Grim #1 Review: The Afterlife Has Never Looked This Good

BOOM! Studios has another hit series on its hands with Grim, a tale featuring reaper Jessica Harrow who has the task of ferrying deceased souls to their final destination. The introductory story in Grim #1 from Stephanie Phillips, Flaviano, Rico Renzi, and Tom Napolitano delivers stunning colors and artwork, all while teasing enough mystery to fill a lifeboat sailing down the River Styx. The 1-2 combination of Phillips' pacing and fluid dialogue, mixed with stunning visual panels from Flaviano, Renzi, and Napolitano makes Grim #1 a gratifying read for fans of their previous works, or curious new readers looking for the next great series to latch onto.

Grim #1 decides to begin with Jessica Harrow meeting her next "passenger," a man named Bryan Michael Andrews who was involved in a one-car accident on a dark, snowy road. Of course, Bryan is suffering from the shock of finding out he's dead by hilariously talking Jessica's ears off. He's more curious about Jessica's job as a reaper and everything it entails. When you sit back and think about it, it does make sense. Who wouldn't die and then immediately have a hundred different questions for the spirit that showed up to guide them to their resting place?

Jessica has the aloof, laid-back attitude of someone who has grown accustomed to dealing with these types of characters. Though she eventually grows tired of the constant questioning from Bryan, she does her best to make his transition as smooth as possible. It's unknown just how long she's been at her job, but Jessica comes off as a pro. But even pros make mistakes, and Jessica makes a pretty big one after dropping Bryan off at the Afterlife Waiting Room. What happens when a soul's number is called will have to remain a mystery, but just the sight of hundreds of souls waiting around to learn their final fate brings flashbacks of waiting at an airport terminal.

Perhaps the most appealing part of Grim #1 is the artwork. The transition between color schemes comes off as vibrant and appealing to the eye. Some of those transitions include going from the dark red backdrop of the River Styx to the bright yellows and whites of the Waiting Room. Jessica Harrow has a very fashionable look in her red-and-black reaper outfit and matching scythe. Apparently, you also don't want to get Jessica angry, because that nonchalant face quickly turns demonic, which plays into the reaper motif. 

No first issue would be complete without some sort of twist ending, and the one displayed in Grim #1 should help Jessica follow the breadcrumbs regarding her lack of memory about her own death. Jessica's supporting characters come off as likable, albeit in a short appearance, and the comic's antagonist gets a full epilogue page to grow more menacing. 

Overall, Grim #1 is a fantastic issue coming from a stellar creative team clicking on all cylinders. If every issue is as compelling as this first one, there's no reason why it can't find a place among the BOOM! Studios bestsellers list.

Published by BOOM! Studios 

On May 11, 2022

Written by Stephanie Phillips

Art by Flaviano

Colors by Rico Renzi

Letters by Tom Napolitano

Cover by Flaviano