Sunday, September 25, 2011

DCnU - Grifter #1 from DC's New 52

Grifter is brought to us by writer Nathan Edmondson with art by CAFU.

Grifter, like most of Stormwatch, is an import from the Wildstorm Universe. I was never that in to the Wildstorm Universe. I have a few issues of Authority around, and maybe a crossover or two with the Wildcats. I didn't even really know his powers, other than the fact that he was good with guns, and was a little older than he looked. Because of all of that, I came into this comic with virtually no expectations.

There are spoilers below, I guess. I give away a lot of the plot of the book, but this comic isn't about a clever plot, nor about any twists, at least not the way I see it. Giving away the plot to this comic doesn't seem so bad to me, as it much more about how the story is told than the story itself.

In some ways, the plot of Grifter #1 is the kind of thing that could appear in a quick couple of page "origin of" recap, but it works very well as the main story of this issue.

The comic leads off with Cole - Grifter's real name - on a plane, where he is hearing voices. The normal-looking woman beside him seems to be the source of the voices, and when he says so, she extracts a weapon from inside her hand. He turns the weapon back on her, and kills her, only to realize there is another source of the mysterious voices only he can hear on board. He then grapples with a flight attendant, who also issues the mysterious voice. They tumble out the door to the plane, and as they plummet towards the water...

We see how Grifter's story begins - appropriately enough, grifting someone. Someone who thinks he is getting the better of Cole. So we know he is good at what he does, and smart. Then, while he is making arrangements to meet with his partner, he is yanked into an alley. He wakes up strapped to a table with some weird alien creature in a tube next to him, and goes to make a run for it. This alien doesn't look like most of the portrayals of Daemonites in the old Wildstorm Universe, but like them seems to posses humans.

He makes a run for it, and on the way, realizes he can "hear" a strange voice. On the way out of the place he woke up, he is confronted by someone who "speaks" with the weird voice, and beats him down, killing him. I love that his reaction is to say "Oh God. Oh God. I just murdered someone." It seems like a very human reaction - he did what he had to do, but what he had to do was kill an unarmed man.

We go on to learn that while he thought he was out for 17 minutes (the name of the story), it was actually 17 days according to his accomplice in the grift he was running. And that Cole, who threatened to blow up the plane he was on (pretending a small bottle of alcohol was a dead man's switch for a bomb) in order to get the door opened so he could jump out, is wanted as a terrorist.

We then get a quick aside that tells us that Cole is former Delta Force, and his brother still works special forces. His brother is sent to bring him in.

Which brings us back to Cole, hiding out in a graveyard, getting ready to take the battle to these aliens that only he knows are among us, possessing people.

And an unfortunate mistake. So, the story is called 17 minutes, because that is how long Cole thought he was out, but we find out it was actually 17 days and 17 minutes. So, as Cole gets ready to go after these aliens, he says, "I want my seventeen hours back you bastards."

Still, even with that error, the ending of the book is authentically badass, and I have always liked the look of Grifter's mask.

Grifter surprised me. I found some of the Wildcats stuff hard to follow before because it was so enmeshed in the Kherubim/Daemonite war, and I didn't get into that on the ground level, and found the required knowledge to be a barrier to entry.

I was worried that this version was going to head down the same path, but it didn't. For a story about people being possessed by aliens, this was a very human story. I liked Cole, and I was caught up in his story every step of the way. Edmonds and CAFU did a great job on this book, and it will remain near the top of my pull list.

We also learn a little something about the Mysterious Lady in Red in this one - we learned in Demon Knights that time was no barrier to her. Here we learn that she can ignore the laws of gravity, as we see her floating in the air over Cole looking down at one point.

No comments: