Aimlessly Going Forward

blog by Tomas Sedovic

Grip: The Strange World of Men by Gilbert Hernández

comic-book, review

This review was originally posted at Goodreads and imported here later with next to no spell/grammar checking.

1/5 stars

I got this book randomly on a complete whim. Never heard of the author or any of their books. I was looking for a comic that was not a part of any series and that wasn’t about superheroes. As such, I had basically zero expectations.

Which means I’m not disappointed, just really, really puzzled.

The blurb at the back of the book mentions search for the protagonist’s true identity, criminal gangs, crime fighters, swapping skins and bizarre powers.

And yeah, the book has all that. This could have been something dark and weird and gritty and sexy like Frank Miller’s Sin City, and I think that’s what it’s going for. But it falls way too short in every aspect. All the ingredients are there, but they’re not really combined in a way that makes any sense.

Apologies for the pun, but the book completely failed to grip me. It starts with an amnesiac so you know things are going to be confusing, but the first quarter dialed that up to eleven without introducing anything that would actually pique an interest.

I mean, other than the weak "surely, this all must be going somewhere?" which did keep me going however weakly. Characters are introduced, mysteries occur, weird stuff happens, but none of it really seems to bring anything to the fore.

Add a pretty weak dialogue, diverse characters that somehow amazingly fail to evoke any intrigue and an extremely heavy-handed exposition (when it finally comes) and you’re left with something that’s just completely bland. The book is quite short — if it were much longer than this, I would have just dropped it.

But since I didn’t, I can say that the eventual revelations, the inevitable circling back and the overall resolution left me absolutely lukewarm. Not angry, sad or really feeling anything at all.

In this one instance, I think you can judge the book by its cover (and title).

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