GROO: Death and Taxes

Sergio Aragones, Author, Mark Evanier, Author, Mark Evanier, Illustrator . Dark Horse $12.95 (112p) ISBN 978-1-56971-797-4

Aragonés's blundering barbarian has been creating mirth and defining mulch (one of Groo's many running gags) for nearly 20 years, but the humor remains as sharp as ever. Aragonés, best known for his work in Mad, has created a classic comic character. In this episode, it looks like Groo the Wanderer has reformed. After happening on a village while collecting a "Groo tax" for protection against the barbarian, Groo decides perhaps it is better to be liked than feared, and makes a vow to slay no more. His long-suffering canine companion, Rufferto, is horrified by the news, as is the local mortician. What happens next recalls, in gloriously twisted fashion, the films Yojimbo and A Fistful of Dollars. However, where those movies rely on a savvy drifter playing various factions off each other until none are left standing, Groo has only Groo, a hapless hack-and-slasher whose sudden conversion to nonviolence inadvertently triggers a multi-front war. Aragonés's art is terrific; his basic style is simple and cartoonish, propelling the story forward while never getting in the way of a good gag. At the same time, he doesn't skimp on detail; his vivid crowd scenes contain dozens of subtle jokes. Longtime collaborator Evanier's script saunters through delightful style changes, from minstrel rhymes to sage proverbs to Groo's ever-fascinating thought processes. Aragonés and Evanier have written a satire that is both timely and funny. (July)

Reviewed on: 06/02/2003
Release date: 02/01/2003
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