The cover: A blasé cover by interior artist Daniel Govar has a woman’s head in the cloud above a sketched out Portland skyline. To the woman’s right is an animalistic head, suggesting a double life for this smiling female. This is unfinished piece relying on colors to detail it, This image has me worried about what lies within. Overall grade: D+
The story: There are actually two in this 62 paged one-shot. The first is the titled “Portland, Wu.” Written by Marc Gaffen and Kyle McVey, this story opens with Wu coming home to his apartment on a rainy night to find a young woman creating a scene across the hall as she yells for Rose to open the door. Wu invites the woman into his apartment to ask what’s going on. She reveals herself to be the tenant’s sister who’s been unable to contact her for weeks. Asking Wu to look for her in his off time, the officer agrees, saying he likes Rose–he really does–and doesn’t want any harm to come to her. What follows is a fantastically twisted tale that reads like a modern take on a Philip Marlowe mystery. As he makes his way through this incredible case, not once does he learn of any Wesen’s existence in the city, and they do play a major role in this tale. Plus Nick and Hank aren’t in this story until the end. This is a great story focusing on Wu, giving him more to do than he’s done in any episode of the series. The second story is “Renard’s Reckoning,” weaving investigative reporter Burt Summer’s findings with Renard’s past. This, too, was a great story. I can never get a handle on Renard: is he a good guy or is he a baddie? This story, wonderfully, keeps that uncertainty going. In the past and the present, he’s a character you don’t want to offend. Both of these stories are excellent. Overall grade: A
The art: Doing a remarkable 180 from his cover is the interior artwork of Daniel Govar. This is fantastic work. Govar never slouches on any page; each has a tremendous amount of detail. He draws all of his settings, never once does he resort to the cutting and pasting of photographs. Look at the great building in the opening panel of the first page, the detail on the interior’s hallways, and the rain on Wu’s face. It’s a home run, and it’s only Page 1! His layout is great (panel four, Page 2) and the characters’ stances are aces (all of Page 3). His Wesen are perfectly familiar, yet frightening, and when they attack it’s with the ferocity of the animals they resemble. True, Wu and Renard look nothing like the actors that portray them, but Govar is so consistent with his interpretations I never confused them with other characters in this book. The settings are amazing and become spectacular as he moves the point of view around (Page 5). This book is impressive with its visuals and I hope Govar does more work soon. Overall grade: A
The colors: Portland is glaringly bright, overcast, or raining like crazy. Kevin Colden brings a fantastic range of colors to highlight the characters and their actions given the unpredictability of this setting. I love the greens in Wu’s apartment, the glaring lights in the settings that begin on Page 8, the bright gunshots, I could go on and on. This book has a living, breathing tension because of Colden’s contributions. Overall grade: A
The letters: Patrick Brosseau creates scene settings, narration, dialogue, sounds, Summer’s cool newspaper typed narration, and newspaper headlines. It’s a terrific variety of styles that are great contributions. Overall grade: A
The final line: No Nick action in this collection, but so what? When the story and visuals are this good you don’t need the Grimm to punch it up. Recommended. Overall grade: A
Patrick Hayes was a contributor to the Comic Buyer’s Guide for several years with “It’s Bound to Happen!”, he reviewed comics for TrekWeb, and he currently reviews Trek comics at TrekCore. He’s taught 8th graders English for 20 years and has taught high school English for two years and counting. He reads everything as often as he can, when not grading papers or looking up Star Trek, Star Wars, or Indiana Jones items online.