Jess is in Hell and has no idea Adira is trying to trap her there. When her friends also arrive there, will they be able to help her, or are they only a distraction and complication? Find out in Grim #9 from BOOM! Studios.
Writer: Stephanie Phillips
Colorist: Rico Renzi
Letterer: Tom Napolitano
Editor: Eric Harburn
Publisher: BOOM! Studios
Cover Price: $3.99
Release Date: March 22, 2023
Previously in Grim: Before he went, Death wrote a letter to Lilah, Jess’s mother, who is incarcerated, at least until everyone stopped dying. While the prison riots, Lilah walks out. In the Afterlife, Adira sits uneasily on the throne of Death. The Reapers worry about what is happening on Earth, while she assures them she has everything under control. She claims Jess must be sent to Hell. Jess is caught in the web of the Fates who tell her that she must fill the void left by Death’s departure, and she is now the Grim Reaper. She must go into Hell and retrieve the End. There are eight gates to Hell on Earth, and she has a decision to make.
A REAPER IN HELL
Grim #9 opens in Arizona where Lilah goes to a graveyard and digs up a red and black amulet. Meanwhile, in Vegas, Eddie looks for Jess in vain while Marcel explains that she is not there. Eddie does not believe she could simply vanish. Marcel doesn’t either, but he knows that running around randomly will not help. Suddenly, Annabel, the Reaper who sneaked away from the Afterlife last issue, faces them with her scythe. She demands to know if it is true that Jessica destroyed Death and they helped her. Eddie insists that they didn’t.
Annabel knows him well enough that she believes him. She tells him about how Adira threatened all the Reapers, and how she plans to trap Jess in Hell. Annabel knows she is at the first gateway of eight. And where they are right now in Vegas, there is another gateway. The only difficulty is that they do not know how to open it. Eddie and Annabel poke around, looking for a clue, but finally Marcel simply places his hand against the wall and the gateway opens.
They are in a theatre, and on stage, there is a man in a cloak and with him, an enormous tiger. He is the guardian of this gateway. He pointedly walks up to Marcel and broadly hints that it opened up because one of them belongs here. Marcel, he announces, is a murderer. At this point, Jess arrives. This place is messing with her head, but she knows Marcel is not a murderer.
The guardian, Kelly, shows them Marcel’s history. Back in the 1800s in Paris, he had a lover named Henri who was dying painfully. As he coughed up blood, he begged Marcel to do one last thing for him – to kill him so he could die on his own terms. And Marcel did.
Kelly gloats about this. Marcel killed Henri and then himself. Plainly he belongs in Hell. Jess disagrees, saying that what he did was noble. Kelly counters that there are only choices and consequences. And Marcel throws himself into the void.
Lilah is at a bar drinking not her first shot of the evening. Harold joins her and comments on her necklace. She curtly explains it is a family heirloom. He comments on her rather orange clothes. She says she was just released. He keeps trying, and she continues to shut him down until he mentions children. Ultimately, he claims he can help her, and he says her name. He disappears, but he leaves his card.
FINDING A WAY
It is against the chaos in Vegas in Grim #9 that Annabel appears. The Reapers are not part of the world. They walk through it, and things move through them as though they are not really there. Eddie and Marcel do not have their scythes, so Annabel has the upper hand. I like the way she musters all her fury to convince Eddie to tell her the truth and it is not until she believes him that she relaxes in worry. While she and Eddie bring a little comic relief to break the tension, we see how quiet Marcel is, and how he seems to be the only one of them in shadow. As he reaches out toward the wall, the shadow falling on his face grows deeper so we get a hint that he knows something the others do not.
I like Kelly and his giant tiger. I think they are a fitting pair of guardians for this gait. A theatre, even an empty one, feels like it belongs in Vegas. If any wandering souls were on their way to Hell from here, this gate would feel familiar. Kelly’s skin is not the bright red of a stereotypical devil, but it is ruddy. His grin is more manic than friendly and it gives him a cruel look. The tiger is quite lovely to look at even though it spends most of its time just looming over people and looking predatory.
BOTTOM LINE: A REAPER WHO FEELS LOST
Grim #9 moves the story to Hell and finds another way to up the stakes for the Reapers. Jessica may now have some help, but her friends are also vulnerable. Her task is not going to be easy.
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