The next Wildstorm character hits the New 52 DCU with a solo book. Can Cole Cash survive in the modern era?
Welcome to 52apolooza, the Outhouse feature focusing on DC's September Relaunch. All of DC's 52 titles will be reviewed by our pool of reviewers to point out the best and worst that DC's new comic book line has to offer. To see how this book ranks among the other new DC titles, be sure to check out our 52apolooza Rankings!
Grifter is one of the star characters from the Wildstorm Universe and has tried the solo scene before. Will he make the grade in the modern age of comics? Let's see how he does when facing the dreaded terror of the 52apolooza review team!
DC Reviewer: SaturnKnight
We're living in the Golden Age of comic books in Hollywood. No matter what the genre is—superhero, vampire, westerns, even gangsters—it seems like every other property is being optioned and filmed for movies and television. So it was inevitable that a comic book would try to be a TV show. Because that's exactly what Grifter is: a TV show formula in comic book form.
Does that mean it is a good comic book? Yes and no. Cole Cash A.K.A. Grifter from Wildcats has been re-imagined as a reluctant alien hunter ala "The X-Files" who gets captured and experimented on by the as-yet-unnamed Daemonites who have been dramatically redesigned. I don't think the fact he looks like Sawyer from "LOST" is any accident, either. This first issue reads like a TV pilot and it is a decent one, albeit a bit generic. The opening sequence set aboard an airplane where Grifter starts hearing voices in his head and suddenly has to kill aliens and bust his way out and jump into the ocean is exciting. But then the script immediately goes into an extended flashback that takes up almost the entire issue. Though it's a necessary info dump, it does kill some of the immediacy from the dramatic opening sequence.
Nathan Edmondson does a solid job of writing an action TV pilot in comic book form. In fact, this story probably would've worked much more effectively as an hour-long episode with live actors. Cafu's art, though decent, is unspectacular and clearly rushed when compared with the powerful pencils on his previous book, T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents. This script cries out for bold, panoramic shots with eye-popping detail that would give the action sequences a 3D-like quality. Unfortunately, the artwork is merely good, not mindblowing, and thus we get a fun comic book that ultimately suffers from pedestrian storytelling. The workman-like art gets the job done, but it doesn't rock your world. This removes a lot of the visceral intensity that Edmondson's script would probably have gotten in a live action TV series.
That doesn't mean the script itself is perfect; far from it. We're supposed to care about Cole's partner, Gretchen, who abandons Cole after he disappears for seventeen days with the money from their latest grift due to his alien abduction. But her two appearances in the story are so brief that they don't give the reader anything to become emotionally attached to her. Nor do we care about her rejection of Cole's weak excuse for his disappearance. That brings us to one very annoying quirk in the script.
We are told at 3 different points that Cole's been gone what he thinks is seventeen minutes, but what Gretchen knows is seventeen days—and at the end, he states it's seventeen *hours* with absolutely no reason given why the increments of time keep changing. Poor writing, sloppy editing or deliberate ruse that will prove pivotal in later issues? Whatever the reason, it doesn't matter because it pulls you out of the story scratching your head when you should instead be on the edge of your seat.
Given time, this book could actually turn out to be a strong series. The premise is solid. The supporting characters are palatable enough that they could grow on us. The dialogue is believable and Edmondson knows how to write action. The Daemonites are at first glance a paint-by-numbers threat, but look unique enough that they, too, could develop into far more frightening foes. There is a great deal of potential here. But for a first issue, the rushed pencils and a slightly muddled script that gets bogged down in flashback and desperately needs more visual punch lead Grifter to be a promising yet underwhelming debut.
FINAL SCORE: 77 out of 100