Friday, October 16, 2020

#IReadsYou Review: GREY Chapter 2


[This review was originally posted on Patreon.]

STORY: Kris Hornett
ART: Ardee Arollado
COVER: InHyuk Lee
EDITOR: Lisa Taylor
28pp, B&W, $10.00 (August 2020)

Chapter 2 “Nimbus”

Grey is a recently-launched. independently published comic book series from writer Kris Hornett and artist Ardee Arollado.  Published by The Grey Room, Grey is a hybrid, a combination of an American comic book format and Japanese manga.  Grey is similar to OEL manga or “original English language” manga, American graphic novels in which the storytelling borrowed or mimicked the aesthetics, styles, attitudes, genres, graphics, pacing, etc. of Japanese manga (comics).

Grey is set in the realm of Ketiyama (apparently an archipelago) and takes place some time after an event known as “the Sonoma Incident.”  This outbreak of the lethal “Moon Virus” on Nacirema, one of Ketiyama's islands, led to chaos, destruction, and division.  As a sign of good faith and as a last attempt to restore order, the ruling Board of Officials allowed the people to elect a team of highly trained tactical agents, known as “the Bureau,” to serve and protect them.  Within the Bureau is an elite unit known as “Nimbus.”  This team of five agents are sworn to maintain moral balance and to enforce the law.  The agents of Nimbus are also able to manipulate their “prana” (“life energy”).

The agents of Nimbus are Samara Asuhara, Kouken Masimuto, Shuyin Hagamuri, Manu Yagyu, and Kale SchaeferBelisia Asuhara is their handler and the creator of Nimbus.

As Grey. Chapter 2. (“Nimbus”) opens, the media confronts Renee Dubois, the commissioner of the Bureau, about recent events.  There was the shocking murder at the International Fashion Fest (IFF).  There was an invasion of Bureau headquarters in which nine agents were killed.  The Bureau's evidence room was also infiltrated and an “okami mask,” with a notorious past was stolen.  Belisia Asuhara is pushing her agents of Nimbus to get involved in this case because everything about it is abnormal and beyond the scope of ordinary Bureau agents.

Meanwhile, Samara does some pushing of her own.  She wants Shuyin to accept that Willow, a woman from his past, is connected to their case, but Shuyin really has no idea what Willow is doing.  But first, Shuyin receives a special visitor.

THE LOWDOWN:  As I wrote in my review of the first issue:  Grey is not one of those comic books that you read and toss in the already-read-pile before moving on to the next comic book.  Grey is conceptually well-developed, and the world in which it is set has a complex history.

Grey Chapter 2 begins the deep dive into the narrative, after Chapter 1's teasing nature, in which the creative team of Kris Hornett and Ardee Arollado teased readers through the door and into the world of Grey.  In Grey Chapter 2, Hornett seems to be establishing the independence and the individuality of the characters.  Even the bit players, some of whom might be captives for all I know, come across as persons with their own lives outside of game of which they are part.

Part of that also comes from Arollado's strong art and graphical storytelling.  No character really looks like another.  It is as if Arollado actually approaches each new figure to draw as a new character.  He or she may be a face in the crowd, but it is HIS or HER face in the crowd and it belongs to no one else.  There are no filler characters; instead, there are players with potential.

I think the strongest element in Grey are the characters.  Each and every one has his or her own motivation, and motivation can be a dangerous thing.  Danger is good for drama.  So let's come back for more Grey.  By the way, Grey Chapter 2 has a beautiful cover drawn by Marvel Comics cover artist InHyuk Lee... which would make a gorgeous poster.

I READS YOU RECOMMENDS:  Fans of manga-inspired comic books will want to read Grey.

[This comic book includes additional informative text pieces.]

8 out of 10

Reviewed by Leroy Douresseaux a.k.a. "I Reads You"

The text is copyright © 2020 Leroy Douresseaux. All Rights Reserved. Contact this blog or site for reprint and syndication rights and fees.


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