Grifter was originally one of the first characters created by Jim Lee while Lee was at Image, and was a member of his Wild C.A.T.S. team. Now with the WildStorm franchises being made a part of the DCnU, Grifter finds himself in a new DCnU book, Grifter #1. Grifter #1 is an alright comic with an interesting beginning, but it spends a lot of time introducing the character of Cole Cash before he becomes Grifter, and explains why he takes on that role. A decent read for fans and newcomers alike, Grifter’s new adventures are written by Nathan Edmondson and drawn by Cafu, inked by Jason Gorder and colored by Andrew Dalhouse.
The story begins on a plane, where grifter Cole Cash fresh from a con job starts to har voices and doesn’t know where they’re coming from. He comes to see that these voices come from something in human host bodies looking completely normal. When he realizes these voices know that he hears them, these creatures in human form target him, and Cole is hard pressed to survive. He ends up killing one of these demons in disguise aboard the plane and escapes midflight, automatically making him a wanted terrorist. From that point on, Cole is on the run. It’s interesting, but it takes a while to get going—practically the entire issue. It’s not a bad story, but it’s not super great either because of it being so drawn out. Perhaps thorough is a better word, as a lot is established.
Cafu is one of my favorite artists following his great run on T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents, and he does a good job here. There’s some crazy action scenes that look pretty neat, though I wish there was a bit more of it. While I was disappointed inker Bit wasn’t working on this book after all (but did help Cafu on the cover), Gorder does a good job in his own style. We don’t really get to see Grifter in costume other than the cover, but his design seems to be in line with his classic look. I’m looking forward to seeing more of the creatures when they are not in human form, but again with all the establishment going on in the first issue, it’s one of the things that will have to wait until future issues.
Overall, I think Grifter #1 may probably be one of the worst comics coming out of the New 52, or at least one of the worst #1s. But it’s not a terrible book, it just takes awhile to get going. It seems all of the actual adventures as Grifter don’t begin until issue #2, and while there are some thrilling parts, it reads like a drawn out origin story. I guess that’s what it’s supposed to be, but nothing is shown or mentioned about Cash’s Special Operations training that is only revealed to readers in the solicitation for #2—it isn’t even in the comic itself. Nor does Cash take on the Grifter role until the last page. I have to admit, I think this lessened my enjoyment of the book, at least on my initial read through. Reading it again though, I appreciated the story a bit more but still felt the hooks in the book weren’t strong.
Yes, there is promise in this book of things getting interesting, but for now it’s mostly a poor showing that fails to keep the reader’s attention. There are other origin stories in some of the #1s but all of them that I’ve read so far don’t take as long to get going—or at least get exciting. While Blue Beetle #1 pulled off revealing the hero at the end of the issue, Grifter #1 seems to suffer a bit from it. I didn’t like it so much the first time I read it, but reading through again I’m interested to see what happens next and I’ll be reading, but it didn’t make the cut on my pull list. Still, while it wasn’t my cup of tea, you may like it. But for me, I think the series looks like it might read better when it comes out in trade paperback. Certainly, if you’ve ever been interested in Grifter as a character, Grifter #1 does a good job of setting up a foundation of how Cash comes to adopt the Grifter identity and take his part in the DCnU.