The first issue of the GrimJim Twilly saga.
Grimjack issue #55.
Published by First Comics in 1989.
Story Written by John Ostrander
Drawn by Flint Henry
The Story :
200 years have passed since we last saw John Gaunt aka Grimjack and the city of Cynosure. A red haired young man enters Munden's Bar & Grill, he has a legalbot with him and is there to reclaim the bar. The present owner is pleased with the legal fact of a rider on the ownership contract. Any person claiming to be John Gaunt and can locate a hidden object, will own the bar. The object is quickly revealed and ownership transfers to the young man.
He keeps the previous owner as the bartender. It will not be a friendly relationship.
Grimjack goes out on to the streets to look at how to announce his return and that he was
back in business. He sees a story about Zuvembie victims, people whom used artificial
zombies to live out experiences on the streets of the pan-dimensional city of Cynosure.
However, they seem to be faulty as the users receiving feed-backs resulting in comas. Grimjack
gets the reporter, Nadine Martine, to hire him to investigate in exchange for credit in the
report. After a visit to the company that makes the Zuvembies, Grimjack gets an idea on what's
really going on. He takes Nadine with him to the first of the victims, Raymond Royce, the only
juvenile one. Both sneak in the manor home and pass the security werewolfs of the Royce family.
Grimjack points to burn marks on the Raymond Royce's temples, telling Nadine that he believes
that the victim had been electrocuted by a gun and then place into the pod for controlling the
Zuvembie. Raymond's uncle and sister find Grimjack and Nadine. It's revealed by Grimjack and
confirmed by Jennifer Royce, that she was behind with her uncle to inherit the family fortunes.
Under Cynosure law, it would seem to be a prefect plan. However, Nadine had forgotten to have her
camera bot transmit the story as it happened. Grimjack's plan of having the Zuvembie company
sue the Royces has failed. So instead, he deal with it "the old fashioned way". He quickly
holds back the security force of the Royces as Nadine gets her bot to transmit. The situation
soon resolved to both Nadine and Grimjack's satisfaction.
Later, Grimjack is back at Munden's, his sister Babs has come to see him, having seen Nadine's
report. She asks him to return home, to be James Edgar Twilley again. They talk, he has her
recall their childhood past, all those nightmares he had growing up, memories of other lives.
She does, but still maintains that this is a delusion of his, no matter how lucid he seems.
He tells her of how at fourteen, after killing in self defence, the memories came swelling in.
Driving him to realization of whom he really was. It was this and looking at his reflection
in a window, that the final piece to his memories was. His face was wrong to him, it lacked
something. He knew what it was and dealt with it and that brought in all into clarity for him.
He tells Babs of how after his first life, he had doomed himself by walking out on heaven to
save a friend. That he was now doomed to live on, from life to reborn life. Babs refuses this
explanation. To her it was just a delusions, an insanity. She leaves angry and upset. Grimjack
sits there, thinking.
The Review :
This was a return for me to one of my favorite characters and a favorite era of that character.
It was here that a new life was started for Grimjack, gone was the long beloved supporting cast
and here was as new a world for me as it was for him.
The story was a typical mystery/cop tale for Grimjack, complete with the scenes that were known
for the series. It was wonderful and full of pulp action. A simple straight forward story, well
paced and doing what it was really supposed to do, re-introduce the character of Grimjack in his
new life and explaining the changes since the previous issue. The dialogue was clean and pulpy
with familiarity. Nothing too amazing in and of itself for most of the issue, until the scenes
with Babs. That was the pay off in the writing. It wasn't so pulpy or formula as most can be.
The art by Flint Henry was interesting to look at again. It's been a while since I last looked
at it. I loved it for his little details and cartoony nature with it back when it first came out
and I still like it. Clean line, solid and plenty of little details to keep your eyes busy on the
pages. An interesting balance I think. Funky is another word I could use to describe it, as it
works well to describe the energy there.
This was still as enjoyable for me as it had been back in 1989. Well, it was actually '89, since
the old three month cover dating was in effect. The big drive here was the characters, in
particular Grimjack and his sister plus that nasty little bartender. This was a new start for a
revamped series and it gave only a little hint of what was in store for the rest of the run.
Reincarnation would be played out in a number of stories and all would culminate into the end.
A really hard ending that was to lead to a new and greater evolution for the character. Sadly,
First Comics tanked and took Grimjack down with it. BUT, IDW has helped get it back with new
stories set during the original era with the original artist Tim Truman. This is an interesting
contrast with this run. Both are so different, yet so similar. A breath of fresh air back then,
now these days, it's become one again as super-heroes are big once more. A little something old
style and new style combined. Dark and gritty from a time when that was rare.
For more information on this issue and main character - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grimjack