Wildstorm meets DC as Grifter crashes into the relaunched universe. Does Grifter have the goods or is it all an elaborate con?

Story: Nathan Edmonson
Pencils: CAFU
Inker: Jason Gorder
Colorist: Andrew Dalhouse
Letterer: Wes Abbott
Assistant Editor: Katie Kubert
Editor: Bobbie Chase
Cover: CAFU & Bit
Publisher: DC Comics
Price: $2.99

Previously, on Grifter:  In the old DCU, Grifter didn’t exist. He was brought over from Wildstorm, where he was a member of the WildC.A.T.s, fighting Daemonites and such… I think he tried to sell batteries once.


Well, I feel like I just got grifted. Grifter #1 only works if you view it as some sort of meta-commentary about suckering comic book readers into parting with their hard earned two dollars and ninety-nine cents. Otherwise, it’s a complete mess.

In the opening pages, while enjoying some rather spacious air travel accommodations, Cole Cash hears some voices, stabs some chick in the eye, bluffs the air crew into thinking a tiny wine bottle is a bomb, and jumps out into the water. Apparently, while running the old briefcase-full-of-cash-switcheroo on some generic sleazebag, Cash Cole had the misfortune of getting shanghaied by aliens or demons, but he escaped and now he’s missing time and hearing voices and everyone hates him. Oh yeah, and the US Army wants his brother to kill him because we need warmed-over action movie clichés that strain credulity

Cole as a protagonist is woefully uninteresting, and in fact, contradictory. In one panel, he’s wringing his hands over beating someone who forcefully abducted him, yet has no problem stabbing someone in the eyeball and then threatening a plane full of civilian passengers. We learn he’s a conman who used to work for Delta Force, but absolutely nothing of substance or interest to hang a solo title on. The great reveal at the end is that he stole a mask from a costume shop that happens to look exactly like Grifter’s classic face covering and that he’s going to… run away. Yay.


I’ve seen some good words offered to CAFU’s art but man, I did not like the art in this issue. The perspective and spacing just seemed wrong to me. The coloring is well done, and CAFU puts a lot of detail into his backgrounds, which I appreciate. He also plays with the panels and space to lend a nice feeling of motion to the action. But CAFU fails to provide a realistic feel to the people on the page, and the alien design is far too derivative to be threatening. I can see why CAFU appeals to some, but the art rubbed me the wrong way.


Grifter #1 confused and frustrated me, but that’s just one man’s opinion. There’s a bit of action, and if you like CAFU, you’ll enjoy the book more than I did. It seems Nathan Edmonson is going for a They Live meets Total Recall action vibe, which is a noble pursuit, but the opening salvo was not effective. Your mileage may vary, but my verdict is approach this book with caution. One star.

Rating: ★☆☆☆☆


About Author

George Chimples comes from the far future, where comics are outlawed and only outlaws read comics. In an effort to prevent that horrible dystopia from ever coming into being, he has bravely traveled to the past in an attempt to change the future by ensuring that comics are good. Please do not talk to him about grandfather paradoxes. He likes his comics to be witty, trashy fun with slightly less pulp than a freshly squeezed glass of OJ. George’s favorite comic writers are Warren Ellis and Grant Morrison, while his preferred artists are Guy Davis and Chris Bachalo, He loves superheroes, but also enjoys horror, science fiction, and war comics. You can follow him @TheChimples on Twitter for his ramblings regarding comics, Cleveland sports, and nonsense.


  1. This is the first comment for me on this site, but I just had to state for the record my opinion. Wow, I couldn’t possibly disagree with you more on this. This issue one of my favorites so far in the launch (along with Batgirl and Death Stroke). I loved the art and the writing too. There isn’t a ton of innovation in it, but it left me wanting more. I have no idea what you mean by it is trying to con folks out of their money, but I am new to comics. This relaunch is my very first foray into comic books. I am 30 years old and never dipped my toe in the water before, although I always wanted to. So, maybe my perspective is one of that “new reader,” but in a way I think that gives me a unique perspective. Anyway, I appreciate your view. I just wanted to state some counter points. For me Grifter gets 4 Stars (for what it is worth Death Stroke: 4 stars, and Batgirl: 5 stars.)

    • I have no idea what you mean by it is trying to con folks out of their money, but I am new to comics

      The words “Grifter” is an old term for a con man, specifically one who gets by on minor gimmicks to bilk people out of their money, so the reviewer was making a joke there… And as for the comic itself, your take on it is what matters to you. Your mileage on any given review may vary, and one man’s poison is another’s man’s venom.

      Thanks for the feedback, Paul, and feel free to keep commenting.

