The first year of Dynamite Comics’ spin-off of NBC’s Grimm TV series has taken Nick Burkhardt, a cop and one of a family of Grimms who fight cloaked monsters living among us, and plucked him from his native Portland, Oregon of the TV series and spun him across Europe. He’s in search of his mother, Kelly—also a Grimm–and three gold coins that have the power of influence akin to the One Ring in J.R.R. Tolkien’s Middle Earth books. He’s brought along his partner, Detective Hank Griffin and Blutbad friend Monroe, and their quest to find Nick’s mom becomes woven into a political battle for control of the coins, first introduced in the TV series.
A whole bevy of writers, plot by Jim Kouf and David Greenwalt and script by Marc Gaffen and Kyle McVey, create a believable tale far away from the events in Portland in the series’ first eight issues. This means the comic book is a true spin-off—it doesn’t interfere with the fact that Nick’s girlfriend had amnesia for most of the overlapping timeframe, or that Monroe’s girlfriend is away caring for a sick relative. It also means the writers can introduce yet a third Grimm, a fighter named Maya who is a pawn of those elements that oppose Nick’s efforts. Or is she after the coins, too?
An escape via a deep dive into an oceanic cave, chases through the streets of Spain and Italy, droves of attacking Wesen–all of these things would cost plenty for a TV series in location shoots and make-up expense, so the comic book medium allows an expansion in scope of the world of Grimm into corners that might not otherwise be easily visited.
The writers get a lot right—particularly Monroe’s too-excited-than-he-should-be quips, Hank’s continued astonishment at the horror that is the world of the Grimm, and Nick’s inner monologue. Following the trip to Europe coin search arc, the series offered up monster of the week stories, including a Peter Pan story, a story of a group of superhero Wesen, and a look back to one of Aunt Marie’s last encounters with Wesen. The story and dialogue are key to making a series like this work—it must have enough source material but not simply repeat it, while also not veering too far away. Both artists José Malaga and Rod Rodolfo provide a simple look to their interior work to push the story forward without photo-real versions of the characters–just enough of the look of the TV series so fans will keep coming back and those new to the series can still follow along. Grimm also sported some of the best cover art this year, with nicely designed painted layouts that recreated the creepy feel of the TV series, as well as offering alternate photo covers for those that prefer them.
Look for the trade edition compiling the first story arc, Grimm Volume 1: The Coins of Zakynthos, available here at Amazon.com now, and Grimm, Issue #8 in comic book stores now. A new limited series, Grimm: The Warlock, written by Jai Nitz with art by José Malaga and cover art by Greg Smallwood, is coming soon from Dynamite Comics.