Grim Leaper is one of the strangest books on the shelves today. In some ways, issue #3 is the weirdest issue yet, while in other ways it’s quite ordinary. Here’s the description from Image:
Life’s no picnic. Still, Ella and Lou find some quiet time for romance. Too bad death proves to be a frequent third wheel. Don’t miss the issue that changes the game for our star crossed lovers forever.
From the get-go, Kurtis Wiebe has emphasized that Grim Leaper is a love story. This third issue finally lives up to that designation. While Ella and Lou’s romance seems a bit rushed, considering they’ve only just met, it can be excused by their extraordinary (and bizarre) situation. Still, I wish Wiebe had spent a bit more time developing their relationship before having them be so strongly committed to one another.
The character moments were the highlight of the issue for me; they moderate the tone of the book by contrasting the over the top, “Final Destination”-style deaths, but make those deaths seem all the more shocking through juxtaposition. It’s also nice to get a bit of character history for our couple, since we got very little introduction in earlier books.
Overall, Grim Leaper #3 features the best art from Aluisio C. Santos that we’ve seen so far. There were a few problems – a distinct color change along the fold line in a splash page – but they’re surpassed by some beautiful, innovative layouts and some fun visual Easter eggs of skulls and hearts (check out the full page shot of Lou and Ella kissing underwater.)
The back-up story, “Apple of My Eye,” is less rewarding. The central concept in that a man falls in love with Siri, the iPhone 4S virtual assistant. Chris Peterson does a good job of depicting the descent into madness in the space of a few pages, but Jeremy Holt‘s concept has surely occurred to everyone who’s interacted with Siri for more than 10 minutes.
Given how weird Grim Leaper normally is, issue #3 stands out for its sheer normalcy. Either in spite of that, or because of it, this was the best issue yet, and I’m looking forward to the final issue next month.