cover image Grendel Omnibus, Vol. 1: Hunter Rose.

Grendel Omnibus, Vol. 1: Hunter Rose.

Matt Wagner. Dark Horse, $24.99 (600p) ISBN 978-1-59582-893-4

Bestselling author and socialite Hunter Rose is secretly Grendel, an expert assassin and criminal mastermind who is hell-bent on running crime in 1980s New York. His nemesis is Argent the wolf, a hero of mysterious origins who often does more harm than good as he works with New York's police to try and stop Grendel's criminal machinations. The very first story in this massive collection covers Grendel's entire rise and fall, leaving the rest of the collection to explore selected episodes in greater detail. Wagner doesn't dwell on Grendel's cleverness and is deft at experimentation, as he shows by dismantling and reassembling his characters. The collection is full of straightforward stories with tasty last-minute twists. Wagner also explores Grendel's world through the eyes of those who live under his shadow. As with most collections of this size, some stories work better than others, but the variety makes this a thorough and satisfying tour of Wagner's signature work. (Aug.)