We delve once more into the Madius Comics treasure chest in order to check out the third issue of Griff Gristle: the Endless Voyage. Can the ship-shape crew Jones, Sambrook, Donald and Holman continue to keep this series afloat or will it finally sink to Davy Jones’ locker?
Griff Gristle: The Endless Voyage picks up where the Siren’s Song left off, with Griff recovering from the battle on board the cruise ship with only his memories of his beloved Betty to guide him. However, a lost love and a tortured history maybe the least of everyone’s favourite supernatural busting Sailor’s worries as he and his crew come to realise that all of their recent battles have all been connected, all laying foundations for the greatest of the oceans evils to rise. However, even this can be topped as a cult with shock ties to Griff then reveals itself to lead the charge.
Jones and Sambrook once again hit the ground (or is it sea?) running with yet another fun read of what is truly becoming an incredibly unique character. This issue sees the writing pair seemingly tie up the prior instalment’s apparently unconnected storylines to form a bigger, more epic tale. This change of pace really helps make things a little more epic as this issue saw a lot of setup towards a presumed fourth issue finale with a lot of questions as well as greater emphasis on Griff’s history, particularly his connection to Betty.
There was also a great deal more focus on Griff’s personality as he is offered far more depth (pun not intended) and focus showing him a as much more of a broken soul instead of the Hellboy-like master of ceremony of the prior issues. Of course, this seeming to lead into a finale, it does suffer from the usual tropes, such as a great deal of filler exposition which does affect the pacing in places, as well as a lack of recap page in the review copy which caused an issue in remembering past issues. That said, while the latter is destined to be repaired, the former, while a necessity in all stories does not take all that much space compared to the issues 43 pages.
Meanwhile, Rory Donald’s continued contribution on the artwork remains uniquely gorgeous. Although it still imbues that Hellboy/BPRD visual style as before, the colour scheme seems to have becomes more distinctive here with it’s blue and cooler colours really helping sell the seagoing aesthetic.
Of course, this isn’t all which Donald offers up to make this issue great as he continues to produce visually stunning and distinctive creatures which look like nothing else in comics. In fact, even the people, such as the Brotherhood leader, is given a look which is eerily supernatural and powerful despite his human appearance. Donald then tops off his great work in this issue with a series of packed splash pages, used to their fullest to help detail the seemingly jam-packed lives of Griff and Betty Gristle.
While, the Endless Voyage feels somewhat quieter compared the prior instalments, Jones, Sambrook and Donald nevertheless give us yet another entertaining story with gorgeously different panels.
Only three issues in, Griff Gristle is starting to feel like a standout comic series which could more than match up to anything, particularly the ending Mignola-verse, has to offer. Bring on issue 4!