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Solomon Grundy

DC

Written by Geoff Johns and Scott Kolins; Art and cover by Scott Kolins

May 06, 2010 DC Comics Bookmark and Share


While Scott Kolins has long been a fan favorite amongst a certain strata of DC Comics fans (with your reviewer being chief among that grouping), the Solomon Grundy miniseries, which this trade paperback volume collects, is the first testing of his chops as a writer as well. Sure, there was co-writing by DC writer supreme Geoff Johns on “The Curse,” the first chapter of this volume, but it’s largely Kolins’ time to shine…or not.

If someone had told me I’d be reading a story where Solomon Grundy, the alabaster-skinned, zombie-esque simpleton, was fighting Bizarro, that most backwards foe of Superman, I’d have run, not walked, to the comic store to see it. And, truth be told, that particular encounter and the use of Bizarro in this book was pretty fun; a Legion of Doom reunion, if you will. In fact, the fighting (vs. Poison Ivy, Amazo, the Demon Etrigan, and more) and characterizations are spot-on and enjoyable.

The problem with this Solomon Grundy story is twofold:

1) It largely concerns Cyrus Gold, the man who was killed in a swamp, then brought back to life as the title character. And you just can’t get me to care about Cyrus Gold that much (though Grant Morrison did in his epic Seven Soldiers series of books, but Gold was very much on the periphery). Watching Gold, now resurrected and serving as a sort of Bruce Banner to the Grundy/Hulk, was just not that interesting.

2) James Robinson wrote the best Solomon Grundy stories in Starman, and anything else concerning the character necessarily gets juxtaposed.

So, in a sense, Kolins was dealing with a deck loaded against him. But, like I said, the fights and characterizations and situations were fun and well done. It’s just the connecting threads concerning Gold that left me cold.

There’s actually a third story-centric problem that screams of editorial mandate, and that’s the appearance of a Black Lantern ring at the end, heralding the beginning of DC’s recently completed Blackest Night event. This is a case where that end note took me out of a story I wasn’t that invested in to begin with.

On another less than positive side, the coloring seems off to megarish and off-putting, with too much orange. Whether or not that’s by design, it made the book a little harder to read.

With the negatives out of the way, let’s get into what’s good. First and foremost, I love Kolins’ art, and this book is no exception. He ably skirts a line between gravity and goofiness in his figures; his storytelling is kinetic, well-paced, and top notch.

Again, while some of the story beats where a little meh, the dialogue and characterization, especially of familiar DC icons, is well done. I do like this book, especially for DC Comics fans; but I’m not so sure about its appeal to random readers. (www.dccomics.com)

Author rating: 6/10

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