’t know how to break. They are all just caught up in the slow buildup to a violent explosion. It is clear that unless Robert takes control of the situation, the cycle is ready to swing around again.
Robert learns that his unexpected visitor is the missing wife of the neighboring town’s, Cargill, sheriff, who is looking for a reason to move into the Grasslands and take out all of the lawless residents there. He’s already sent in one of his thugs to start trouble to make has his excuse to go in.
Robert has been pretty passive so far, and it still remains to be seen if Maria can get him back to taking an active role in running the Grasslands again. But he remains haunted by his dead child and broken marriage. His brother, Bruce, is clearly in charge of things by default, but even he wants Robert to take over again.
Matt Kindt (MIND MGMT, 4001 A.D., Divinity III: Stalinverse) is playing the slow burn game with the first couple of issues, but in this one we are seeing things move from a stand-off between Cargill and the Grasslands to beginning of a hot fight. Some people have complained about the pace of the book, but once Kindt has all his pieces in place, I think the plot will start gaining momentum. While the weird small town with the dark secret has become a popular staple in TV and comics, Kindt is clearly making this place his own.
As the plot of the book is inching forward, Tyler Jenkins keeps the book alive with his amazing ink and watercolor work. This book is worth buying for the art alone. Jenkin’s (Peter Panzerfaust, Snow Blind) style brings an amazing emotional rawness to all of his characters. His style pairs really well with the story that Kindt is telling and maybe even eclipses it.
If you are a fan of Briggs Land, Postal or even TV’s Riverdale or Twin Peaks, you should be picking up Grass Kings. It has that small town with an unseemly underbelly vibe down pat. But I wouldn’t write this off as a knock off of those other works. Kindt has something up his sleeve and I want to be there when he starts to pull out the aces.
Writer: Matt Kindt
Artist: Tyler Jenkins
Letters: Jim Campbell
Publisher: BOOM! Studios