Jess wants to live her own life but finds that she is being manipulated at every turn. Will she finally accept her fate? Find out in Grim #12 from BOOM! Studios.
Writer: Stephanie Phillips
Colorist: Rico Renzi
Letterer: Tom Napolitano
Editor: Elizabeth Brei
Publisher: BOOM! Studios
Cover Price: $3.99
Release Date: August 2, 2023
Previously in Grim: Hell has changed, becoming more bureaucratic and political over the ages. But now with Death out of the picture, things are in precarious balance. Anabel faces Adira down. They had made a deal – Annabel delivered Jess and Eddie and sent Marcel to Hell. Now she wants the soul of her choice. Jess and Eddie are imprisoned under the River Styx. Life takes Lilah to Rad Island, a fantasy spot of his creation where he offers her the perfect life – a house with Death and a baby Jess waiting for her. Adira goes to Jess and Eddie’s cell. She tells Jess about Annabel’s plan and asks for her help.
LIKE MOTHER, LIKE DAUGHTER
Grim #12 opens with a flashback of Lilah twenty-five years ago. She was responsible for sending a man named Robby to jail for almost two years. Now that he is out, he hunts her down and kills her. Death steps in to help her, telling her she won’t be alone. She hauls off and delivers a neat right hook to the jaw. Death is astounded.
On Rad Island, Life admits he made a mistake. He had assumed he knew what Lilah wanted in her life but he was wrong. Now he offers her money. She confesses that almost everything she had done in life, she had done for money, and for a moment, it looks like Life got it right on his second guess. But she rejects this too. He gets frustrated and the skies darken as he tells her that life can be Hell, too. But he has misjudged her yet again. Her life already was Hell. She tries to flee, but she is on an island, and Life controls everything here. Writhing vines ensnare her, and Harold simply takes the amulet from her.
Adira drops the scythe at Jess’ feet. Jess refuses to pick it up. Eddie says they could save Marcel. Jess refuses to trust anything that Adira says. As they face off, the scythe starts to glow, rises up, and strikes the dome of the cell. It cracks, and the waters of the River Styx pour in, surrounding Jess with souls that speak to her, telling her she is the Grim Reaper. She reaches out and grasps the scythe.
Eddie and Jess try to get their bearings. The scythe has taken the two of them to a mountain overlooking a European village. They head there, finding it to be quiet, almost abandoned. Eddie wonders if the scythe might be sentient. Perhaps there is something they need to do here. A little demon jumps out at Jess, and soon the two of them are surrounded by dozens of the small creatures. Jess strikes one with the scythe, killing it, and a strange woman appears to ask what Jess has done to her child.
FOLLOW THE SCYTHE
I like how the art of Grim #12 brings out the conflict between Lilah and Life. On the surface, Rad Island looks like a paradise. This does not fit with Lilah, who grew up in the school of hard knocks. She has had to fight for everything that she has ever had, including herself. For a moment, it looks as though Life has gotten her. When he hands her a duffel bag full of money, her face lights up and for the first time, we see her smile. But despite everything she has gone through, she has a strong center. It may surprise us when Life turns on her, and the art brings in the signature red we associate with the Afterlife, but Lilah finds the inner strength to fend him off.
Now that Eddie and Jess have been transported to Europe, we get a distinctly new kind of setting. In the establishing shot, we see the whole village and it looks as though a photograph was used for reference. That said, it really helps to make it clear where they are. The village itself is nestled into the mountain and is full of slopes and stairs. The buildings look old, but we do see cars, so they have not traveled back in time. And I like the way it looks when all the little demons start to show up. Are they why the place seems otherwise uninhabited?
BOTTOM LINE: EVERYONE IS IN SEARCH OF SOMETHING
Grim #12 continues to set up characters with goals that interfere with each other. They are not the most trustworthy, and backstabbing could be around any corner. The tensions run high, and the stakes continue to be mysterious.
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Jess does not want to give in to Adira but must give herself up to her fate.