    • I’m more with Mr. Chimples on this one, and was similarly disappointed with Deathstroke, but I’m pretty sure in both cases it’s merely that this comic wasn’t aimed towards me. I think some of the New 52 are aimed toward newer comic readers, and getting them on board, while some are heavily weighted toward keeping the old readers happy. I definitely felt Deathstroke was intended for a newer audience, (my impression was for a teenage audience, but the thrill of an action scene can certainly appeal to all ages), and Grifter felt about the same for me.

      I’m definitely glad you enjoyed it though; there needs to be comics for everyone–after all, I can’t get into Legion titles, but that doesn’t mean they’re inherently bad comics :)

    • Hey Paul, I appreciate your view too. I’m glad you enjoyed Grifter, and decided to comment about it here. If a comic leaves you wanting more, it has done its job and it looks like Grifter hit the right buttons for you.

      Reviews are just one fan’s perspective, and it’s good to have a diverse set of opinions presented in the comments or elsewhere. I’m glad the relaunch is bringing in new readers like you – the more comic readers, the merrier!

    • Hey Paul. I’m a 34 year old who’s also always been interested in comics, but never really picked up one before. That changed this summer with the “Green Lantern” movie. I thought “surely, the comics should be better than this”. So, I spent a few dollars on some comics while heavily anticapating the New 52. I read “Grifter” and as a new reader, I’d have to agree with the review. The story was more perplexing than intriguing featuring a “hero” with almost zero personality. The cover art seems to promote another “Deathstroke”, but alas, I felt the first issue was well-done, but was ultimately a mess. Too little explanation and a boring protagonist doesn’t add up to much. I don’t think I’ll follow up with Issue # 2. 1 1/2 stars out of 4. “Batman” # 1 (on the other hand) is a masterpiece.

      • “Batman” # 1 (on the other hand) is a masterpiece.

        Welcome to comics (and to Major Spoilers) Alex… Stick around, because we’re working on coverage of all this week’s New 52, including Batman #1 over the next few days. Watch the skies… :)

      • Yeah, I agree, I really highly enjoyed Batman #1. I’ll save my comments for the review page on that one, but I’m completely in agreement.

  2. I am a 10 year military veteran with special forces background. So, that probably says it all as far as why Death Stroke and Grifter have appeal for me. I can identify with both characters in some way. That essentially is what I look for in any book, comic or otherwise. I just really enjoy the potential of a “sweet talker” with a military background, because I can tell you military background (especially SF) that is a smooth talker is an interesting combo. I don’t know where they go from here but I like the potential. I also love the Punisher, so, there ya go. I guess now that I type it out, it is just the kind of characters I love. Great comments so far too, by the way.

  3. I didn’t hate this issue, I think the concept is interesting, if not a lot reminiscent of They Live like George said. I didn’t like the jumps which were on almost every page it felt like. There was also another issue, small though it may be, at first he thinks he’s been knocked out for 17 minutes, okay so he’s checking his watch 17 minutes later in the day on an entirely different day, fine. Then he’s informed that it’s actually been 17 days that he’s been out of it and Gretchen thinks he’s cheated her out of the money, but at the end of the comic when he’s in the cemetary he says he “I want my seventeen hours back.” So which is it? minutes, days or hours?

    • I didn’t catch that before. After reading through it again I realize that you are right on the money. I hate that too, because that is just bad writing and worse editing. That actually ruins this issue for me. In this big relaunch I can’t believe that slipped through the gates. New rating: 2 out of 5.

  4. I didn’t think the art was all that bad, it didn’t stand out as beautifully as the art in Batwoman, but honestly I think it’s better than all the color scenes in Animal Man (granted I loved Animal Man while I only kinda liked Grifter).

    I know art appreciation is subjective and when I posted a comment on Animal Man’s review the overwhelming opinion expressed there was very positive on the art, and while I really like the black and white (and kinda red all over) the art felt very amateurish to me. My comment on that page honestly sums that up better than I can right here.

  5. I ended this issue frustratrated and confused. It felt random and forced. I was still onboard for issue #2 at least, until he puts his mask on. From what I could read, he hadn’t been “Grifter” yet, and if that is his big superhero origin moment, putting on some random mask from a costume store after freaking out about his abduction (or something? Not very clear.) It’s a moment that makes me throw up my hands and shout “DONE!”.

    If you like it, fine, and good luck. But not for me, thank you.

    And what’s with all this level-headed, reasoned discourse, where people are encouraged to disagree politely with each other? I thought this was a comic book site! I want more VENOM and RAGE! Guess I’ll have to save that for Red Lanterns #1.

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