Ceej Says… Griff Gristle: The Siren’s Song review (Madius Comics)
Publisher: Madius Comics
Writer(s): Rob Jones, Mike Sambrook
Artwork: Rory Donald
Release Date: 23rd September 2017 (Thought Bubble)
Hot on the heels of yet another barnstorming Kickstarter campaign, everyone’s favourite “Crusty Fisher Punk” Griff Gristle is set to make his triumphant return at this year’s Thought Bubble Festival in Leeds, as writers Rob Jones and Mike Sambrook combine with artist Rory Donald to take Griff and his companion Justine deeper and deeper into the world of the mysterious “Children of the Waves”.
Donald’s artwork is powerful and striking as always, with the Cornish artist channeling Mike Mignola throughout with his jagged edges and heavy use of block shadow. And right from the opening scene, which sees a cruise ship rock concert erupting into a cavalcade of tentacles and gore, Donald is given ample opportunity by “Sambrones” to flex his artistic muscle.
It’s not all violence, harpoons and beards though (although it is that too), with Donald tweaking his style slightly during the more brooding or investigative moments in an attempt to give Griff’s story the gravitas it needs. That said, it’s fairly clear that his particular set of skills definitely favour the over-the-top action sequences, with some of the ‘talky’ scenes struggling a little with occasional vague facial expressions and awkward posing.
Jones and Sambrook’s story, packed with mysteries, nautical monstrosities and shadowy organisations, is solid enough, but it’s Griff himself who really carries things here. He’s a fantastic creation, and everything about him – his wardrobe, his dry sense of humour, his troubled past, his facial hair, hell, even his name – combine to make him an utterly captivating protagonist. Justine also serves a critical role, providing a much needed contrast to Griff, with a more lively, upbeat and passionate outlook than the stoic, whiskey-and-sea-salt-soaked charm of our leading man.
Additionally, while “Here Be Monsters” felt almost self-contained, “The Siren’s Song” feels a lot more like the first step into a larger world, and with the foundations being laid here for a twist and conspiracy-filled tale packed with wild and crazy monsters, I can see a lot of readers going all-in with this series based on this issue alone. Yes, I’ll wager that there’s plenty of successfully backed Kickstarter campaigns in the future of this particular series.
Sure, it’s not quite flawless, with a fairly unwieldy exposition dump in the second half of the book, not to mention the aforementioned facial unevenness, but for the most part this latest issue crackles with energy and enthusiasm throughout, surging forwards before leaving us, and Griff, with a satisfyingly mouth-watering conclusion.
Boasting stylised, eye-catching artwork and a thoroughly intriguing main character, The Siren’s Song is yet another impressive offering from the folks at Madius, and lays the groundwork for what should be one hell of a wild ride. Highly recommended.
Bun #1 goes on sale at next weekend’s Thought Bubble Festival, and will be available shortly afterwards on the on the Madius Comics Bigcartel Page.
The writer of this piece was: Craig Neilson-Adams (aka Ceej)
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